Most of us have something we know we should probably do, but just can’t make it into a habit. Training, eating vegetables, drinking water, getting in the daily steps, meditation, running our hands through the soft Saharan sand, whatever.
Years ago my friends were trying to convince me of the benefits of cold exposure. Specifically, cold showers and ice baths. The upsides of cold exposure read like à la carte menu at an all mighty healer’s restaurant: reduces chronic pain, inflammation and eases aching muscles, and improves sleep. I’m sure there was more. Most of it came down to improving performance or some other super athletic endeavour. And I was not sold. None of that really means anything to me.
I gave cold showers a half-hearted attempt. Probably lasting all of two days. But it was too fucking uncomfortable. None of the benefits meant enough for me to lean into that uncomfortable feeling and keep going. So, I quit. And felt quite good about it. Warm, even.
Not for me.
Fast forward to early this year. Another expert talking about the benefits of cold. Yawn. But unlike most of the others, he didn’t froth over the performance enhancing aspects of it. No, instead he focused on how effective cold exposure is in reducing stress. Now I was listening. He had me convinced within three minutes.
He was explaining the benefits in a way that spoke directly to what I was struggling with, stress. And I’ve been proudly hooked on cold ever since. A big deal for someone who grew up near the Artic Circle and has been avoiding cold for the last 15 years.
So, look into the habits that you can’t do with consistency. See if you can find reasons and benefits that you might have missed before. Benefits that speak directly to something that you struggle with. Then, use that as your motivation. To keep going when the shit gets uncomfortable.
“It” might be the best thing in the world. But the best for who? For some? Sure. But if we don’t need the promised results, there is no amount of reasoning to convince us to try whatever the best thing in the world is. No matter how brilliant it might be. Sure, putting vaseline behind my ears might improve my hearing, but I don’t want to hear any better. I made that up so please don’t try it. And if you do, and it does work, I’d like to get some credit for it.
If we don’t believe the efforts are worth the results, there is nothing someone else can do to change our mind. The reasons and results have to be specific enough that they ease our most painful and persistent struggles.