They say it takes 66 days to truly ingrain a habit, so by my reckoning, doing (or undoing) something for 90 days is a profound milestone as by the 90 day mark you’re now at a 2:3 ratio of what is required, and where you actually are.
90 days is also 25 % of an entire calendar year. I know just how fast the years can seem to pass, but regardless of what stage of life you’re in, 90 days is a substantial portion of time. Practise something everyday for 90 days and see if you don’t see a drastic improvement. In contrast, detach yourself from something for 90 days and see if you’re still getting cravings or withdrawal symptoms. You’ll have bigger fish to fry.
In those 2 posts you can see my journey in stages, and today I will compare my findings from the 30 day mark versus the 90 day mark. I’ll also declare whether or not I will return to caffeine or whether I’ve been ‘converted’.
How difficult was it really?
I’ve been through much worse in all honesty. I think a big factor in eliminating habits from our life is being convinced you’re doing the right thing for you. I guess you could also say: being aware of the problem is the problem half solved.
It’s all a momentum game. Have you ever watched the truck pull in World’s Strongest Man? The pull actually gets easier as time goes on. The most intriguing bit is awaiting to see if enough inertia can be generated to get the lorry moving. Giving up caffeine is pretty much the same; get many small victories under your belt, and just like the truck, you become easy to move and hard to stop.
Fortunately I didn’t have to resort to packs of sugar free gum, talking myself in the mirror or running around the block 10 times to stop the image and smell of a pure black coffee from clouding my thoughts. And it was all because I had deep rooted confidence in my mission – I knew I was bettering myself.
Now versus the 30 day mark – has anything changed?
These were the benefits exactly as I wrote them 60 days ago…………
- MUCH MUCH MUCH less mental instability; no excessive mental energy without the clarity to focus it on anything worthy or even productive
- I’m a little easier on myself. No excess self criticism after any event that didn’t go exactly as I’d hoped.
- My sleep is unquestionably better. If I’m working early I have a much easier time getting to sleep than I used to – even though I used to not drink any caffeine on days I’d have to sleep earlier that night. Being off caffeine permanently does far more.
- My strength and endurance hasn’t really taken the hit I was braced for. Obviously I can’t say I wouldn’t have been slightly stronger if I’d been abusing coffee like old times, but nonetheless, I’m doing OK.
Comparisons to present…………
- Mental instability >>>>>>> much the same if not better. More focused. Less visiting YouTube when I should be writing. Less checking my phone when I should be reading. Less watching TV when I should be stretching.
- Self criticism >>>>>>> it’s still there, but that’s the joy of being an over-thinking Virgo *sigh* I am slowly edging towards being able to accept the necessity of time in order to conquer something. Instead of berating myself for not being automatically perfect on my début.
- SLEEP! >>>>>>> this is probably the only one that teased me into thinking I’d one day be someone who can sleep on cue, alas it’s not transpired. BUT…..I have horrendous shift patterns (gym work) which is always going to make you vulnerable to insomnia; nights, mornings, weekends. Rinse and repeat. ‘Generation IPhone’ doesn’t help either. Lighting, technology and electric is all around us and it 100% interferes with our sleep quality.
- Strength >>>>>>> arguably the most important and fitting category! My strength and performance has been on the up and up and up. I’ve hit numerous PR’s without gaining much – if any – bodyweight. And of course the best is yet to come…….I know that this strength isn’t from external energy/stimulation. There was always a faint voice in the back of my head asking how much of whatever records I’d set or beat, were down to the dose of caffeine. How strong would I be without it? Was I really a good illusionist or just a lucky finder of a truly magic wand?
At the 30 day mark the only real drawback or stumbling block I discovered was being deserted from the appetite suppressing nature of caffeine. As I recently wrote about fasting beyond the 16 hour mark, caffeine is usually the saving grace of the intermittent fasting crowd. Try doing it without any stimulants. Game changer.
This time though, the story has a happy ending. I can say for sure that as you forge ruthlessly ahead, racking up days of abstinence, you acclimatise to the initial feeling of hunger and it gets easier and easier.
I really do believe our bodies are capable of adapting to anything, it’s us that determine our capacities by choosing not to see how far our boundaries can be stretched.
Does the future hold caffeine?
It’s unlikely, although I may well use it the way I always endorsed it, as a ‘get out of jail card’. For them days when you’ve been out with a girl all night and have work at 6 in the morning, or the boss wants you to work till the early hours. Or even on days where I’ve not slept much and cannot afford to lose a day’s worth of productivity, I may start light with a white tea or some yerba mate. Something on the low end of the caffeine scale.
I know the majority of you reading this are avid coffee lovers and consumers. I’m not here to bash coffee or caffeine, I’m simply sharing the findings of a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable self-experiment. There’s one thing appreciating a cup of coffee, and another being a slave to it. Never find yourself in the latter scenario.
I’m now on the lookout for other experiments. If you have anything you want trialled let me know in the comments. I am toying with the idea of testing a ketogenic diet and a vegan diet (with space between, of course) sometime in the near future. But maybe you have a better idea? It could be a workout, a training style, whatever.
Have I inspired you to try and change ONE THING in your life for 90 days? If so, I’ve done my job.
The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.