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Drinking water is important, don't think I need to explain that. And many times I just forget to drink enough during the day, usually when occupied at work, which is not so good.

So, are there any hacks that will force me to drink more?

Having soft drinks or cola helps to drink more, but that's not healthy either, so I really prefer only water.

  • Are you searching for ideas about how to not forget to drink or how to make plain water more “attractive” to drink - like the soft drinks you mentioned? – Stephie Apr 2 at 20:29
  • @Stephie both, but prefer to keep with plain water, without adding sugar or flavors. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Apr 3 at 8:10
  • the easiest hack that works for me, is having a full bottle of water, right next to my mouse...that way i will see it every now and then, and will drink – Mario Garcia Dec 3 at 14:57
  • @MarioGarcia thanks, I do have such bottle. Doesn't always work. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Dec 3 at 15:07

10 Answers 10

7

Instead of a random timer to remind me to do X I found tying X to another activity Y the most effective solution.

For water, I start the day with a glass and drink with meals (which is a start and also helps me feel full sooner).

But I also drink

  • when I get up to grab a cup of coffee
  • after bathroom breaks
    (handy cycle - drink more, use the bathroom more frequently, drink more...)

I have a female colleague who works as a secretary - her trigger is getting up to grab something from the printer. Ended the recurring UTIs for her, that are the bane of so many females’ life.

So I suggest you think about regular activities during your work day and connect them with drinking.


A few additional notes:

  • It helps if your water tastes good. I don’t mean added flavors, but as a European, I found some tap waters in the US quite different to swallow, especially if they have high levels of chlorine. You may have to look into options like a filter.
  • You”drinking personality” matters. Some prefer to drink a large glass every now and then, others are just sipping on the glass. This may mean adjusting the recommendation above.
  • Even if you don’t want flavored water and no sugar, adding a hint of flavor may be worth a try. A strip of cucumber peel, a twig of mint, a few slices of lemon, ginger, a few pieces of fruit... In my experience, especially “constant sippers” seem to like that. And it’s still calorie free and contains no artificial flavors. (And it looks super sophisticated in a glass bottle or carafe, just saying.) You can also combine flavors.
  • The hedonistic side in you may appreciate a nice presentation or a drinking vessel that is pleasant to use. A small investment may entice you to drink (= use the object) more.

This is a 5€ IKEA carafe with two twigs of lemon balm and a small handful of blueberries:

Hedonism - or the love of pretty things

  • I do drink while and after eating, that's the "main" drinking source for me. For some reason drinking before coffee looks wrong to me, but yeah, if I can make the mental switch that it's OK, it's a good idea. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Apr 3 at 9:13
  • In the past, drinking while waiting for my code to compile was a good trigger. This may or may not be still the case, depending on what kind of coding you do. – Stephie Apr 3 at 9:15
  • Hehe, well, I'm working on small projects, and these days with languages having JIT compilers, e.g. node.js hence it's less relevant. :) – Shadow The Princess Wizard Apr 3 at 9:31
5

This is one trick I picked up from a friend that can be applied to remind yourself of things you tend to forget.

If you use a smartphone or a laptop often during the day, set its password as 'water' or something similar that isn't easy to guess by others. Every time you unlock (which would be a good number of times, I suppose), you'll have to enter the password which will do the job of reminding you of drinking water.

Hope this helps! :) In case of a fingerprint or face unlock, the other answers would serve better. :D

5

I have this same problem, so I'm glad you asked this question. To be honest, I don't think I can really outdo the answer from Stephie, but I will share with you some things I've done to help me drink more water:

Make it a habit first thing in the morning

First thing upon waking (after using the bathroom, brushing my teeth, letting pets out), I force myself to drink at least one bottle of water. (If you're opposed to encouraging the use of plastic, this is equivalent to two cups.) If I do nothing else healthy that day, at least I've put 16 ounces of water into my system. A day has a way of making everything but your health a priority, so if you do this first thing, you've done at least that much for yourself. Plus, I've recently read that some studies have been done indicating this is very beneficial to one's health. As a case in point, have you heard of this thing called Japanese Water Therapy? You can read more about it here:

This Japanese Water Therapy is the Key to Losing Weight and Staying Healthy!

Personally, I'd have to be more convinced of the benefits of drinking four to six glasses of water in one session before committing to such a thing and I really like brushing my teeth before I drink my water, but nobody lives longer than the Japanese, so maybe there's something to it.

The other nice thing about drinking water first thing in the morning is that it can help you wake up.

Multitask while you drink, but nothing too distracting

Drinking water is a relatively mindless activity, so you can do other things while you're drinking, but I don't recommend sitting down at a computer while you drink. It can be too distracting. Instead, opt for something you should be able to pull yourself away from easily. Television programs with commercial breaks are good choices as are news broadcasts on the radio (because the news almost always turns to a story you're just not that interested in). If you want, you can also add in some light stretching or yoga.

Make your own drinking games

Some people do this with alcohol, but you can do the same thing with water. Obviously, many drinking games aren't well suited for this. For example, I don't recommend "beer bong" for any beverage. (Who's idea of fun is this?) I also don't recommend swapping out water for beer in "beer pong." This game simply has far too much setup involved and potential to be messy. Plus, it just isn't an efficient way to get your daily water intake. Instead, I recommend something more like the ones you'll find in this article here:

The 25 best movie drinking games to PLAY RESPONSIBLY

Obviously, you don't have to use these same movies. You can decide on others and come up with rules of your own. And you don't have to limit yourself to movies. You could use television programs, radio shows, songs, audio books, etc. Make up whatever rules you want. Your imagination is the limit.

Look at your urine

I don't know anybody who doesn't have to go to the bathroom at least three to four times a day (at a minimum), so this is something everyone can do. When you go to the bathroom, make a habit of looking at your urine. Granted, a lot of different things may factor into how light or dark your urine appears, but in most situations, comparing the appearance of your urine to a chart like this:

![]()

can be really helpful, especially in warm climates and/or extended exercise sessions, where that one bottle of water you may or may not have had in the morning doesn't last too long.

Take advantage of mindless activity

Throughout any given day, there are certain activities that really don't require a lot of brain power or concentration. These might include commuting to work, waiting for someone or something (to include being put on hold during a phone call), petting an animal/walking a pet, watching television, listening to the radio, and so on and so forth. All of these activities are perfect for taking the time to add to your daily water intake. Don't miss out on these opportunities to do something good for yourself.

Make drinking water seem new and exciting

Most people I know enjoy trying new things and while there might be fewer choices with water than with something like wine, you can still find ways to get enthused about it. In addition to what Stephie has suggested, I highly recommend cucumber water if you haven't already tried it. If you try it and you like it, buy yourself a nice glass pitcher, free of lead, and always have some of this on hand. Coconut water is another tasty variation on water. If neither of these are on hand, you may want to just opt for a healthy splash or two of your favorite juice. In fact making a habit of cutting your juice with water is a good habit to adopt because juice contains a lot of sugar even if no sugar has been added to it. If you want some more really great ideas for how you can spruce up your water (without adding sugar), read this article here from Wellness Mama:

10 Refreshing Infused Water Recipes (With Fruit & Herbs!)

or this one here from the Food Network:

How to Make Water the Most-Delicious Thing Ever

Scare yourself

Psychologists say that fear is the single most powerful motivator. I don't know many who would disagree (although some say it isn't the best one). Regardless, if you happen to agree with this, you may want to do some research on the effects of not drinking enough water. Here's a few articles you may want to read:

Drink Up! Most of Us Could Benefit From More Water

What Happens To Your Brain When You're Dehydrated? The Results Can Be Kind Of Scary

Ten warning signs you're not drinking enough water


All of the above is what has worked for me, personally, but I will confess that occasionally I don't always adhere to these good habits. I don't beat myself up about it. I just make a conscious effort to do better the next day.

And though I strongly feel that adopting these particular habits contributes to my good health, I realize they might not be for everybody. It is very likely that nobody knows, better than you, what motivates you to do something. Take some time to identify what those things are and then find a way to apply them to water consumption. Surely you've had to force yourself to do something at least once or twice before. What steps did you take or mindset did you adopt to make it happen? Choosing habits that appeal to you and fit into your lifestyle easily may be helpful. Setting aside some time for preparation may be another key to your success on this.

Thankfully, those of us who have been averse to drinking water now have a myriad of ways to make it more enticing. I wish you well as you discover what works best for you.

3

I like BrettFromLA's answer, but I would also suggest getting your favorite container and mark "1/4", "1/2", and "3/4" on the outside of it. Then, set your goal of drinking enough to empty the container twice (or whatever) per day. For me, the idea of breaking the big goal into smaller pieces will help.

Good luck.

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    Depending how much you think you need, get that much water - maybe in more than one bottle - and put it on your desk. Don't go home until it's all gone. – RedSonja Apr 11 at 11:44
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Have your bottle always with you.

Simply buy yourself a bottle that is so handy that you always take it with you. Just remember and make that a habit. The drinking part naturally comes with it. To ignite that habit you can put the bottle in you peripheral vision so it functions as a visual cue.

1

Standing periodically is important too, so I've just set a timer for myself. You could do the same thing for water:

  • Keep a small glass or bottle of water near you.
  • Set a timer to go off every 30 minutes.
  • Drink the small amount of water.
  • Go fill it up again (which has the bonus of being a little walk!).
  • Bring it back and start your timer again, if it doesn't reset itself.

You can decide how much water you want to drink in a day, then divide it by the number of times you expect to drink from the glass/bottle and refill it. That will determine how much water to put in your glass/bottle.

  • Well, I do have a bottle and take a sip once in a while... just forget to take them often enough. Timer is nice idea, but likely I'll just shut it down at some point since it'll interfere with my line of thinking while coding. :-/ – Shadow The Princess Wizard Apr 3 at 8:13
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    For some reason, it didn't disrupt my coding. (I was a coder for about 20 years.) – BrettFromLA Apr 3 at 18:36
1

set a reminder on your phone as i did so it'll remi d you of drinking every now and then and put a sign or reminder note on the fridge so you wil see it everytime you open your fridge "Drink more Water for healthier life style. . :)

0

Always have a glass of water available in hands reach. Soon enough you will notice that glass and take a sip, whenever you are thirsty. In a couple of weeks, the habit will be there.

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I bought a 32 oz water jug.

I got myself into only 2 habits: 1. fill it first thing every morning, 2. make sure I have consumed all of it by time I go to bed.

-1

This question was asked almost word-for-word a few months ago but it appears to have been closed/deleted in the meantime, probably because it was regarded as a "mind-hack".

I will give the same answer that I gave that question: The idea that you have to force yourself to drink water is nonsense. Evolution has equipped us with an incredible set of biological functions that mean we actually feel thirsty when we need water!

About 70 years ago, someone publicised the fact that humans consume about 2 litres of water per day from all of our drinks and the water in our food. This was misconstrued by some people to mean that we HAVE to drink 2 litres of water per day to be healthy. This is simply not true, never has been, and after 70 years, people still assume that it is.

Snopes has a very good article that details the facts.

Drink when you are thirsty, then you don't need any lifehack at all.

EDIT: Apparently some people are reluctant to be told that they have been labouring under a misapprehension for years, so I will try to explain it another way.

FACT1: If you don't ingest enough water to meet the biological needs of your body, you will die. FACT2: You are not dead

THEREFORE: You are getting enough water

Either you are doing this by keeping your water level fairly stable at all times, or you are spending some part of the time with your water level lower than optimum.

The implication of the question is that having a lower than optimum water level is somehow detrimental to health.

For normally healthy people I have never seen any evidence that having a below-optimum hydration is detrimental to health. This is one of those claims that is allowed to go unchallenged and is assumed to be true by vast numbers of people.

HOWEVER, I have seen evidence that drinking too much water can cause health problems. In fact there is a recognised LD50 for water in humans, it equates to about 9 litres for a 100Kg person. I.e. Drink 9 litres of water and your survival chance is 50/50.

The comment about evolution hints at the truth; no, we aren't biologically equipped for the modern world - we are equipped to live in a world where access to food and water are sporadic. We are supposed to binge on them when available, in order to survive to the next binge. Our bodies are evolved to deal with the excess when it arrives - then deal with the shortage when that arrives. Sipping water all day is completely unnatural.

Drink when you are thirsty.

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    While I wholeheartedly agree that thirst is a better indicator of water need than some random recommendation, it has happened to me often enough that in particular hectic and stressful days I simply didn’t notice my body‘s „thirst signals“. Results : headaches, UTIs, blood pressure issues, lower overall performance. At least pausing at regular intervals helps me to notice that I am actually thirsty and grab some water. And remember that many elderly people have a severely reduced thirst impulse, which can aggravate many existing medical conditions, including dementia. – Stephie Apr 5 at 4:21
  • @Stephie The point I'm trying to put across is that I see far too many people who still believe the old misunderstanding of "drink 2 litres of water per day". They keep a bottle on their desk and are regularly sipping from it all day in the belief that this is benefitting their health. This question is worded as though "Drink 2 litres of water per day" is a scientific FACT and the OP is failing to act on it without a Lifehack. – Lefty Apr 5 at 8:37
  • There may be any number of medical reasons why someone needs to drink more water than their body tells them to, UTI's are one I've heard of. If this question was worded in that way I wouldn't have given this answer. For ordinary people who are just under the misapprehension that they need to drink more water than they want to, this is a perfectly valid answer; don't find a clever way to continue doing it, just stop doing it. – Lefty Apr 5 at 8:38
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    Technology isn't part of natural evolution. Computers and smartphones cause people to do things they were never meant to do "naturally", in nature. So that argument is invalid IMO. Technology is great, but also has downsides. Making people forget to drink is one of those, minor as it might look. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Apr 6 at 6:03
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    That article is talking about Chronic Dehydration. There's a world of difference between Chronic Dehydration and "I am not drinking as much water as someone once told me they heard a rumour I should drink". – Lefty Jun 27 at 16:42

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