Everyone says “I need to drink more water.” Well, what’s the answer? To find out, I ran a 7-day water challenge.

This challenge was designed to discover 

  1. exactly why you want to drink more water and
  2. which strategies work best to help you be more consistent with drinking water.

We talked about this in a previous blog, but I wanted some real-life data behind it.

Here’s what happened.

Aims of the 7-Day Water Challenge  

I really wanted to find out if an intense focus on water drinking would either increase consumption and/or improve consistency.

After all, I find that when my attention wanes and I lose focus, then all my good habits go out the window. I need a trigger – an urgent trigger – to get me to be consistent with those day-to-day important habits like drinking water.

7-Day Water Challenge Method

I asked participants to complete a pre-challenge survey.

I wanted to find out what motivates people to drink more water, and to which strategies worked best afterwards.

These are two important things. Motivation is what maintains focus. Strategies, structure and support help you stay on track. 

Each participant got a list of water-drinking strategies as examples, and had to choose 4 – 6 strategies (either from the list, or your own)’ that you would be prepared do every day for 7 days.

7-Day Water Challenge

Each day of the challenge, I posted in our closed Facebook group and invited updates and comments as a means of helping everyone maintain a focus.

Then there was a post-challenge survey at the end to check out what happened.

I’ll survey those people again in a couple of months to see what’s happened to their habits over a longer period.

7-Day Water Challenge Results

To get some meaningful results, we asked some questions in the pre-and post-challenge surveys.

1. Why you were interested in this challenge, and what did you discover afterwards? What was the main outcome you wanted, and what was the main outcome you got?

While curiosity was an element, most people want to improve health and be more consistent.

It seems only 20% are interested in useful strategies; most of you wanted to establish a habit and be more consistent.

I could surmise that while the strategies are important, structure and accountability are more important for creating sticky habits.

7-Day Water Challenge

2. How important is it for you to consistently drink more water, and how confident are you that you could consistently drink more water, before and then after the challenge? (that is, do you have the motivators, structures and tools to be consistent?).

The answers show that water drinking is very important to 90% of participants, but only 70% were confident they could do it consistently.

After the challenge, this changed. Then, over 90% of people were confident they could be more consistent.

I guess this means that successfully completing the 7-Day Water Challenge gave them proof that they could do it.

Proof seems to creates hope, belief and boosts confidence.

7DayChallenge importance confidence

I was interested in WHY people were interested in drinking water more consistently

The results were mixed, probably according to age and current health status. 

For example, one of the top four reasons for drinking more water was ‘to avoid health issues’ – however, this was also one of the bottom four reasons! This tells me we had people from opposite ends of the health spectrum in our challenge.

The top four reasons overall, were: 

  1. Better digestion 
  2. Avoid health issues
  3. Energy boost 
  4. Better looking skin.

7-Day Water Challenge

3. Which strategies did you try, and which worked best?

This was interesting! I provided a list of strategies and asked participants to choose 4 – 6; they could choose others if they wanted.

The blue bars show what people tried, vs what worked best. The three best strategies for this particular group of participants were:

  1. A big drink of water in the morning to set off a ‘urinate then drink again’ cycle
  2. Improving drinkability with either flavours added, heat or cold
  3. Using a visual reminder like having a water alarm, monitoring sheet or diary. 

7-Day Water Challenge


Strategies That Worked Best For Others

While we were talking strategies, I jumped into a different FB group and asked, ‘which strategies work best to help you drink water more consistently during the day?’

How interesting: there are a lot of very visual people in that group, with the majority finding the best strategy to be a water bottle in their line of sight, that they could see. It was a little different to what we saw in the Downsize Me group.

Horses for courses!

7-Day Water Challenge

My favourite strategy in this list? The water bottle kept between my legs. Yep, that definitely wins the prize for the most interesting and innovative.

The #DMWaterChallenge Wrap

Ok, so this wasn’t a double-blind placebo experiment with super controlled variables. At least I randomised the order in which the options appeared in the survey!

But what’s really clear is that:

  • Water drinking is important to most people – reasons vary, but the most common were better health, digestion, skin and energy
  • Your confidence in being able to do something increases if you actually give it a try and succeed. This 7-Day water challenge was a great short-term way to help people feel more confident.
  • Best water drinking strategies depend on the person, their lifestyle and their daily environment. But clearly, the best triggers for most people are:
    • Starting the day by working with your body’s own rhythm – drink, urinate then drink again 
    • Make it more enjoyable (improve the taste)
    • Use visual reminders – diaries, water bottles in view, monitoring tools etc. 

What’s your best strategy for drinking water? Type in the comments below and let us know.

Melanie White

Melanie White

Chief Inspiration Coach

Melanie absolutely loves the art and science of picking apart habits and reconstructing them into more useful, pleasurable things.