With my 50th birthday rapidly approaching at the end of November, there were a few things I wanted to change about who I was as a person with this new decade and second half of life I was about to embark upon. One was I wanted to quit drinking artificial sweeteners. 20 years ago I was an avid coke drinker. I would drink a two liter a day. I didn’t like water, so I drank coke all the time. When I would go to the grocery I would buy from 10-13 two liter bottles of coke and drink them that week. It’s terrible, I know but it was my reality.
One thing I have learned in my life is that we don’t “break habits”. We replace them with other habits. If I want to stop drinking cokes then I need to focus on replacing that habit with a better habit. I decided that I enjoy the bubbles of coke so I will drink one coke per day and drink something else the rest of the day. My desire for coke was satisfied with one and then I was able to replace the rest of my coke habit with tea or crystal light. I did this for several years until I started working then I would stop by Sonic in the morning and get a large Diet Coke then fill my Sonic foam cup with water instead of crystal light or tea the rest of the day. I made it a game for myself to see how hydrated I could become. That is what made it doable for me was checking to see how hydrated I was. The clearer my urine, the more hydrated I was. Judge me, but it motivated me to keep on my path.
I had always admired coffee drinkers because coffee is such a social thing. Those who sit with their husband holding a warm cup of joe and discussing their day was a beautiful thing. It didn’t seem as sensational to have a Sonic diet drink for the same event. Artificial sweeteners are terrible for you. Any amount of research will show you that and I am not here to convince you one way or another. I just knew for me, I wanted to quit drinking artificial sweeteners. I started by picking a creamer that sounded good and pouring half creamer and half coffee. Each day I would reduce the amount of creamer and acquire the taste for coffee. It’s working. I notice that in taking away artificial sweeteners, I don’t crave foods or drinks anymore. I haven’t lost any weight but I wasn’t trying either. Plus it is the holidays. The point I am trying to make is that the secret to making a change is replacing, not quitting. If you want to quit smoking you replace that habit with something else, like chewing gum. If you want to quit drinking sodas, decide what better option you will replace that habit with. It isn’t as daunting if you know you aren’t “quitting” you are “replacing”. I told myself I was going to become a coffee drinker-not-I’m going to quit drinking soda. I felt more in control and more set up for success by “becoming” something rather than “quitting” something. I wish you the best in the new year and with your efforts to resolve to be a better person in habits. We are creatures of habit and removing bad habits is daunting. Replacing doesn’t leave us feeling empty.
UPDATE: Originally, this post was written in December of 2019o-Pre-Covid. I wonder if Covid will become a "time marker" of sorts. Things happened either pre or post covid, if there ever is a post-covid time. sigh... I have remained a coffee drinker. I am so proud of myself. Every morning I have a cup of coffee with my husband. It is a lovely thing. It is a time we look forward to and with Covid, it has become even more wonderful because he has not been traveling so it is a daily thing. How did I learn to like coffee??? I wonder that on a daily basis. I learned that I like French vanilla creamer. I learned that it was ok if I did not care for black coffee. Basically I learned that it was good for me to like coffee how I like it and not how other people enjoy it. Why fit in when we were made to stand out? If you are interested in how to be more yourself and embrace YOU, check this out!
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Jennifer Anglin is a motivational speaker, life coach and author who shares personal stories of triumphs and tragedies to give hope to a dying world.