30 Day Challenge #5: No Caffeine

Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

Previous 30 Day Challenges

  1. Meditation
  2. Daily Gratitude
  3. Drink More Water
  4. Stretching

I loved doing last months stretching challenge.
I logged 25 out of 30 days. The days I missed were when I was traveling for Affiliate Summit East, and the other two days were during “rest days” from the gym.
I’m extremely routine driven it’s harder for me to keep up with habits during traveling. I also use “traveling” as an excuse to relax so I’m not as disciplined. This is the wrong approach because professional athletes make sure they get their workouts and dieting in even when they’re traveling. That 1% edge adds up over-time. In the future I’ll make completing my habits a priority even during travel.
The 25 days where I did stretch were easy because of “habit stacking.” I never miss a workout day, so I just added a stretching routine at the end of it. Doing the routine wasn’t difficult because I had workout partners who held me accountable. When you have a goal, I find it helpful to have an “accountability” partner so you guys can encourage each other.
How was the stretching?
I was blown away at the results after only 30 days. My flexibility has increased quite a bit. I can sit in the squat position longer now. Another benefit is increased patience. The first few times I did it I kept look at the timer waiting for it be over. These days I’m very “zen” when doing the routine. I do the routine without resistance, and I’m just in the moment.
I hope you guys enjoyed the stretching challenge. I’m going to make it a permanent part of my daily routine now. Remember the amount of damage we do to our bodies by sitting at the desk all day – this is a way to counteract it.
Now it’s time for September’s challenge which is no caffeine.

30 Days of No Caffeine

I love caffeine.
Every morning I have a small coffee ritual. My beans are usually imported from Rwanda, I’ll grind the beans myself with a burr grinder, and I calculate the exact weight of the beans / water for my Aeropress. By the way, I always drink it black and I’ve always limited myself to one cup a day.
When I take that first sip of coffee in the morning, I feel like I’m ready to conquer the world
If I am feeling sluggish after 2pm I’ll have some green tea. Every-time before a gym session I’ll take a pre-workout to get that extra energy boost.
As you can see, caffeine’s is integrated into my daily life.
If I love caffeine so much, then why do a 30 day challenge? Why quit? 
I’ve been on caffeine for so many years that I forgot what life is like without it. This is an experiment to see how it affects me.

Caffeine can be addictive and you do build a tolerance to it over time. That’s why there are people out there who can’t go through the workday without 8 cups of coffee.
Here’s what I’ll be looking at:

  1. The first one is my energy levels. I have a noticeable pattern in my day to day. I’ll be energetic 9am-1pm, and from 1-3pm is when I have considerable energy dips. I want to see how my energy levels are without caffeine.
  2. Sleep patterns. I do have troubles falling asleep a few times a week.
  3. I want to decrease caffeine tolerance.
  4. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, then you could save a lot of time and money by getting off of it (especially if you’re the kind that only drinks Starbucks)
  5. I always take pre-workout supplements before going to the gym. I wonder how my lifts and energy levels will be like without it.

At the end of the day, I don’t like the thought of being “addicted” to anything. I want to see what my natural energy levels are.

How to Quit

There are two ways to quit: you can either stop taking caffeine period, or you can slowly decrease your consumption.
I will be quitting cold-turkey.
I’ve read about the effects of caffeine withdrawal and I’m mentally prepared. The two main effects are possible headaches, and you’re going to feel even more tired than ever.
I’ve ran out of coffee beans and pre-workout. It’s important not to have easy access to what you’re trying to avoid.
If you’re a bigger caffeine addict than me and want to try the challenge, I would suggest slowly decreasing your consumption. Instead of coffee try green tea. Instead of 4 cups a day, try drinking just 3 cups a day your first week. Then decrease it to 2 cups a day.
Soda addiction can be hard to break. I remember in college when I was drinking 3 cans of Vanilla coke a day.

  1. You need strong willpower at the grocery store to make sure you don’t buy the sodas in the first place.
  2. Replace sodas with other drinks.
  3. Think about the benefits. I don’t drink soda because it’s horrible for your body. Instead I drink water only for the benefits.
  4. Watch out for the type of foods you eat. I notice certain situations “trigger” wanting a soda. If I’m at the movie theaters I want a coke. If I eat Korean BBQ then I want a coke. You can either avoid the situations that trigger it, or you want exert stronger willpower during those periods.

Action Steps

Analyze where your sources of caffeine are coming from, and decide if you want to quit cold turkey or to decrease your consumption (I suggest decrease consumption).
Write down your reasons WHY you want to quit. I know why I’m doing the challenge, but you need your own reasons.
Focus on progress, not perfection. Lets say last month you drank 3 cans of soda a day on average. You take on this challenge and average 2 cans of soda a day this month. That mean you’re successful because you’re closer to the goal.
Good luck because you’re going to need it.

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