I like black coffee. There. I said it. Decaf, too. It’s a new thing for me, drinking coffee. And drinking it black is something I never thought I’d enjoy. Yet here I am writing about it. What changed? How did I go from a frappuccino-loving, extra-whip-cream-requesting, sugar-binger to someone who takes their coffee black as night? Well, it’s because I had a reason to.
Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about nutrition. Of how refined carbohydrates work and the role of insulin in the body. I’ve also been experimenting with fasting. In short, my understanding of food has grown tremendously. And with it, the things I feel that I should or should not be consuming on a regular basis. One of which is coffee.
Coffee itself seems healthy (*though I’m not a doctor so nothing here should be taken as medical advice), while creamers, sweeteners, and the like, not as much. So, I’ve started drinking coffee and am doing so without any flavored help. To my surprise, it’s great! In fact, it’s now something I look forward to.
The reason matters
In anything you do, but particularly when it comes to your goals, you can gain the ability to love what others hate. All it takes is a strong why, a strong reason for doing that thing. In my case, I read some books that recommended coffee as a healthy drink option, particularly when fasting, so I took it up. They discouraged adding anything to it though, so I keep it black.
With a strong why – in my case, for appetite suppression on fasting days – I’ve learned to love this thing that so many people despise. And so can you. As long as you have a powerful reason for doing something, you can learn to withstand any trial, discomfort, or social norm. You just need a reason for it.
Here’s another example. For years, my breakfast consisted of plain Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon. It was like eating a bowl of sour cream each morning. To say it was an acquired taste would be generous. It was nasty. Yet, that was my AM meal for years and years. Why? Because I had a strong reason to consume it. Again, because of the health benefits I thought I was gaining from it.
Was I really getting anything of value from that yogurt? I don’t want to think about it. What matters is that I believed in it and thus easily overcame the taste of sour milk day after day. I didn’t love it, but I certainly learned to enjoy it. All because I had a reason to.
Think about audiobooks for a moment. For some reason, people have intense feelings about them. Particularly, those that have never used them before. Ask someone that’s never listened to an audiobook if they would consider it and they’ll say something like: I won’t be able to focus. I prefer physical books. Audiobooks are boring. I know from experience because that used to be me. That is, until I had a reason to listen to them. Now I love them.
I was skeptical about audiobooks at first. But, I wanted a way to consume more books while on the go (ie. driving, running, etc.). Audiobooks fit that need wonderfully. I started listening to audiobooks and fell in love. Not immediately, but it happened nonetheless. Now I happily finish two to four audiobooks each month. I had a strong reason and thus learned to love it.
I’m reminded of the quote by Friedrich Nietzsche that goes, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Your goals don’t necessarily need to have that extreme of an overtone to them, but you can apply the meaning. With a good reason, you can learn to love what others hate.
Remember your reason during times of doubt
In your own life, what is something that you’re interested in but are skeptical of because others are so against it? What is your black coffee? What is your audiobook? It could be running at 5 AM or handmaking pasta. It could be talking to someone new each day or even making the bed.
Don’t be discouraged by the preferences of others. Instead, develop the reason why it’s going to work for you. Why you should do this thing and how it will benefit you. Then it’s a matter of putting in the work and reminding yourself why that goal is so important.
I’m not going to lie. Eating plain yogurt took a lot of effort for me to come around on. That said, I kept the reason for doing it front and center in my mind. And with each subsequent bite, it got that much better. Or maybe, that was just because I ended up overloading it with cinnamon. Either way, what started as bearable became actually somewhat enjoyable.
Moving forward with a good reason
Once you have your reason for a goal, be sure to write it down because you will forget. In times of struggle or dislike, revisit that why and remind yourself of the importance behind it. During those moments of sleepiness at 5 AM, refresh yourself as to why you’re awake at that time. As you build up the courage to approach a stranger in the coffee shop and engage in small talk, remember your reason for the conversation.
So long as you have a strong reason for what you’re doing, you can learn to tolerate, enjoy, and even love the things that others loudly decry. It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen so long as you stick with it. With each sip of coffee, with each bite of yogurt, with each listen of an audiobook, your love for that thing will grow.
However, if you try something and the why falls flat, ditch it. For example, if I absolutely couldn’t get past the taste of black coffee to the point that no health benefits would make it worth it, I’d drop it and find something else. So long as it’s not that unbearable though, stick with it. Over time and experimentation, with a strong reason for doing it, you will learn to love what others are so admittedly against.