“Boom! Every cell in my body wakes up. It’s like training your nervous system to rock. I don’t give a shit how you feel, you have to perform… That simple discipline that reminds me the level of strength and intensity that is available at any moment, at will.”
-Tony Robbins in the Tim Ferriss podcast
Today is my 100th day in a row taking a cold shower. Most of my friends think I’m nuts, which is fine because I think that Tony Robbins is nuts, and he is the reason I started taking cold showers in the first place. If you’ve ever watched or listened to Tony Robbins you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you need to. The quote above is Tony talking to Tim Ferriss about his morning routine, cold showers and hydrotherapy.
My first cold shower was just a fun experiment. I wasn’t too serious about it, but was curious to see what Tony was talking about. I jumped in, and it was exactly what I was expecting: freezing cold and miserable. After about 5 minutes, I got out, and felt great. I felt awake, I felt energized, and I felt proud of myself for getting through the pain and misery of my first cold shower. I decided right then and there that I liked it, and I wanted more.
After a few more cold showers, it started to get tougher. The newness and excitement was gone. It became a mental challenge. I would lay in my warm and cozy bed a bit longer in the morning, knowing that as soon as I got up I’d be subjecting myself to the agony of ice cold water. I would stare at the shower nozzle for a few seconds longer each morning wondering if I should just end all this and go back to nice warm showers. After turning the cold water on, I would pause, and just think “why am I doing this?” But every morning I would get in and get it done. And every time, I would get out of the shower feeling great. I could literally feel myself building mental toughness.
I started to research the health benefits of cold showers. There are a number of benefits of cold water to the body: increased alertness and energy, better looking skin, improved circulation and immunity, fat burn, muscle recovery, and reduced stress. This definitely provided reinforcement that the discomfort was worth it.
But as I got longer and longer into my streak, the discomfort became worth it because of the discomfort itself. The ability to purposefully accept the discomfort, and stick to it each and everyday, has become why I enjoy cold showers the most. It’s about the ability to silence the mind right before getting into the shower. It’s about starting my day feeling like I am in control. I get out of the shower every morning feeling if I can do this I can do anything. I am conditioning myself to be able to step outside my comfort zone. It’s a freezing cold daily reminder to step out of my comfort zone.