Two things you should know about me before diving into this post:
1. I like coffee and I drink a lot of it. In fact, I’m sipping on a late afternoon Americano at Whole Foods while I write this post (and my mom is texting me with ALLTHECOFFEE emoticons – not kidding. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. <3 her)!
2. I am a very conservative spender, really good at working budgets and love crunching numbers to make things work.
But I have a confession to make: I was addicted to Starbucks. And that doesn’t really align with No. 2 above. *sigh* #ifonly Sure, I brew coffee at home. My coffeemaker is even programmable so that I can set it up the night before and have a hot pot waiting for me after the umpteenth ‘SNOOZE’ goes off. I have it set 15 minutes before my first alarm at 4:00 a.m. so that it’s ready and waiting as I drag myself out for 5:30a clients. Still, Starbucks is too convenient NOT to stop. Let me paint you a picture. From house: turn left, drive-thru Starbucks immediately on right. ‘ON’ ramp on left just after that. A ‘Bux literally 0.02 seconds from my house?! #winning
But, no. Starbucks, I love, but soooo $, no? Venti Americanos add up quick, and especially when your 5:00 a.m. stop is only the first of many… in a single day. Typically, I start working at 5:30 a.m., work through 8:30 a.m. or so then head home, right past the same Starbucks (8:30 a.m. = prime time coffee time, riiiight?) to eat, answer coaching emails and dive into studying for the day until I head out again for evening clients. Are you with me? Two venti Americanos by 8:30 a.m. and we’re already pushing $5. Then, get this. All you coffee drinkers out there know what I’m talking about. That 3:00/4:00 p.m. cup? The one that can make or break your afternoon? Evening clients don’t start until 5:00 p.m. Perf. Yep, you guessed it! Venti Americano No. 3 on the day. Y’all, I had a problem: $7-something in one day, times 5 days (I was better on the weekends, save for the occasional cup on-the-go while out running errands). That’s ~$35 in a single week, just shy of $2K in one year! #idienow
Now because #2 above, I was able to afford this habit. But as I was reassessing the budget, as we all do, I realized just how out of control this HABIT had gotten. Instead of the ‘Bux being an occasional thing (i.e. ritual), it’d become automatic; a daily occurrence (i.e. habit). And so, right then and there, I made the choice to kick it. I mean, all that I could do with an extra $2K AND still have my coffee (from home)?! No brainer.
So, I know you’re probably thinking, “Ok. She’s cra. And I’m so glad that she’s not on my tab.” ha But, look a little deeper and there is a lesson in here for us all. And yes, it relates to your health.
In terms of my [excessive] Starbucks consumption, I thought absolutely nothing of swinging by the ‘Bux to grab a cup on my way… anywhere. Why? Because I saw it as a cup of coffee, nothing more. But what I didn’t realize, at the time (and until I confronted it, head-on), was the cumulative effect of those single cups. The $2K cumulative effect. Holy sh*t.
The LESSON here is two-fold.
First, little wins (e.g. single cups) add up to be really big wins (e.g. $2k Starbucks tab). Do not underestimate the power of ONE change. In terms of health/wellness, single [positive] habits/changes add up, over time, to sustainable lifestyles (the same holds true for negative behaviors – more below – so make sure it’s a “good” one aka adding to your life, not detracting from it). I always tell my clients to pick one thing, and to do it well. Focus on nothing, but that. When that one thing has become easy and effortless (aka habit), then pick something else. Remember, you can do everything but not everything all at once. Bear in mind, physiques (and mindsets!) are built over months, years of CONSISTENT practice; not single “bad” meals, workouts.
Struggling with where to start? JUST START! Maybe you add a leisure walk (or any kind of physical activity, whatever), a giant chopped salad (my fave!) or protein with everything to stabilize your blood sugar (energy), and keep hunger and cravings at bay. Maybe it’s as simple as getting in touch with how different foods make you feel, both while you are eating them AND after. Do not complicate it. In terms of nutrition, it’s just food and it’s only eating. Nbd. #TeamNoStress
And second. As I mentioned above, negative behaviors can also exhibit this compound effect. Skipping that one workout because, one workout. Or stopping for fast food en route home because, convenience. “I’m tired… I’m hungry, right now” blah blah blah. If we’re waiting for the stars to align i.e. the conditions to be “perfect” to do whatever it is that we know we ‘should’ be doing, we are going to be waiting a long time. Perfect is like a derivative that does not exist.
Do I still grab my Venti Americano on occasion? Sure. But, I’ve only had one in the last month and though I savored every last sip, it just wasn’t as good as I once thought it was. I’ve actually come to appreciate the ritual of getting it set [at home] the night before. And then when I do take my own advice and #treatyoself, I’ll usually head to one of the local coffee shops, instead, and enjoy it that much more.
Are you experiencing “The Starbucks Effect” somewhere in your life? Let me know on my Facebook page!