A Month Without Coffee

By Leo Babauta

For my first month of The Year of Living Without, I gave up coffee. That was something I thought would be very difficult, given my love for coffee and miserable past attempts.

But I loved it.

That was a huge surprise to me. I had absolutely no difficulty in giving up coffee, not the first day, not the first week, not at all.

They key was having a great replacement habit that I really enjoyed. Instead of focusing on sacrificing the coffee, I focused on drinking a lovely cup of tea each morning. I was grateful to be able to drink such good tea, and so the coffee wasn’t even a concern.

So my first month of Living Without wasn’t that difficult, though I did learn a few things. I’ll share my lessons below, then share my Living Without challenge for August: no sitting for longer than 30 minutes.

Going Without Coffee

Some notes on going without coffee:

Notes on Living Without

This Year of Living Without is an experiment, to help me learn about myself, about my urges and desires and the resistance to changing things I think I really need.

All of us resist things we think we can’t live without, but I believe it’s not the truth, that we can live without more than we think, and in doing so we can change just about anything in our lives.

So what have I learned, after only a month? A few things:

My Tea Habit

This was the best thing about the month without coffee (aside from what I learned about urges). My tea habit was consistent (even during travel), and it’s something I hope to continue.

Some notes on the tea habit (none of the links are affiliate links):

Will I Continue Without Coffee?

This has been a question for me all month long — do I continue to go without coffee after July 31, or should I bring it back?

The honest truth is, I haven’t missed coffee other than an odd occasion where we go somewhere that has amazing coffee. And I’ve really enjoyed the tea in the morning.

However, this article gives me pause and has me wondering if I should include some coffee, when I feel like it.

So here’s what I’ve decided: I’m going to continue to drink tea, not coffee, in the morning. But I’ll allow myself a sip or three (up to half a cup) if there’s really good coffee being brewed at a great coffee shop. I think that’s a good balance.

Next Month: Without Sitting Longer Than 30 Minutes

So for my next challenge in The Year of Living Without, I’m going to go without sitting for longer than 30 minutes.

Here’s what I’ll do:

I should note that there are a couple of exceptions to this rule: 1) sleeping for longer than 60 minutes is OK, and 2) on an airplane I will just do my best not to sit for longer than 30 minutes (but won’t always be able to stand up for 15 minutes).

Some notes: