What is one thing you would never want to give up?

I’m not talking about your family, or friends, or pets, or any of that important stuff. I’m talking about that food, beverage, vice, or crutch that you can’t imagine eliminating from your life for even the briefest period of time. For lots of people that might be an after work cocktail, chocolate, or perhaps you can’t picture making it through the day without a jolt, or two, or ten of caffeine.

So, what is the one thing you would never want to give up? Got it?

Now give it up.

Some of you are already shaking your head and calling me a crackpot, or a nut job, or some other colorful names that I can’t post on a family friendly blog, and it’s all true, but hear me out.

There is a tremendous power that comes with giving up something that you don’t think you can, whether for a week, a month, or forever (or for as long as forever ends up being). While it may seem impossible, and I’m not going to lie to you (at least for now) it can be pretty miserable in the beginning , but forget what your high school gym coach told you, giving up can be amazing!

When I was in high school, I gave up caffeine. I never drank coffee, but I would drink several highly caffeinated sodas throughout the day. I don’t remember the average number of sodas I drank a day, but I couldn’t make it through the day without hitting the soda machine at least a couple of times. Then when hitting the soda machine didn’t work, (I’m not Fonzie) I would insert money and guzzle down that sugary, caffeinated sludge (although at the time it was delicious). When I missed a dose I got shaky, headachy, and generally felt yucky. I didn’t like being dependent on it, so I decided to give it up.

I won’t lie (yet), it wasn’t easy, but once the caffeine headaches and jitters subsided I was free of my dependence. It felt great. It turned out that the thing I thought I couldn’t make it through the day without, I was ok without it. Even if I had decided not to make it a full-time thing, I had proven to myself that I didn’t need it.

Same thing happened over two years ago when I decided to completely overhaul my diet. When I set out to eat a plant strong diet, I was cutting a lot of stuff out of my diet that I couldn’t imagine cutting. I couldn’t imagine a meal without meat, I loved cheese, and what better to snack on during the day than some sweet, sugary goodness. The overhaul of my diet was only scheduled to last for two month, which I think was helpful in keeping me committed to it. With an end date in sight, it didn’t seem quite so overwhelming. By the time I reached the end of the two months I wasn’t really craving meats or sweets anymore, I was feeling great, and while it wasn’t really the impetus in my decision to alter my diet, I had lost a lot of weight. With the proper fuel, my body began to adjust itself down to a more ideal weight. I didn’t want to stop. Prior to the experience I would not have imagined that I could live without that stuff, but once again giving up turned out to be a great experience.

So often we allow food, phones, and other external factors to control our lives. Just taking a break from some of those things, even if just for a little while, can be an incredibly rewarding and worthwhile experience (but what do I know, I’m just a crackpot and a nutjob).

Gary Beckman