I’ve gotten into the habit of taking cold showers. You feel instantly alert, and whenever I take regular cold showers, I lose fat. They’re really not bad once you’re in them.
So it must be easy for me to do, right? I’ve been doing this for a while now.
No! Getting into a cold shower is miserable. I hate it.
Let me clarify. I don’t mind cold showers, once I”m in them. But I can’t convince myself this is true, before I get in. Even though I’ve done it hundreds of times. My brain would rather I step into a scalding shower.
A lot of things in life are like this. It’s easy once we do it, but we don’t want to get started. We build up a big challenge, and talk ourselves out of it. We flinch.
I’ve found a good way to avoid this. I list the steps. Here are my steps for taking a cold shower. I say them out loud:
Step one: Open Shower Door
Step two: Turn on cold water
Step three: Step into cold water
Step four: Ask myself “Is this the thing that I feared?”
That last step is from Seneca. One of the richest men in Rome, he would practice poverty once a month to remind himself that losing all his possessions wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He dressed in ragged clothing and ate cheap food. And he would ask himself if this is what he was afraid of?
Because once actually under the cold water, the question is silly. It’s not bad. I enjoy it. The thing that I feared was not to be feared at all.
This works for all sorts of things. If I have a big project, I write down the steps, then I start doing them. Often, the project wasn’t that big at all.