I Got a Motivational Water Bottle to See if It Actually Made Me Drink More Water — Here’s What Happened

published Apr 4, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

If there’s a “final boss” in my self-care routine, it’s definitely drinking water. As a highly caffeinated person, I tend to reach for my coffee before I do my water, and while caffeinated beverages aren’t as dehydrating as many people believe them to be, I’m always on the lookout for ways to increase my water consumption. So when I saw a New York Times article touting the rise of the so-called “motivational” water bottle, the idea went down on my mental list of “things to try.”

Now, I’m not a water bottle person by nature. (Can you even be a water bottle person? Is that a thing?) Because I work from home, I often opt for a clean mason jar to serve as a makeshift indicator of how much water I’m drinking on any given day. Filling and re-filling a 16 oz jar four times over the course of one day accounts for 64 oz of water, or the generally recommended amount of water (though the eight-cups-a-day “rule” isn’t as hard and fast as most people believe; in fact, no one is totally sure where it even originated). It always seemed silly to devote an additional vessel to the water-drinking task, but if it worked for the people quoted in the Times — as well as celebrities like Chrissy Teigen — it could be good enough for me.

To start, I had to source a water bottle — which proved to be trickier than I realized, given the sheer amount of options available. Ultimately, I chose a 32-oz. bottle, because it seemed less intimidating than the half-gallon and gallon-sized jugs. This meant that to hit my water goal, I’d have to refill the bottle only once a day, which seemed entirely doable. I made a mental note of the mileposts on the side of the bottle once it arrived, washed the bottle out the night before I planned to start, and prepared to be quenched.

Day 1: Monday

I started off by filling my water bottle with chilled water from the pitcher in my fridge — and immediately took a big gulp of water that landed me just under the 8 a.m. deadline before the clock struck 8. Immediately, I felt satisfied and proud of myself. As the day went on, I found myself trying to race time and finishing a given amount of water before each corresponding deadline. I wound up refilling the bottle twice, and finishing it entirely before the night was through.

Day 2: Tuesday

I woke up already knowing what to expect — and thanked the previous version of myself from last night for filling my water bottle and storing it in the fridge the night before. I took a few sips to get myself below the 8 a.m. line and hit the ground running.

As the day went on, I noticed that I once again was being competitive with myself to hit certain line marks — but only if the water bottle was in the same room or close at hand. For example, I left the water bottle in the kitchen after grabbing a mid-afternoon snack, and only realized I hadn’t taken a sip once I looked up and wondered where my water bottle went. It helps that the version I got is a bright pink and yellow gradient, which sticks out conspicuously from the rest of my decor.

Day 3: Wednesday

By day three, I had gotten into a groove. Sure, I had begun to give into a different bad habit of accumulating multiple beverages on any given surface — but between my coffee mug, motivational water bottle, and the rogue green juice, three vessels maximum seemed more doable than my previous habit. (Those mason jars I mentioned? Yeah, I had a habit of “collecting” two or more on my coffee table as the day went on.) If the water bottle was both keeping me motivated, and minimizing clutter, I considered that a win-win.

Day 4: Thursday

Everything was going swimmingly with my water — until the day I had to run an errand. Not only did the water bottle seem a bit bulky to carry as I commuted on the subway, but I worried about removing my face masks and sipping water — not to mention finding a public restroom in an era of social distancing and limited shopping. I made the decision to leave the water bottle at home, as long as I promised myself that I would once again drink more water than I “needed to” by a given hour, and would catch up on my needs once I returned home.

Of course, this promise overrode my body’s thirst sensors, but I never felt queasy as I gulped my water down. It might be even easier to live the motivational water bottle lifestyle if you have a car and can leave the vessel in the cup holder while running errands, but for city living, having a dedicated at-home water bottle wasn’t so bad.

The Rest of the Week

Once I got into the swing of things, remembering to both use and refill my water bottle was easy. In fact, the only time I used any other vessel to drink water was when I completed a workout — the bottle I purchased is slightly too large for the cupholder on my exercise bike — but even this was helpful in its own way. It reminded me to take the pressure off of myself and not measure every ounce of water my body needed. As a result, I listened to my body while I worked out, and focused on what it needed rather than an arbitrary timestamp.

Now, I reach for my water bottle first thing almost every morning and take at least a few sips before I drink my coffee. (Hydration before caffeination strikes again!) I’m less regimented about when I hit my water goal, but knowing when I’ve downed two bottles’ worth of water is enough of a benchmark for me.