On our podcast ‘Tales That Tethr’, tethr Founder & CEO Matt Zerker interviews entrepreneurs, experts, thought leaders, and regular people about what is means to be a man, the challenges that modern men face, and how to overcome challenges and live life in a more connected and authentic way.
I have always found switching up my routine difficult. It doesn’t matter if it is something trivial like turning off the light in the laundry room or something with a larger impact on my long-term health like the amount of coffee I drink every day...I like some good coffee.
It was during my quest to reduce my daily caffeine intake when a friend explained, in simple terms, why it was so hard for me to not reach for that next cup of joe. I was surprised when they told me that the problem was in my head. It was my subconscious.
They went on to explain that my subconscious mind is laser-focused on keeping my body and all of its moving parts in “harmony”. That sounded fine to me. What I heard was I had a buddy working behind the scenes to make sure the trains ran on time. I was only half right.
While my subconscious is certainly working behind the scenes making sure I am breathing, it has a terribly flawed definition of harmony. Harmony to my subconscious means doing today what I did yesterday and the day before, including the habits. Heck, that is the definition of a habit… “a routine or behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously." That seemed like a big problem.
However, because I now knew my adversary, the fight was fair. I worked with a family member who is also a counselor. They gave me tips on how to retrain my thinking. This was instrumental in not giving in when I wanted (my subconscious mind wanted) that hot mug in my hand. Now it was time to drink less coffee. Here is what I did to make it work.
1) Use a journal and track your progress. What you don't monitor you can't manage.
2) Set a realistic and specific goal. It's better to readjust later than go too big and not make any improvement at all.
I set my goal to go from 8 to 4 cups of coffee per day for one month. Followed by further reduction from 4 to 2 cups of coffee per day.
3) Wherever possible, eliminate obstacles that will make the change more difficult.
I eliminated anything that could obviously derail my progress. It was painful to gift the Kurieg that I had in my office to a friend.
4) Let your people know what you're doing.
I got my crew involved. I let my wife and a few friends know what I was up to and scheduled time throughout the week to touch-base. It is amazing how sharing with others seems to lighten my load. For me accountability is key. I know what my subconscious mind wants, more coffee. I also know I don’t want to let my friends down.
For me, it was simple, but not easy. I had to win the mental battle to manifest the physical change I was looking for.
A father of 3, Max splits his time between supporting his kiddos and supporting the long-term growth of the BarBend brand. He is the proud recipient of multiple MBAs from the esteemed "Life University". He believes experience is the best teacher, people are good, and life is what you make it!