About Coffee & Yoga.

Here’s the thing. I have a tendency to abuse coffee. And I’m not saying you should never drink coffee, that you should always completely exclude things from your lifestyle or your diet, because I actually believe that it’s okay to indulge every once in a while and do things you want to do.

But I, personally, have a tendency to overextend the amount of caffeinne my body can deal with. Whenever I’m at work, I tell myself ‘No! No coffee today!’ and yet: the first break that comes, I’m standing in line at the coffee shop and I order a big tall latte. That is NOT practicing what my inner smart voice is preaching. Because I know I get jittery and headachy when I drink a lot of coffee, I get writer’s block, I mess up my sleeping pattern and I feel queezy at the end of the day. I always regret it.

My video is not in tune with my audio. I say I shouldn’t drink coffee and yet I find myself guzzling down lattes at every chance I get, knowing full well this is not as I intended. And then I get an inner dialogue from one side going “Oh, it’s okay, it’s just one cup, you don’t have to exclude, yadi yadi yada.” And then there is the other side going: “DUDE. YOU CANNOT KEEP MEASURE. Once you drink one cup, you follow with four others and then we have to deal with all the consequences for like three days. CUT IT THE FUCK OUT. YOU NEED TO STOP.”

I know full well that the last voice (although losing points for using Caps Lock) is right when it comes to me and coffee. Which is why I now declare I am going without coffee from hereonout. If I am going to be all Alcoholic ‘Can’t Stop After One’ about coffee, then I just shouldn’t drink the stuff. As long as I cannot keep measure, I should not drink coffee.

The thing is the moment you decide you’re not going to do it anymore, you can just let it go and not think about it anymore. No more inner debates going on, no more giving the whiny part of yourself a stage in your head: you have made up your mind and that is just the way it’s going to be.  You don’t need to occupy your precious cognitive processes with this. You made up your mind, no need to waste any more thought on it. Let it go.

Same with yoga. I overthink my yoga all the time. What class, if every day, maybe six days a week, how many doubles I want to do, maybe I should do even more and aaaaah, I just drive myself insane with it. Problem is, all this overthinking and debating of whether or not I’m going, when I’m going, how many more times a week I’m going is driving me nuts. And not just that, it occupies cognitive processes that would be better off dedicated to more important things! It drains a lot of mental energy that could have been used in way more useful fashions than the whole ‘how, but, if, when,’ etc of how many yoga classes I should take a week.

And that reminded me of the phases when I just went to yoga every day. After only a few days, it took hardly any effort. A week in, I didn’t even think about it anymore. I wasted no time, no effort on the idea of whether or not I should be going or not. I just went.  No inner dialogues, no whiny voices in my head, no opinions of people around me interfering with my yoga practice, no inner shit thrown at the whole ‘how much yoga a week’ question. How lovely that idea now seemed to me. No more ‘yes’ versus ‘no’, no more ‘maybe this’ or ‘maybe that’. You make the decision, and you stick to it.

So, I decided I’m just going to go to yoga everyday. I know it can be done and I know I can do it because I’ve done it before. I can do whatever I want in other terms, I don’t have to do anything in terms of doubles, certain times or anything, I’m just going to go to yoga every day.

Starting a habit always takes way more energy than keeping a habit up: that can be done reasonably effortless. That creates so much mental space. When something is a habit, a chain, a streak, an unbroken chain of events it doesn’t require any mental processes or energy anymore: you do it on auto-pilot.So that’s why I’m not going to argue with myself about these things anymore.

SO. I do not drink coffee. I am done with coffee: I may like the taste but the consequences (that last way longer than the taste) are not worth it. And I go to yoga every day. I know it’s good for me and the only thing getting in the way of my yoga is not fatigue or muscle issues, it’s my ego fucking me up. And I’m done with that.

And that’s the end of two inner dialogues. I should have cut this bullshit short months ago.

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  1. You’re so right! It is so much easier to just say: I do this and I don’t do this. But sometimes it’s just gets to hard for me. I know this is just an excuse, but once I start restricting, it’s hard for me to stop.
    When I get too strict, I lose the benefits of ending inner dialogues and it gives me even more stress. I’m not sure if you understand what I mean, but if you do: could you please write an article about how to deal with that? If not, I’ll try to explain it again (but probably in Dutch).

    1. I completely understand what you mean, restriction-mindset vs relaxed-disciplined-mindset. Going to write about that soon! <3

  2. This post is really inspiring to read! I drink one cup of coffee every morning, and I know it´s not good for me but I still feel I need my *fix* everyday. I want to start with healthy habits, like doing yoga (or exercise in general) more often and cut down on sugar because sugar is pretty much crack and I keep consuming it (too much) 😉

    Thank you for this wake-up call! And good luck with your goals!

      1. I agree: if it’s one cup of coffee and you really enjoy it, you should totally drink it. But if you feel you don’t want to drink it anymore, if you feel uncomfortable with needing it, then it’s good to set yourself goals. But I do think cutting down on sugar and upping exercise is more beneficial than quitting that one cup of coffee. Good luck !

        (If I could drink one a day, I would too, but I just want more and more until I’m the Caffein-o-saurus so that’s just not going to work for now)

  3. Wow, I love this post! My favorite line: “Starting a habit always takes way more energy than keeping a habit up: that can be done reasonably effortless.”

  4. FanTAStisch artikel, heel erg hulpvol. Ik heb een vraag/artikelsuggestie. Sinds een paar maanden sport ik (hardlopen en bikram yoga) en eet ik gezond (hiervoor dronk ik 5 dagen in de week alcohol, at ik 2 keer in de week friet en ontbeet ik met een Snickers). Het gaat heel goed; ik heb discipline, voel me goed en ben wat kilo’s afgevallen. Alleen mijn omgeving reageert niet erg enthousiast. Ze vinden me ‘niet mezelf’ en saai en obsessief. Ik vind het moeilijk hoe ik hiermee om moet gaan. Heb jij misschien tips?

    1. Hoi Marieke, klinkt echt alsof het juist supergoed met je gaat, wat fijn voor je! Omgevingen moeten altijd wennen als iemand zich anders gaat gedragen dan ze gewend zijn. Ik zal er nog een heel artikel aan wijden maar waar dit toch op neer gaat komen: Jij moet doen waar je je het lekkerst bij voelt. Dus wanneer ze dit tegen je zeggen kun je ervoor kiezen het uit te leggen dat je je zo lekkerder in je vel voelt en dat dit niet betekent dat je niet jezelf bent maar dat je juist misschien wel meer jezelf bent. Je kunt er ook voor kiezen om je schouders op te halen met een simpel “dat mag jij vinden” en verder gaan. Laat je er in ieder geval niet door ontmoedigen!

      1. Bedankt voor je uitgebreide reactie! Ik ben nu nog heel erg bezig om mezelf te verontschuldigen en dat wil ik eigenlijk niet meer. Ik kijk uit naar je artikel 🙂