This Challenge is exactly what you think it is: you take a cold shower every single day for 30 days. Nice & simple right? :)
Intrigued, I started reading the accounts of people taking the challenge, and soon realized that they were overwhelmingly positive. The courageous challengers reported increased energy, mental clarity, alertness, motivation, and much more… I thought about it, and it made a lot of sense. Jumping in a cold lake/ocean had always been something I found incredibly invigorating.
But then my next thought was “Yeah… that Cold Shower Challenge sounds cool, but it’s a bit too hardcore for me. I hate cold showers!!! ”
Right there & then, I caught myself. That wasn’t who I was trying to become. So instead, I asked myself “what would the best version of myself do?” The answer was crystal clear. I had to take that challenge and CRUSH IT!!!
So the next morning, Day 1… I finished my morning yoga, then it was time for action. I walked into the bathroom, and turned the water knob to 25% hot/75% cold, and stood in front of the shower for a good 2 minutes, absolutely petrified to go in. I could feel the cold mist grazing my skin, and the little voice in my head kept saying “Dude, this is gonna SUCK!” Uuuh. Well, I wasn’t about to back down, so there was only one thing left to do. I told the little voice to shut up, gathered all my courage, and stepped in.
Holy shit. The little voice was right! It was shockingly cold and it sucked: I was gasping for air, then I started screaming, and then I pretty much just freaked out. I couldn’t handle it. I was out less than a minute, thinking “how the hell am I going to do this 29 more times???”
24 hours later, I was back for Day 2. Standing in front of the shower, I was even more petrified than the day before. This time I knew exactly how cold it was going to be. After much back in forth between my “strong self” and my “wuss self”, I got in. Aaaaaaaaah. So. Damn. Cold!!!! I lasted 2 minutes, and got out. I was shivering all over, but feeling ALIVE, and quite proud of myself for stepping up again.
The days passed, and it didn’t get much easier. I kept reading about the amazing health benefits of Cold Showers to stay motivated. From reading other people’s experiences, I knew that after 7-10 days it was supposed to get easier. Some people even said it was going to get fun! I was skeptical (“how can this be FUN?”), but I just had to believe,
Day 10 came. I stepped in, the cold water blasted my skin, blood rushed through body, and I felt this incredible jolt of controlled energy. Don’t get me wrong, it was still super cold, but something different happened this time. By focusing on my breathing, I was able to keep my mind relaxed. I was able to separate myself from the “coldness”, and just see it for what it is. Some cold water on my skin. Chill out brother. It’s no big deal. I came out of the shower, and let out an amazing primal scream to celebrate. At that point, I just knew there was no stopping me. That Challenge didn’t have a chance.
Fast-forward to Day 30. I casually strolled into the bathroom, daydreaming about the cool things I was going to do later. I turned on the knob at 0% hot/100% cold. Without hesitation, I stepped in, and let the freezing water surround my body. I felt the familiar surge of energy, but there was no screaming, no freaking out. Just a big smile across my face. I checked in with my breath: relaxed and controlled. I checked my heart rate: 50 beats/minute. Perfect.
In 30 days, I had gone from nothing, to Cold Shower Master. Amazing.
On Day 31, it was time for “The Test”. To finish this challenge in style, I decided to go for a 2km swim at Cottesloe Beach (without a wetsuit, obvs!)
To give you an idea, all through my swimming career, I preferred water around 25C/82F, and I had a hard time whenever it was under 23C/78F. That day, the water at Cott was a cool 18C/64F. It didn’t matter. I knew I was 100% ready for this. I got pumped up, and sprinted into the water.
Immediately, I had that horrible gasping feeling of “ohmygod-I-can’t-breathe”. Yeah, that feeling… Except this time, I knew exactly what to do. I focused on my breath and calmed myself down, thinking “Relax.. relax.. yeah that’s it.. relax, it’s all good… alllll good. ” And just like that, the cold feeling disappeared. I was in perfect control of my mind, and therefore of the situation. It turned out to be one of the best swims I’ve ever had.
As a bonus, when I came out I overheard this conversation between a big muscle guy and his girlfriend:
Muscle Guy: “Damn, this sucks, I wish I could go in the water.”
Girlfriend: “Why don’t you go?”
Muscle Guy: “Baby, are you serious? It’s fucking cold!”
Girlfriend *points at me*: “Well, that guy just came out and he looks fine”.
Muscle Guy *looks at me with a mix of curiosity and awe*.: “Yeah, but… he’s crazy!”
Hahah, nope muscle guy, I’m just a little tougher/smarter than you. :)
Funny stuff aside, I learned a very powerful life secret while taking this challenge.
By constantly challenging ourselves with simple things like taking cold showers, we can develop a “mind like water”. Powerful, yet adaptable to any situation/obstacle.
Building our mind is like building a muscle: the more we work it out, the stronger it gets. Once our mind gets strong enough, we can take on any challenge, or handle anything life throws at us, without getting flustered. We keep our emotions under control, and we choose the most empowering course of action. Then we do whatever needs to be done, and crush it. Boom.
This, my friends, is an incredible tool to help us create the life we dream of.
All right, if you’ve made it this far through the article, you’re probably thinking this all sounds pretty cool. But chances are, you’re also thinking… “Aaahhh, this Phil guy, he’s a bit crazy. I’m not as hardcore as him. This Challenge isn’t for me. Blablabla.”
Hey, I’m just another guy, and if I can do it, so can you. What would the best version of yourself do?
All right… This is it, time for you to step up: I’m officially challenging you to take on the 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge. Are YOU up for it? :)
Here’s my promise: if you take this challenge, in a short 30 days, you’ll be transformed. You’ll have realized that you’re the type of person that can take on challenging tasks and make it through unscattered. You’ll have gained greater mastery over yourself, and you’ll be more comfortable doing scary things .And above all, you’ll have more energy & you’ll feel DAMN GOOD about yourself.
I can’t think of any other activity that is this simple (+free), and will bring such great benefits to your life.
To give you a little extra motivation, if you commit to the challenge right now, in the comment section below, I will send you a free advanced copy of my new eBook “21 Tricks To Feel Good Now” as a “good job for stepping up” gift.
Let’s see who’s game! Cheers!
*You can also watch the follow-up video of this post and see how I passed the “Final Test”.
PS: If you love the idea of doing a 30 Days Challenge but cold showers really aren’t our thing, check out this great list of 30 ideas for the 30-Day Challenge for inspiration.