No more Soda: What I learned about Willpower and Failure

I have a problem. I drink soda a ton, like an unhealthy amount. It would be the first thing I would drink when I wake up and the last thing I drank when I go to bed. My days were spent in intervals of when I would have my next can of Coke. 
This unhealthy addiction I like to call it all, lead to the day after labor day when I woke up and decided things needed to be different. I decided that I would give up soda for a whole month.

I had done this before. I had said over and over again that I would give up soda but I never followed through.

But something about that Tuesday morning pushed me to follow through. I don’t know what happened but things started to slowly change for me. I went to Walmart that night and bought a ton of Gatorade and committed that if I needed to drink something it would be Gatorade as opposed to soda, (mainly because it was much more expensive.)

The challenge started off as something that was rather difficult. The whole first week was filled with caffeine headaches and the desire to drink soda. The hardest moments came when I opened the fridge and the soda that I and roommates bought stared me right in the face, or when I would eat out and have to answer water for my drink as opposed to a Mt. Dew or Coke.

The weeks that followed the struggle became easier. By the third week, I was able to not even care when I couldn’t have soda and my friends were. It’s now October 12th and I am well over the month that I had desired to initially complete and I am still going strong.

Honestly, I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Ultimately my goal is to move from drinking juice, coffee and water to just black coffee and water…but let’s take it one step at a time…

So what did I learn?

I learned that willpower is a constant choice. 
More often than not it’s easy for us to say that we don’t have enough willpower to do something. However, the more often I was faced with the decision between soda and water and it wasn’t not drinking the soda that was the difficult part, it was making the choice. Every day I have to make the choice to do it.

“Every day it gets a little easier. But you have to do it every day. That’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”-BoJack Horseman season 2

If you want to give up soda or anything else the first step is making that constant choice. And making that choice is hard. It requires you to be conscious of your actions. And while I got real lucky in cutting out soda cold turkey I would advocate that this is a rarity and not the rule. You will fail, you are human after all. I’m going to fail in this endeavor at some point.

But one moment of weakness does not make you a failure, a failure is one who gives up after a bad day and continues to have bad days and doesn’t strive to make them better. It’s okay to fail, we learn from failure. The beauty of it all is that tomorrow is a new day to try again.

So here is my encouragement to you, tomorrow is a new day. And when you wake up tomorrow ask yourself this question:

“Will you continue to fall back into the same old habits of yesterday, or will you strive to practice willpower?”