Water you waiting for? This is one habit you need to get on right away! Drinking water is not just good for our health, it’s good for everything! Every cell in our bodies needs it to function optimally.
EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
Over time (maybe even over a short period of time), if we don’t drink enough water, we can trigger all sorts of unwanted physiological symptoms and conditions. Poor concentration, sluggish bowel movements, fatigue, dry skin and hair, irritability, insomnia, and weight gain to name a few.
Who can feel energetic and motivated with all that going on?
But even though we’re aware that we need to drink water, making it a habit can be difficult, and these are the top four reasons people give for why they struggle with it.
- Plain water tastes bland.
- It’s easy to forget…even when you’re trying.
- Those extra bathroom trips are not at all convenient.
- The recommended daily amount is hard to do.
In this guide, we’re sharing strategies to address these very challenges. Read on and let’s see if we can’t find some solutions to your water habit dilmena.
Plain water tastes bland!
1. Eat more water-rich foods and meals
Getting more water through meals is an easy win. Having more soups is one option, another is eating more water-rich foods. These foods BTW, contain at least 90 percent water per volume:
- bell peppers
How to make eating more water-rich foods a habit
- It goes without saying, eat foods you love… or at least like. You won’t stick with the habit unless you love something about it.
- Get creative and have fun coming up with new meal ideas.
- Start small. Don’t buy too much produce at once. I suggest buying no more than 3 days (or 3 meals) worth of produce at a time. It will be discouraging if you see your purchases rot before you have a chance to eat them up. Plus, the fresher your fruits and veggies are, the better they are for you.
2. Flavor your water
Slices of lemon, lime, oranges, raspberries, and other fruit will flavor your water and make it go down easier…and look so pretty in glass containers. Another way to flavor your water is to dilute juices like fresh-squeezed OJ or kombucha with 8-parts water to one part juice.
3. Drink healthy alternatives
Teas, coconut water, smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, almond milk, lemonade, and sparkling water are all great alternatives to plain water. Btw, if you drink a lot of sodas thinking they count toward your water requirement, think again. In fact, sodas can lead to dehydration. According to Elson Haas, MD, an integrated-medicine physician in San Rafael, Calif., sodas and sweetened drinks trigger chemical reactions that demand significant amounts of fluid to properly process and filter, and can actually dehydrate the body.
It’s Easy to Forget!
1. Link it to another task
If you associate something you do every day with getting your chug on, you’re more likely to remember. Here are some suggestions for ya:
- Have a glass of water first thing in the morning.
- Drink water before every meal. This is a great weight-loss hack too.
- Drink hot water after all meals. Great for digestion and relieves constipation.
- Have more than a sip. Most medications and supplements perform better when you take them with a full glass of water.
- Bring your refillable water bottle to the gym. Fitness experts and yogis recommend that we drink water after a workout to replenish the water we lose during exercise.
- Make time for “tea time.” Do like the Brits do and add a “tea-time” break to your day.
2. Use alerts and visual cues
- Set 1 or 2 daily reminders on your phone or computer; “Ding…it’s water time!”
- Set out your water bottle in front of you.
3. Track it with an app
The app waterlogged will help you crush your water goals. It lets you log how much you want to drink, send you reminders and offer other tracking tools to build a good water habit. Or you can take your tracking to the next level with the HidrateMe Smart Water Bottle and coordinating app. Cost $60. The high-tech cup records as you sip and sends the information to your phone.
4. Create a Plan
Create a “Drink-up!” plan that marks out the times that are a good time for YOU to drink water.
A. When is a good time to have your first glass every day?
Drinking water first thing in the morning is one of the best health and productivity habits. A weight loss and wellness biohack is to add lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar to your first glass of water every morning.
B. What are some other convenient times for YOU to drink water?
Think through your day hour by hour and plan other breaks around things you do daily such as have lunch, take afternoon breaks and have dinner. And just like that, you would have identified 4-6 markers in your day to drink water.
C. Plan your last drink of the day
Part of your plan should include a cut-off time in the evening when you stop drinking water; I recommend stopping about 3 hours before you go to bed. A gap this long can limit nighttime bathroom trips significantly — to zero or one.
5. Have an ultimate Why
Whatever your goals…be they health, wellness or beauty-related, drinking more water will help. Choose a really good reason why drinking more water would matter to you because having a Why creates inner motivation.
Connect mentally to your Why regularly
Over and over again (at least once a day), think of all the ways water can (and is) improving your beauty and skincare game. As you’re applying lip balm take note of how much less cracked your lips have been looking since you started drinking more water. Acknowledge how the whites of your eyes are getting clearer. Give water its credit!
Think about the beauty and skincare benefits of water and pick the ones that will motivate and inspire you. To help you find YOUR benefit, check out these things water does.
- Helps to flatten the tummy and burn fat.
- Help you to have a better night’s (beauty) sleep.
- Relieves constipation (important for weight maintenance).
- Helps combat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
- Replenishes skin tissue and increases its elasticity (anti-aging).
- Minimizes bags and dark circles under the eyes.
- Is great for hair and nails because it helps to improve circulation.
- Makes the whites of the eyes brighter and clearer (my fave).
- Minimizes the appearance of cellulite.
- Helps you lose weight and keep it off.
6. Try a beautiful inspiration
Could a beautiful water bottle give you even more inspiration and help you remember? It might.
Check out bottles by Soma, Corkcicle and the MemoBottle. Find several lovely ones including S’well bottles and the BKR 1 Liter bottle on Urban Outfitter. Maybe a flip-top bottle like this one by Sol Water is more your style. And if you really want to care for the environment and save some money, get one with built-in filtration like these by Bobble.
Let’s do a check-in!
Before we go any further, I’d like you to think about the tips and information you just read.
Which ones can you incorporate into your life starting today?
I’m sure you already knew some of the tips you just read. I’m sure you knew about flavoring your water and you’ve probably seen posts of IG of healthy girls posing with pretty water bottles. Ask yourself why you haven’t you followed through with any of these habits.
To become the person you know you can be and move to levels you know you belong, you need to break the habit of letting good information–both new to you and things you already know–pass by without taking action. If you care to be more than you are now, pause here and take action before you continue reading this guide.
- Jot down actionable steps you can take: Buy a pretty bottle. Identify times when you can drink up, etc.
- Take one action in the next 30 minutes: Buy that bottle online or schedule those reminders.
- Brainstorm your ultimate Why. Borrow one of the suggestions above if yours isn’t clear to you yet.
- Schedule weekly check-ins:
- In a week you should already have your water bottle. If you don’t what will you do about that?
- In a week you should have an ultimate Why. If you’re having troubling finding one, it’s due to one of these reasons:
- You are resisting because you kinda don’t want to do this. Although every expert tout water’s benefits and you know it will improve your productivity and health, you hope they’re all wrong. You’re thinking you may be the only human who will not benefit from drinking water regularly.
- You genuinely have trouble coming up with a Why. Or, you’re letting one thing you don’t have, keep you from doing anything at all. This might help: Post a question on Quora, Reddit, or similar Q&A sites asking people what benefits they’ve experienced from drinking more water.
- You are struggling with something in your life at the moment—it could be financial, or relationship (people) related. Certain life challenges can make us feel untethered, unsafe, and vulnerable. They can affect every area of our lives but because fixing these major issues will take time, you must question the logic of waiting until your life is going smoothly to take care of the basics, like drinking water. And if you think about it, because water benefits every area of your life, it just might improve your mood, your sleep, etc., and make it easier for you to make these bigger life changes. We always want to do whatever we can — from where we are — to address our problems. Our future selves are depending on it.
- A reason (excuse) only you know and more than likely, you created. It could be related to your self-talk. Maybe you’re just stuck and don’t have a clue what your problem is. Because drinking water can clear brain fog and have other wellness benefits, it’s a solution here too.
This is where the rubber meets the road.
Do something now
If you’ve taken action, it means you’ve committed and chances are, you’ll be more successful at other things in your life… just because you’re willing to commit. High five!!!!
Let’s move on now to the last two issues and see how we can bring this water habit home.
Too many bathroom breaks!
1. Drink more to go less
The good news is that “going more” is just a phase. The frequent bathroom trips will taper off once your body gets used to being hydrated.
2. Pull out some strategies
These water drinking strategies will help you go less.
- Sip, don’t drink. When you sip the same amount of water (let’s say sip 6 ounces in 30 minutes vs chugging the same 6 ounces in one go), you lessen your bathroom breaks.
- Drink less coffee, alcohol, and soda during the early phase. These are diuretics and they will make you want to go even more.
- Add a pinch of Sea Salt. Your body will hold water infused with Sea Salt longer. Plus, Sea Salt has beneficial minerals and electrolytes. Remember, just a pinch and NEVER use table salt.
- And as mentioned, have a cut-off time in the evening.
72 oz is too much!
1. Start Small and Build
Starting out, you don’t have to force yourself to drink the suggested approximately 64 ounces (I use half your body weight rule to come to that number). Start with a goal of 40 ounces and increase your intake over time. Drinking less, in the beginning, will also cut down on bathroom visits and make this goal feel less overwhelming to you.
2. Do Your Best!
Doing your best is an important mindset to develop. It means not setting lofty goals you can’t achieve and committing fully to the ones you set. Keep in mind that doing your “best” will look different every day. Some days your best will look like 40 ounces, other days it may be less but by practicing the “do your best” principle, on the days when you can do better, you will do better than your targeted 40 ounces. That way, it all evens out.
3. Plan to Fail!
A top reason people give up on their health-related goals is a setback. Setbacks don’t mean you’ve failed, it means you’re learning. By understanding (and accepting) that failure is a normal part of life and any practice/process, plan for it. Keep in mind that you’re not drinking water because it’s a trend, you’re doing it because you know you look and feel better when you do. On those days or during those periods when life is knocking you about, remind yourself that you’re doing better because you were taking care of yourself, to begin with.
Have a few strategies to “get-back-on-track” in your back pocket. One of my favorites is regular self-talk and check-ins. We check in with ourselves regularly to assess what’s working and what we either need help with or need to refocus on.
4. Do it right when you remember
Don’t beat yourself up when you forget or fall short. That’s a waste of time and counter-productive. The better habit is to get up and do it right when you remember. You forgot to drink water all day but at 3:11 pm you think about it. Get up there and then and do it. Consistency is a habit that takes practice. Practice is the act of doing your habit repeatedly (not perfectly). So, do it when you remember and as soon as you remember, not perfectly tomorrow when you’re a “better” person.
And, don’t give that much weight to the rule you often hear that it takes 21 days to form a habit. That is more like an estimate and doesn’t apply to every single habit or every single person. It might take you 30, 45 days or even longer to make drinking water a regular habit. If you stick with it no matter how many times you fail or how long it takes, you WILL get it. Not only that, but you’ll also be training yourself to be a badass.
5. Live in the moment
This one can feel a bit spiritual so for those of you who aren’t, hear me out: When we are present, we make fewer mistakes and it’s easier to remember healthy habits like these. This practice is always so helpful when you’re learning anything new. I use the learning to drive analogy often because it’s one we can all relate to. Paying attention coordinates our mind and hands so we can do the
Good luck getting into the water habit!
Christine is a Life Strategist and Emotional Health Coach living in Los Angeles. She's big on meditation and believes in systems and routines, and in personalizing everything you do to help you get where you want to be.