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Why is it so hard to drink enough water?

Erin Frey
Erin Frey
Aug 6, 2013 · 3 min read

Would you ever play a drinking game with water to stay hydrated? Some people do. That’s right, someone came up with a water-based version of beer pong to make it easier to drink enough water.

Drinking enough water sounds so easy yet it’s the second most common habit on Lift. How could something so simple be so hard?

We looked into the behavior design around drinking water to find out why and what we could do to make doing this habit easier.

Why we do (or don’t) drink enough water:

Stanford researcher BJ Fogg explains that if you want to perform any behavior, you need to have enough motivation and ability to do it and experience a trigger.

Behavior = Motivation x Ability x Trigger

B=MAT

Our body gives us natural motivation, ability and triggers to stay hydrated. We’re motivated to drink more water because dehydration makes us feel bad (remember your last hangover?). We all know how to drink water and most of us have easy (and free) access to it. Thirst naturally triggers us to drink water.

If you’re having trouble drinking the recommended 2-3 liters a day, it probably means that at least one of those components (motivation, ability, or trigger) isn’t strong enough. Here are some ways to boost them:

Motivation

Check out these 12 reasons to drink more water from our friends at Greatist. Studies have tied drinking more water to benefits like improved health and increased productivity.

Ability:

  1. Keep a cup or Brita filter at your desk. The kitchen sink at Lift is only a 45 second walk away, but that was far enough away to prevent us from refilling our water glasses. Buying pitchers (we have 5 for 7 people) changed our water drinking habits immediately.
  2. Carry around a water bottle. I drink half a liter of water during my morning and evening commutes when I do this.
  3. Find a water alternative: If you’re someone who doesn’t like to drink plain water, try flavoring your water with fruits or vegetables. If that doesn’t work, try coconut water, bottled flavored waters (we drink Hint at Lift) or non-caffeinated teas.

Triggers

  1. Keep a cup or Brita filter at your desk: this doesn’t just make it easier to drink water, it also creates a visual trigger that reminds you to do so.
  2. Set up reminders. You can set up once a day reminders on Lift or set up an hourly alarm on your phone.
  3. Stick a post-it note on your monitor that says ‘drink more water.’
  4. Make water or healthy beverages the first thing you see when you open the fridge.

How to Drink More Water:

Right Now: Pour yourself a cup of water right now.

Then: Incorporate one of the tips listed above this week. If it doesn’t help you drink more water, keep experimenting until you find one that does. And add Drink More Water to your Lift list.

    Erin Frey

    Written by

    Erin Frey

    Cofounder at hellokip.com: Not your average therapy service. Y Combinator W16. Yale ‘08.

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