30 Days of Cold Water Exposure | My Experience
Cultivating discipline through embracing discomfort in your daily habits is an amazing way of taking yourself to the next level through small daily steps.
Motivation and discipline are words that get thrown around a lot these days. I’m sure for a large majority of you reading this, they’re synonymous in your mind with each other.
Oxford defines them as the following;
The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour..
a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.
The biggest distinction between the two is that discipline shows up daily. The rules/code of behaviour doesn’t really care how you feel on that day. You know what you need to do, you know how to do it and you likely also know the potential excuses you’ll tell yourself to try to get out of the task.
Motivation is fleeting, coming and going like the wind. Some days you may have it and feel like you’ve got the wind behind you and you could fly. Other days you might feel like you’re running through quicksand and nothing is going your way.
Where does the cold water come in?
Over the past 30 days, I’ve exposed myself to daily cold water exposures (CWE). These CWEs have taken a few different forms, namely standard cold showers, ice baths and cold/ice water head submersions.
Whilst the physical benefits of CWE have mixed efficacy (subject to what literature you’re reading and what you’re looking for), the consistent mental challenge that a “cold enough to shock the system” shower provides you with at the end of the day is undeniable.
Getting to the end of a long workday with the inevitable self-talk along the lines of “You don’t really need to do this today, you’ve already trained hard” or “it’s too cold and you’re already tired” is where discipline comes in.
Holding yourself to the same standard you set going into the test/challenge, regardless of your current emotional state, is the exact practice we’re looking for.
Through cultivating this day in, day out mentality, you will likely see that many obstacles you believed to be thoroughly uncomfortable in your routine life are hardly as bad as you thought.
Having discomfort in your daily life allows you to keep everything in perspective.
Whilst these CWE could be looked at as a minor form of discomfort (I'm sure for some you’re already doing these without deliberate intention), they’re an awesome way to dip your toes in the metaphorical water of consistent, unwaveringly consistent action.
Across the 30 days of my experience, they’ve been a great tool to keep my day in the appropriate context. Things that you think suck before doing something that ACTUALLY sucks, are often misjudged.
Starting the day with a CWE?
Start the day with a bang. Getting something difficult out of the way early is a great momentum boost. Always aim upwards, no matter how small, as Jordan Peterson says.
Finishing the day with a CWE?
Feel amazing going to bed while capping off a solid day's work knowing I’ve performed what I need to do to improve and become better.
The restraints you impose on yourself through discipline are hardly restraints at all.
Being uncomfortable on a regular basis allows you to break free of your mind’s self-talk and explore freedom with greater scope.