I had a conundrum the other day. I asked myself: if I have a decaf coffee, does it still count? I found myself in a state of confusion that forced me to look at my motivations for the no coffee challenge. What exactly was I giving up – coffee in general, the regular liquid dessert that punctuated my day, caffeine, or….? Without a clear and specific motivation driving the challenge, it was easy to get lost in the details of rationalization and excuses. I cued a type of inner dialogue:
“Well it doesn’t count because its decaf.”
“But you didn’t say you were giving up caffeine, you said you were giving up coffee.”
“But caffeine is the worst part of coffee, right?”
“But there will still be loads of sugar in that drink even if its decaf”
“But I haven’t given up sugar necessarily, I had a ginger beer last week instead of coffee, WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?”
I ended up breaking down and getting the decaf coffee. But the cognitive dissonance created by the whole experience still made it quite a learning experience. In these monthly challenges, and in life, my motivations and intentions should be clear, since that clarity will only ease and improve the decisions I make in the future.