“That’s high quality H2O.”
Longer days. More sunshine. Increased outdoor time. Lots of running outside.
Ah, the spoils of summer. It’s hard to believe we’re talking about summer. It feels like the winter was endless and we’ve barely had a chance to enjoy spring weather. I mean, it snowed a couple weeks ago for a good chunk of the country.
Along with more perks of summer comes more responsibility – to drink more water that is.
Why to Drink More Water
There’s never a bad time to drink water, never a time when our bodies don’t need it. But the simple fact that summer presents more opportunity for sweating and dehydration makes it a great topic for this month’s healthy habits opportunity focus.
The best thing about taking on the challenge of drinking more water? It’s super easy! It’s not like meal prepping, meditating, or starting an exercise habit – those all take work and a time investment. Drinking more water requires very little work and time investment.
Still, many people don’t drink enough water. Mostly it’s because water is “boring” compared to coffee, soda, energy drinks, and that carbonated crap everyone was obsessed with for a hot minute (wait, are people still drinking that flat swill?).
How to Create A Healthy Habit
Before talking about creating a habit of drinking more water, let’s go back to the foundation of this healthy habits series. Like any habit, the desire and a goal along with it are important. Please don’t go into this with anything less than both.
First ask yourself, why do I want to build this healthy habit? Do I really want to or do I feel like I should? Find your purpose, that desire to do it so you’re more likely to stick with it.
If you really want to, the second step is to set your goal and be specific about it. A goal gives you something to measure, something to gauge success, and see where adjustments or improvements could be made.
In this case, you could start by eliminating one non-water beverage each day, skipping a soda and opting instead for a glass of water. You could set a goal of drinking at least one 32-oz bottle of water during the workday, then build from there. Just have a place to start.
Now, here are four tips to build the healthy habit of drinking more water.
Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle – or Several
Sure, it’s easy to drink water. There’s water everywhere, right?
Not so fast. In theory, water is super-accessible and would be easy to drink all the time but keep in mind you’re not always going to be near a fountain or water cooler. You’re not going to drink from your faucet or pull over and stop to buy it when you’re thirsty – and, on that note, don’t over-buy water. Save money, save plastic bottles, good stuff.
So what’s the answer? Reusable water bottles. Yes, bottles, plural. It’s great to have one water bottle that you can always have near you and always be refilling. But if you want to up your water game even more, consider having multiple water bottles, for designated spaces.
I have one I keep in my car, one I keep at my desk, one I keep on my nightstand, and one that’s portable enough I take it from the kitchen to the couch to traveling.
For you runners and walkers out there, consider getting a water belt or vest so you even have it with you during workouts – an ideal time to stay hydrated. Same with those who work outside and may not have the opportunity to have a water bottle on their desk or within reach all the time.
The key here is, if you’re going to stick to the habit of drinking more water, it has to be easy and it has to be accessible. Set yourself up for success by having a water bottle for the most common places you are – and make sure it’s always filled.
Back to the idea that water is “boring” – go ahead and spice it up. Low-calorie drink mixes like Crystal Light are a great way to encourage more water drinking.
This gets a little sketchy when looking at coffee, carbonated “water” and other beverages that are water-based. For example, caffeine, while great and totally okay for most people in moderation, takes away from the hydrating aspect of water. Fizzy beverages may contain extra calories and excess stuff that aren’t helpful.
Now, a quick summary on that last piece: Coffee isn’t bad. Carbonated water isn’t bad. Totally okay to keep drinking a variety of beverages and of course we all should. Just try to keep those separate from your true water drinking goals.
Tech People – Use Technology
I don’t do technology. I’m not the average millennial. I refuse to allow an Alexa into our home. I barely use any apps, I don’t have a clue what version my iPhone is, and half the time I don’t even know where my phone is. I honestly don’t even think I’d have a smartphone if I didn’t need it often enough for my job.
Enough about me, the point is I don’t know much about technology opportunities that exist to help us drink more water – but I know they exist. I know there are apps and reminders and tools you can use – on your phone, watch, personal assistant device, whatever you have – to remind and encourage you to drink more water.
Half the battle of building a healthy habit is simply remembering to do it, right? If you love your tech and your devices, absolutely you should use it if it will help prompt you to hydrate and help build it into a habit that becomes natural.
Wait, eating? I thought we were talking about drinking? The two go hand-in-hand though and planning meals and snacks is a great strategy to boost more water intake.
How often do you find yourself mindlessly snacking, missing meals, or eating on-the-go? We all do it! And when our eating is random like this, it likely doesn’t include a glass of water.
Now, think about what happens when you eat an intentional snack or meal. Usually, there’s a beverage along with it. And you can make this beverage water. Every time you take a moment to enjoy a meal or snack, be sure you include a tall glass of H2O along with it.
What other tips do you have for drinking more water? Those following along with the monthly wellness opportunities, please share feedback on this one. The comments are your space to share thoughts or ask questions so please do so.
In case you missed it, check out:
January’s healthy habit opportunity: tips to create a gratitude habit
February’s healthy habit opportunity: tips to eat more inclusively
March’s healthy habit opportunity: tips to start meditating or practicing mindfulness
April’s healthy habit opportunity: tips to start running