Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Self-discipline and caffeine

I talked yesterday about achieving goals and self-discipline.  Self-discipline is a recognised predictor of happiness, health, the ability to perform well in education, work and life in general.  So it’s an area worthy of some thought.  Like many people, I believe I have self-discipline in some areas, and less in others.  One interesting aspect of self-discipline (or self-control) is that there is some evidence that being disciplined in one area leads to improvements in other areas.  So increasing exercise, for example, leads to healthier eating, a higher propensity to stop smoking, etc.  They are known as cornerstone habits, and they lead to other seemingly unconnected good things happening.  

So at the risk of sending long-standing readers to the hills, I’m going to repeat my kicking-caffeine experiment.  For reasons I can’t quite remember, caffeine is back in my life.  I’m drinking reasonable amounts of green tea during the working day, and enjoying it immensely.  But for the sake of science, I’m going to document my experiences of not drinking caffeinated drinks for at least 100 days.  That's no coffee, no tea (black, white or green) and no Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Red Bull or the like (that won't be difficult for me as I don't drink them anyway). 

My experience to date is that habits are difficult to break or alter and that 100 days is the minimum  amount of time that is meaningful for such an attempt.  In true no-time-like-the-present style, I’m kicking off today.

It’s been almost 2 years since I tried this for the first time, and I’ve learnt a lot more about habits and self-control since then.  So in the days ahead I will fill you in on some of the techniques I have learnt that I hope will make this attempt a easier.  In the meantime, while you are all enjoying your coffee, I’m going to have another cup of Rooibos tea.  Yum!

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