progress, not perfection

Posted: January 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

My pastor drinks a gallon of water every day.  He swears by it, saying it has built up his resistance to illness – that he now recovers in a day or two from what would once have held on for a week or more.

Anyone who reads much at all on health knows he’s right about the health benefits of water.  While it is possible to drink too much water, I’ve never met anyone who did.  I’ve only read anecdotes.  Drinking water solves a long list of potential problems and inconveniences, and the only cost is all the running to the bathroom.  When I think that it is hard to get all those ounces in, I am reminded of the story in scripture where Jesus told a guy to go wash in a certain river to be healed, and he pitched a big fit, wanting something maybe more mystical or dignified, and his servant was all, “You’d do a cooler thing if He said so; why not try this simple thing?”  And then he did, and then he got healed.  Yeah.  Water is like that – we want fancy solutions, while water (unglamorous as it is) will actually do the trick.

Recently I decided to follow my pastor’s example of the practical solution for HOW to manage drinking so much.  He gets a gallon in because he measures it out in the morning, before he starts his day.    He shows up to meetings with his gallon jug, carefully pouring bits of it into little cups and sipping away.  He can measure at any point in the day how he’s tracking to meet the goal.

While I was doing my Virgin Diet experiment, the drinking-enough-water part was my area of weakness, and I think that was primarily because I was keeping track of the ounces in my head.  So recently I went on Amazon and found a 2-pack of gallon Rubbermaid pitchers – they were less than $8 for the pair, shipped.  Yesterday they arrived, and I put them right to work.

Here’s the plan:  I’ll fill one pitcher all the way up when I get there in the morning.  The other is for a stash of ice (I don’t need a gallon – just a stash).  That way I can keep my hot water mug going all day and also my icewater insulated cup perpetually filled as well, and I don’t have to keep running down the hall to refill the hot water pot or to get more ice.  The pitchers will be right there, a visual reminder for me, and I can easily measure whether I am meeting the goal or not, since with a 7 PM bedtime,  5 PM is around cutoff time for me for most beverage consuming, if I want to stand a chance of not getting up in the night half a dozen times for the bathroom.

I started yesterday – opened the Amazon box, washed up the pitchers, filled one with water, and the other about 1/3 of the way with ice.  I did find that I drank more than usual, with the reminder right there on my desk.

At the end of the day, there was still half a gallon of water left in the pitcher.  But I’d had about 10 oz of hot water with breakfast before work, and then filled my 16 oz hot water mug as soon as I got into the office and drank that before I even filled the pitcher, so I came closer to my goal than the half gallon left would seem to say.

This is the part I love about being almost 50:  I understand that I’m working toward the goal.  I don’t expect myself to get there on day one.  I get that starting a good habit is an important part of developing it, but so is not being overly harsh or demanding about it all.  I’ll fill ’em up when I get to the office and try again today, and probably I’ll do better.  I’ll keep doing that and one of these days, I’ll hit the goal.  Meanwhile, I don’t have to use the language of failure with myself about not getting it on day one.

It works with practical things like drinking more water, and with deeply spiritual practices as well:  progress, not perfection.  Just another one of the twelve step precepts that changes my life for the better every day.

  1. Cindy Maynard says:

    Just thought I would check in and ask how’s the water consumption going along? With my nutrition plan I was to also drink a gallon (128 oz) were day as well. I was doing great then coming back from the mission trip and not being focused on “good whole” foods for a couple of weeks set me back. I am back to working at getting in that amount but like you I have had to work back up to it. Still in the process. Getting closer day by day, but not condemning myself.

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