Can one small change bring big rewards?
Those who know me will tell you I’m a big caffeine addict. Granted, I treat caffeine (in the form of coffee) with the same regard I treat all food and drink in my life: With moderation. But “Back in the day,” having coffee meant having a whole lotta cream and sugar with it. Actually, way back when (or weigh back when, as I like to say), I would drink coffee with artificial sweetener and artificial, nonfat creamer. The thought of consuming these totally unnatural, chemically altered substances make me shudder today.
As I learned more about health and nutrition, I gave those artificial substances up when drinking coffee. And I replaced them with real sugar (Sugar in the Raw was my choice) and real cream (Half N’ Half in this case). You might be surprised to read about the sugar and Half N’ Half. But based on how my body metabolized these more natural substances, I knew they were better for me than the artificial “fat and calorie free” crap (key word) that I’d been using up until then.
One. Small. Change.
But wait. There’s more.
Having succeeded with my “Small change, big reward” theory with the artificial sweetener and cream, there was a day I decided to take it one step further. Thus, I gave up the cream and sugar entirely and, instead, started to drink my coffee au natural (AKA “Black”). This took some getting used to because I like my coffee strong and bold. So the first couple sips of black coffee would elicit the kind of facial expressions that not even graduates of clown colleges could make.
But eventually? I got used the taste of black coffee. And – surprise, surprise – I even began to prefer the taste of black coffee. I liked how the flavor worked in tandem with my morning cereal or toast (never overwhelming the taste of breakfast and never being overly sweet like a milkshake). Another small change. Not to mention another big reward in that I had reduced my calorie intake by no longer having cream and sugar with my coffee.
For a time, I would allow myself to have cream and sugar on special occasions. At first only on weekends. Then only on special occasions (like my birthday). But eventually? I went all black coffee, all the time. And since then, I’ve never looked back. Although I do still occasionally make the ridiculous clown faces during the first, somewhat bitter sips. But I’ve learned to enjoy that moment for what it’s worth, figuring these ‘facial exercises’ might be burning up a few additional calories.
The great thing about small changes is that once you’ve successfully achieved them and made them part of your life, they will start to affect other decisions. For example, if I’m running around town and have to grab breakfast on the run, if I’m getting a black coffee I don’t want to completely negate that healthy choice by having a donut with it and instead will opt for a bran muffin or piece of fruit. Again, everything in moderation.
Now, I’m not telling you to join me on the black coffee bandwagon. But I’m am suggesting you look at different areas of your life and see where there might be room for one small change. Accomplishing that change could affect the rest of your life – and perhaps your health – in a positive, beautiful way.
Planning a small change? Or have an accomplished change to brag about? Do tell! I’m waiting over my cup of coffee with bated breath (and a promise not to react with a ‘clown face’).