Have you ever been able to fulfill your new year resolutions?
If yes, then you should know that you belong to a rare tribe, and you have my admiration.
Startup idea: a gym named Resolution that runs for the 1st month of the year, collects subscription fee, then converts to a bar named Regret
— Siddharth Singh (@siddharth3) December 27, 2016
Plans and resolutions have never been my thing. I’m a “go with the flow” kind of person.
I stopped making resolutions as soon as I was out of school, because there was no longer a compulsion to share your “New Year Resolutions” list with your classmates.
But last year, for the first time in my life, I did make a resolution and to my great surprise, I kept it.
I quit drinking aerated drinks, an addiction that had slowly taken over me.
I used to drink like a (non-alcoholic) fish.
As far as I can remember, we always had Thums Up or Coca Cola at home. My dad would keep the fridge stocked because my mom loves fizzy drinks.
As kids, my brother and I were only allowed to drink them once or twice a week. But as soon as I moved out of home, I drank all the time. There was no parental control and I could have as many glasses as I wanted, just like my mom did.
Soon enough, I grew dependant on carbonated drinks. The addiction used to get worse whenever I had an exam or was stressed.
It wasn’t just a cool drink I was having on a hot summer’s day.
I was like a vampire lusting after that black, sparkling liquid.
And the ads didn’t help either.
I would watch Salman Khan and Alia Bhat grab a bottle and drink colas like they were the elixir of life. The flexing of their throat muscles, the contentment in their eyes. It would immediately make me want to reach for a glass or two.
My body loved the sugar rush, and the eventual burst of energy. I realised what it was doing to me when my doctor pointed at the weighing scale, and my dentist said, “You might need to get your gums operated on.”
Ideally, you need only 30g of sugar a day. Considering that your body gets sugar from other foods like fruits, cereals, and honey, having a glass or two of cola is always just an extra, unnecessary addition.
There was a time when I drank a litre of cola every day. It was my way of coping with stress and, to some extent, quenching my thirst because I had gotten to the point where I’d replaced water with cola.
Nobody noticed but my health began to deteriorate.
My weight spiked madly and my gums bled all the time. Which isn’t surprising, since the acid and sugar in aerated drinks causes tooth decay.
At one point, my dentist just gave up trying to treat my weak gums and cavities. He told me to either change my diet or prepare myself for a lifetime of dental problems.
That’s when reality hit me.
I started by replacing cola with squashes.
It was really hard to do, because fruit-flavoured squashes are no match for colas.
In supermarkets, I would turn away from the aisles that stored aerated drinks. But it just wasn’t enough. I would go back to drinking them when I was stressed or tired.
So, around this time last year, I decided to use my fear to get rid of my addiction.
We’re all scared of something. It could be anything, from academic failure to death.
I have my share, too.
I told myself that if I ever drank a drop of cola again, one of my fears would come true.
I can’t tell you which, because that would break my promise. That’s how serious I am about this.
I know it sounds silly and filmy, but it worked for me.
My fear is so strong that it has kept me away from fizzy colas when no other de-addiction method worked. And now, it’s been a year since I quit drinking them.
Do I still feel the urge?
Yes. But I’m helpless at the hands of the doomsday promise I made myself.
And, I’m very happy with this self-imposed restriction.
My gums don’t bleed, my skin looks much better, and I’m no longer dependent on bubbly liquid sugar. Sometimes, I’ll drink a glass of fruit juice when it’s really hot outside, but that’s about it.
Before, drinking two litres of cola in a day was nothing for me. I remember how the craving grew with every glass.
So, if I can quit that in just a day, you can too.
Don’t fall into the trap of “one glass sometimes is okay.” There’s absolutely no nutritional value in aerated drinks. The 14,000-crore soft drinks industry thrives on our weakness for that delicious, sudden energy spike, thanks to the sugar and caffeine content.
Give them up if you care for your body.
You can try my method (if you’re terrified enough of something, and capable of intense conviction) or you can use one of these techniques.
Whatever you do, remember to be strong in your resolve. Trust me—as difficult as it may seem now—you’ll be so much better off.