Lessons Learned From Giving Up Coffee

It has been one month since I drank coffee.  And I do not miss it.  In mid-December when I decided to stop my 1-3 cup a day habit, I used the remaining days of the year to wean off my caffeine addiction.  By December 31, I was down to less than a quarter of a cup of my daily Joe and as of January 1, I have been coffee free.  I had a few very minor headaches but overall this was an easy and predominately pain free transition.  Since then, I have come to enjoy hot water and ginger, my new morning drink of choice.

To my surprise, I have no less energy.  In fact, I have more.  My concern for sluggish days and earlier to bed evenings was met with active and alert days, and more restful nights of sleep.  I have also noticed more consistency in my energy levels.  Gone are the days of peaks and valleys of energy spikes and fatigue lulls.

If I was drinking coffee as a tool for helping me stay awake and I am very much awake without it, what was the benefit of this daily drink?  I took this question a few steps further and asked myself what else I might be doing that I think is helping me, when in fact it just might not be.  Are there things that I could be doing differently and still have the same or better experience?

This question has challenged me to think about how I can show-up differently with my family.  What can I be doing to approach things with more responsibility and potentially less or different effort?  Can I be present yet uninvolved?  Can I be present and not the taskmaster?  Can I be present and watch my kids make their own academic decisions?

My coffee lessons have extended to the workplace too.  What are people doing that they believe is better for their business when the reality is that it might not be?  When colleagues take on projects that fall under the scope of someone else’s role, is this truly helping the company?  At a quick glance, maybe yes but from the broader scope, probably not.  What would it take for people to stop drinking the metaphorical cup of coffee and recognize that doing less can lead to more productivity; that the act of doing something might actually be an act of doing nothing; or that it’s ok to be uncomfortable about making changes when the changes are strategically aligned with the company’s vision.

I anticipate future temptations to have coffee again.  After all, I love the smell, enjoy the act of drinking it and like the taste.   Whether or not I have a cup or two is something to be determined at a later date.  For now I’m focusing on feeling grateful for the unanticipated lessons learned from not drinking coffee.