Year of the Habit: A 28-day plan to drink more water
Continuing with our series on building habits to improve your health and happiness in 2023, we turn to another crucial part of a healthy lifestyle: HYDRATION. In case you’re not sold on the necessity of drinking more water, be sure to check out our 7-part series, Hydration 101. We’re sure you’ll learn a thing or two about the wonders of water!
Below, you’ll find our 28-day plan to help you build a sustainable habit of drinking more water. By gradually adding more water intake each week instead of ramping it up all at once, you’ll find increasing your water consumption more doable. After a month of small wins, you’ll find it easier to stay motivated and stay hydrated!
Week 1: Wake Up & Hydrate!
For our first week, we’re going to make a simple change that is doable for even the busiest among us. As soon as you get up, and immediately after your morning bathroom visit, drink 8 ounces (237mL) of water. Having water on an empty stomach in the morning will kickstart your metabolism and help you fix the mild dehydration that coincides with a long night’s sleep.
Week 2: Reach for Water Instead
Now that you’re in the habit of starting your day with water, how about we step it up a bit? One key way to get better hydration is to slowly swap out the non-water beverages you’re consuming with good old-fashioned water. This week, your goal is to choose water at least one time per day when you otherwise would have opted for another beverage. If you find plain water boring and are worried you’ll crave something else, trying adding a slice of lemon, your favorite herb, or even a splash of juice to give your water some flavor and make it more satisfying.
Week 3: Drink Up at Meal-time
This week, make a commitment to have 8 ounces (237 mL) of water before each meal you eat. According to a study published by the journal Clinical Nutrition Research, drinking water before a meal increases feelings of fullness, and can lead you to consume less during the meal. Water also aids digestion, and can balance out any extra sodium in your diet. For even better results, have another glass after your meal. If you’re uncomfortably full from that second glass, you may be consuming too many other beverages, especially if they are carbonated. Remember to save room for water next time!
Week 4: Bathroom Break = Water Break
For the final week, let’s try one more change in your hydration plan. Every time you visit the bathroom, first wash your hands, then take a moment to have a small glass of water. This helps because, first of all, you lose a little water with every trip to the restroom, and second of all, because those bathroom visits are not optional. You might get too busy to eat your meals on time, but your bladder simply can’t (and shouldn’t) be kept waiting that long. Associating bathroom breaks with the need to drink more water will ensure that hydration will not slip your mind. So for this week, focus your attention on your bathroom visits. (Of course, you may find yourself peeing more frequently as a result, so be sure to stop drinking at least a couple of hours before bed to avoid disrupting your sleep!)
Going Forward: Rinse and Repeat
If, in any of the 4 weeks above, you find yourself backsliding and forgetting to hydrate, just start over! No biggie! Once you’ve successfully followed the plan for 28 days, you can start over from the beginning to keep things fresh, or use an app (say, Plant Nanny, mayhaps?) to ensure that you’re meeting your hydration goals every week. Once you’ve been getting enough water for some time, you’ll come to agree that keeping properly hydrated also keeps you feeling great!