Cold Shower Therapy is a strategy I’ve used a couple times in the last year to help me kickstart myself and start doing the things I know I need to be doing (h/t to Nick Reese for getting me hooked). If you find yourself self-sabotaging all the impossible things you want to be doing through avoidance and procrastination, cold shower therapy is the best tool I know of to help you cut through the hesitation and start doing.
Cold Shower Therapy™
If you’re staring at a project, and are having trouble convincing yourself to start, finding the beginning point and work your way through it little by little, you might need to throw it out, start from scratch and dive in headfirst – planning be damned.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight with a workout here and a workout there, you need to go full throttle, lift heavy, sprint everywhere and clear out your entire kitchen of junk food.
If you’re working on your business and are getting overwhelmed by how to get started, you might need to stop trying to plan every detail of your 5 year plan and just dive in and focus every ounce of energy you have on making your first dollar.
Get after it.
Go so hard you stop thinking about anything else
Go military on your goal. Be ruthless. Go a little bit crazy. Get a maniacal look in your eye that tells people a mixture of your addiction and insanity. Make it an obsession. Cold shower therapy can help you do that.
Changing Your Mentality
Cold shower therapy. You have to be a little nuts to do this. The part about addiction & insanity? It’s not just hyperbole. You need to alter your mental approach to things. Instead of seeing if there’s a way that you could possibly do something, you decide you’re going to crush it. Not because someone said you can, not because you know you can, simply because you can.
You stop going into things scared. You don’t worry about fear anymore, not because it’s not there, but because you have courage to do it in spite of the fact that you should be scared out of your mind.
You’ll probably get some weird looks from your friends but what are they doing anyways? Exactly.
Cold Shower Therapy
This is where cold shower therapy comes in.
Want to change your mentality? Take cold showers first thing in the morning. As soon as you get up. Jump in the shower. Close your eyes and turn the temperature to cold. Not just cold. Not ice cold. Try we-just-piped-this-water-in-from -Antarctica-because-the-penguins-won’t-swim-in-it-cold. Do this 30 days in a row. I call it cold shower therapy because it, quite literally is a therapy.
The first day you try cold shower therapy, it will suck, you’ll stare at the shower-head for 10 minutes, start crying just thinking about the idea, your heart will begin to beat fast, you might break out into a cold sweat, and if you’re brave, you’ll turn it to cold for a whole 5 seconds before letting out a shriek, and quickly backing out of the challenge and turning the shower back to hot.
The second day, you might get the shower to run cold for a whole 10 seconds, but it’s still too much, so you’ll turn it to hot and try to warm up again.
The third day (or however long it takes you), you stare down the faucet of fear, you grit your teeth and just dive in with everything you have. You turn the temperature to a bone-chilling temperature and let out a few choice words involuntarily (you might want to warn any roommates that you’re planning on doing this so they know you’re okay). The big change happens after you decide to actually do it. As you immerse yourself in the water, you welcome the cold. You make sure it gets all over your arms, your legs, the back of your neck, and definitely your crotch. You might yell out a few Tarzan type screams, but once you decide to do it, you lean into it and you’re not afraid of it anymore.
When you decide to turn the cold on blast, you realize one thing very, very quickly:
Like really bad. The first 30-60 seconds are hell on earth. Every bit as terrible as you imagined it to be while standing dry facing the shower-head of death.
But…once you hit that 60 second mark, you start to adapt. The water is as cold as ever, but you’ve already gotten as cold as you’re going to get and you’re not going to get any colder. You body does an awesome thing – it starts to adapt. Pretty soon, you realize that as cold as the water is, it’s not *that* cold anymore. Not to mention, the trepidation that you had before the shower is gone. You don’t have to fear what it’s like anymore, because you know first hand what it’s like. And it sucks…but it gets better because it makes you better.
Cold shower therapy make you invincible. No lie. After your first few 5 minute face offs with the shower, nothing can stop you. Why?
Cold shower therapy shows you how weak of an emotion fear really is.
When you’re staring at that faucet from hell, you’re only thinking one thing – this is going suck, this is going to suck, this is going to suck. Why? Because it sucks obviously and you’re afraid it’s going to suck. But just because something sucks doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just because you’re afraid of something, doesn’t mean you have to stay afraid.
When you stare at the faucet, realize the suck is going to happen and decide to lean into it, all of a sudden you embrace the suck. Instead of running from the fear, you challenge it, dare it to beat you. If you’re crazy enough to do that, fear usually turns around and runs home pretty quickly when sees you’ve decided that you won’t lose.
The same thing happens when you get to a project in the middle of the day and you hesitate for a moment instead of doing it. You can do this with a workout, business task or even that phone call you know you need to make, but keep hesitating from doing because you know it might not be 100% fun and games. If you don’t want to do it, you’d put it off and go on to something else. That’s standard protocol.
But once you’ve gone through cold shower therapy, things change. After you’ve stared at the shower head and conquered the cold in the shower that morning, you begin to recognize that hesitation. You realize the same hesitation you have in the project/business/workout is the exact same fear you saw in that shower that morning before turning on the cold. And you realize you’ve already beat it once today and that the only way it can actually hurt you is by intimidating you from doing what you need to do.
That hesitation, that fear, that flinch. Over time, it becomes familiar.
Slowly, you realize it’s just a big monster in your closet. Big, scary and all in your imagination. You’re bigger than it. You’re better than it and you already beat it earlier in the day. It has nothing on you. Cold shower therapy makes you invincible.
You realize that if you jump in, sometimes the first 60 seconds of your project/goal/milestone will absolutely suck – and usually it really will – but after that, you move on, dominate it, grow stronger and move on to the next thing.
And absolutely nothing can stop you. You’re invincible.
How To Use Cold Shower Therapy
What is this form of modern torture good for? We have hot water for a reason! I use it to get stuff done. I pick one thing that I’m going to do for 30 days and do it. I’ve done this 2 or 3 times now and always end up better for it. This is how I frame it:
- Choose one project. One goal. One impossible thing.
- Find a date to start. Take your first cold shower. (The times you wuss out and back out don’t count). – start counting the first time you get to 5 minutes).
- Start counting the showers, once you get to 5 minutes.
- Take one 5 minute cold shower, every morning for 30 days.
- Throw a 10 minute shower in there just for fun.
- Finish your project. Do something impossible. Change your life.
Cold Shower Therapy Challenge
I’m tired of writing, so let’s do this.
Cold showers. Every day for the month of April. Pick 1 Impossible Thing. Do it and Finish it.
I’m doing it. Are you?
Deal with your fear this weekend. It’s time to put up or shut up. Do something impossible or go home. Give cold shower therapy a try.
(Let me know what you’re planning on doing in the comments)
What Does Cold Shower Therapy Actually Do?