Welcome to mid-January. The time of year when most people have already given up on their 2016 goals 🙂
If you’re reading this, don’t be one of those people!
This is the time to dig in.
When things get begin to get hard, that’s when the work is just starting.
When most people slouch off, that’s where there’s opportunity.
When the cold gets uncomfortable, that’s when it’s time to lean into it even more.
Here’s why you should take cold showers in January (and if you haven’t done it yet, you should start).
January is Cold. This is Hard Mode.
Table of Contents
Most people use the fact that January is cold as an excuse not to take a cold shower.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me:
“Maybe I’ll start cold showers in the summer. I live in the northeast and it’s cold up here.”
They say this as if I wasn’t aware that January is winter in the northern hemisphere and they’re enlightening me about a fact that I wasn’t previously aware of (they do that with most excuses). Meanwhile, I typically nod silently pretending like I learned a new skill, but internally I’m judging them (joking…but seriously).
This is not an excuse. This is hard mode.
I started cold showers in Chicago in February. This year, I started the streak for 5 days in the frozen water of New York.
Winter is not the worst time to take a cold shower. It’s the best time.
It’s going to be the hardest time of the entire year – so why not dive in head first? It’s only a shower after all. If you’re not willing to be uncomfortable in the shower for 5 minutes, how are you going to achieve anything else this year?
If you live in a cold climate and are taking cold showers, you get an extra challenge.
If you live in a warmer climate, this is the coldest your water will be all year – take advantage of it.
Winter isn’t an excuse. It’s an opportunity. Use it.
No More Resolutions
This year, I didn’t make any new resolutions.
Instead, I made a commitment to get back to cold showers and build better habits.
That was literally my first thought when I woke up on Jan 1 – “This year is about building habits.”
All those habits start with cold showers.
Every morning, I have a chance to turn the shower knob to the left and warm up (easy) or take the harder route and choose cold.
Choosing cold first thing in the morning helps me continue to choose it throughout the day.
Get Out of Your Own Stupid Head
I admit, the first showers of the year were really hard. It had been a while since I had taken them and I spent most of the time shivering and trying to make it through the 5 minutes.
That said, I’ve started to embrace it. I’m enjoying the cold and I relish the time in the shower.
I put music on. I dance. I talk to the wall. I scream at the water. It’s a good time.
Yes, I might be entirely crazy…
But I spend so much time working on the computer and living in my head that sometimes the thoughts in my head start to feel too real (you might know what I mean).
The cold shower is a place where you can remind yourself that your thoughts are just thoughts and that your head is stupid.
It’s trying to keep you safe, warm, happy and safe. But it does not want you to grow.
If you have a problem you’re stuck on or have a mental block you’re dealing with, jump in the shower.
The difference in clarity that you’ll have before and after the cold shower is huge game changer.
If you haven’t done it, try it. If you haven’t done it in a while, do it again – it helps.
Intensity ≠ Pain
A lot of people talk about how cold showers are painful.
Cold showers are not painful.
They are cold, but they are not painful.
They are challenging, but they are not painful.
They are intense, but they are not painful.
Trying new things and pushing into new territories is often a strange, challenging and intense experience, but they are very seldom painful.
Cold showers will help remind you that just because something is cold, difficult or intense, does not mean it is painful.
As you push yourself throughout the year, this reminder alone will pay dividends upon dividends.
We Have a New App
Best reason of all. We have a new app. I’ve written about this before, but it’s better than ever and makes this easier to do.
Want to know why you’re living your life in your head so much these days? Look at the calendar and ask yourself when the last time you took a cold shower was. You’ll probably see a correlation.
If you need some competition, we have a stat tracker and a leaderboard. And, if you’re above me on the list, you’re officially on notice: I’m coming for ya (Android people: hang tight, we’ve got you coming up soon).
=> Get The Cold Shower Therapy App Here
I’d love your comments down below. Warning to the inevitable commenting haters: if you still think CST is about taking a shower, you’re missing the whole point.
I’ve tried this a few times and always failed miserbaly. Maybe a bit of competition will spur me on!
The way I started was by taking a regular hot shower first. Once I was done, I would turn the knob full blast on cold and count for 30 seconds. Then I would turn it back to hot for 30 seconds. And once again, turn it to cold for 30 seconds, then get out.
It’s crucial to END on cold. You’ll feel refreshed and energized, and get SOME of the benefits of cold showers.
I did this for probably two weeks, and then I just committed one day to take a full hot shower. I think it was after a long run on a hot day, so it felt great. And everyday after that, I re-committed to taking a hot shower.
Do it one day at a time, and start small with 30 second cold, hot, cold at the end of your regular shower. It’s worth it.
Sorry, I recommitted to taking a COLD SHOWER. lol
Lol. Yeah the point of your post was starting to sound like:
“After taking 30 seconds of a cold shower, I was totally committed to taking hot showers, and henceforth took them many times a day, much more than necessary, for the rest of my days…..Aaahhhh….” (pees in pants)
Get on it, you can do it!
Life is too short to not challenge yourself. Go for it! It’s only 5 minutes!
Dean Dibling says
Joel, I loved you r header, “Get Out of your Own Stupid Head,” but it felt like a tease. I need a post on that subject…getting out of my head, getting over self-doubt, excuse making, and the other mental BS that stops me from doing what I know is good for me. I feel like you touch on that subject a lot, but only briefly. It would be great to see a big post on that.
No test, no testimony! Go for it!
This is a great idea unless you have psoriasis or eczema, because if you do, your skin will worsen considerably if you put cold (or hot, for that matter) water on it.
Do you happen to have a similar idea for people who litterally can not do the cold shower therapy?
Joel Runyon says
There are a lot of cases where cold water exposure actually helps those with eczema. I would try it.
I have very dry skin requiring industrial strength moisturizer every day. My skin feels great after a cold shower but dries out very quickly after a hot shower.
Eddie K. (Currently Ranked #4 in CST) says
I have the a similar problem, which results in skin cracks. I just put on hand creme all day.
Roger N says
I’m in. Looking forward to the Android app so I don’t just x my calendar. I agree with Dean and want a post on getting out of your own stupid head.
I love your posts and it was perfect for me as I live in the Northwest and it’s in the 20s-low 30s so the water is REALLLLY cold. I’ve been starting in a warm shower and lowering the temp over about a minute, but not all the waying to FREEZING. I was absolutely thinking, “if I was still living in L.A. this wouldn’t be so hard”. OK, I need to be over that thought!
Yes, it’s mind over matter and focus on your breathing!
Definitely HARD mode…the weather in KY dipped to a balmy 11 F and only by the grace of God, I still went for a cold shower for 5 minutes. Slapped on warm clothes afterwards though! LOL!
Rich Proctor says
I’m doing 366 of them this year. 11 already banked, 355 to go.
Today was day 400 consecutive cold showers. I started for the psychological benefits which have transformed me immeasurably. But, I continue for the physical benefits. When you read that cold showers improve your circulation, cardio-vascular system and immune system, believe it. For me, staying healthy requires good nutrition, exercise and cold showers. Thanks Joel.
Last summer I completed a one month streak… Now it’s time for hard mode!
Well you had to know I was gonna leave a comment. 🙂 As you know, Joel, I’ve been taking Cold Showers since you published your very first Cold Shower therapy post back in 2012…I believe. I have never missed a single day. I’ve taken cold showers in the worst cold of Ireland, and when people told me “Hey it’ll be easier when you’re in Hawaii..” it’s not easier. It’s still cold water coming out of the taps. Living in Canada, the water is cold. But mostly that’s cause cold water comes from the cold water pipes. So it’s always cold. And I’ll be honest, it hasn’t gotten any easier. I stopped counting after 1000 days, but I think we can all do the math. April 1st, 2012 was my very first cold shower, and they have become a part of my every day. Cold showers have taught me discipline in a way I never would’ve thought. I can’t start my day without them. My hair is shinier, my skin is healthier. Post work out cold showers are the best because I’ve noticed that I am not as sore. While I have slacked off on the work outs the past year…I have NEVER slacked off when it comes to my cold showers. Why? Because I can. And because it makes ME believe I can be a bada**. And because I said I would.
Patiently awaiting the Android app.
Great article. I live in the tropics so it doesn’t get very cold here. Not less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. But since I don’t have a water heater and I take a bath at 6 am in the morning, I have no option but to take cold showers every morning and then afternoon at my workplace. I don’t what other things it dies, but it jolts me awake in the morning and I stay fresh all day.
And I don’t have iphone, but Android, when will in get access to your app?
Thanks Joel, CST reminds me that life is truly lived at the edges, the borders. This life, this culture smooths the edges, blends them, blurs them so we lose our sense of where those edges are and settle for the great middle comparing ourselves to the next lowest things around us so we can muddle through and label ourselves successful. You are so right, this isn’t hard. Cancer, losing a parent or a child is hard but it is enormously beneficial to renew a sense of wonder at what we are capable of, to glimpse a new beginning at the edge of the everyday. Simple, straightforward, poetic, honest, and damn, coffee never tasted better.
Eddie K. (Currently Ranked #4 in CST) says
Every day the mental toughness that I gain from taking cold showers transfers over to my business and personal life. The pattern that I have found is that it’s the tough, uncomfortable things that propel you ahead in whatever pursuit you have in front of you.
Paradigms like Getting Things Done, lead people astray because tasks (for me at least) that are easily done in two minutes, usually wind up taking two hours. But the real gains come from picking up the phone to make that phone call that you’ve been avoiding etc.
99% of the time, if I ask myself what is the most difficult and stressful thing for me to do right now in the course of my work? Usually it turns out to be the most important thing that offers the biggest gains.
That is how life is whether you like it or not. This is the lesson that I’ve learned from taking cold showers.
Joel Runyon says
I’m coming for ya….
Eddie K says
Hey, Joel if you have a way to fix the glitch I mentioned via email (including screenshots) that would super. I’ve got 36 days missing my streak. Thanks!
Eddie K says
Correction: 31 missing days 🙂
I’ve been doing cold showers since the start of November 2015. I’m a little confused about the descriptions of shivering during the entire shower. My experience is that after the initial shock, the second half of the shower is merely unpleasant, not something causing one’s teeth to chatter. I have the water turned down as low as it will go without starting to shut it off so I can’t make it colder. Am I missing something?
Joel Runyon says
I’ve found most showers are exactly how you described them. That said, I’ve done cold showers in Canada, Switzerland and Chicago in the winter that are absolutely bone-chilling. You’re fine as soon as you step out of the shower, but those are definitely a test.
Why is the second day of any new challenge harder than the first? Day 2.CST..on the books.
Starting the No Excuse Workout tomorrow morning, just downloaded it.
Joel Runyon says
Day 13 for me was harder than day 1. IT DOESN’T GET EASIER!
With the exception of maybe 10 times I’ve been taking cold showers for three years now. Loving it and hating it (every single time) haha. In my experience you never really get used to it but you can definitely create a new habit and stop having to force yourself every time. It gets normal such as brushing your teeth.
Tim Connolly says
I’d like to hear other’s observation on this…around what day did you realize that you no longer spent the whole shower thinking about how cold it was? Your mind actually wandered to other thoughts about your upcoming day our stuff you had to do. It was around day 25 for me. What you think that signifies if anything? I have a few ideas.
I took my very first cold shower today, can’t believe I lasted the whole five minutes to be honest. After about the 3 min mark though, the water felt warm on my body (I did check the water coming out of the shower and it was still cold) but it was like my mind was playing tricks on me – anyone else had this?
Totally feel better for having done it but a bit bummed to read the comments above that it doesn’t get any easier 🙂