Updated: Jun 8
How my journey to better habits started...
Back when I was in my first year of college, I was experiencing a big lack of meaning in my life. It was also during the long, cold, and lonely winter months in Canada.
I was unhappy with my current situation in life, and I didn't have any sense of purpose or direction.
I wasn't happy going to school because it felt unimportant to me. I was away from my country, my family, and my best friends.
I felt that I wanted to pursue other things that I thought were more important to me. I really wanted to start my own business, but I didn't know where to start.
I was lost, depressed, and had nothing else to do. I just wanted to go back to Mexico, but I knew I couldn't do that.
I knew that staying in Canada was the best decision for my future. It has always been a hard pill to swallow, but when I really thought about it, without any resentment or bitterness, I always knew I wanted to stay.
I decided that there was no way out of my situation but to try and improve it.
Going to the gym seemed like a good idea. I always admired people that transform their bodies so drastically. I thought it would be very cool to go back to Mexico during the vacation months and impress my family with how much I have changed.
That idea was somewhat motivating to me, but it wasn't enough, so it didn't last.
I wanted to try something completely different. So I thought that showering with cold water would be a good experiment. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, I did it.
This little experiment got me out of my depression.
I guess when you are freezing, you really can't think of ANYTHING. It is a pure survival instinct at that point.
Even if I was sad all day, for that brief moment, I was just cold.
I used to shower as fast as I could to get out. And after, I used to always feel better, every single time.
In the beginning, it was hard, but as I stayed longer, I got somewhat used to the cold. Sometimes, I even enjoyed it because of how crazy it was.
A yearly calendar, a sharpy, and some colour highlighters...
I had a wall calendar in my room that I used to always cross off each day. One night as I was crossing off the day, I noticed that it formed four triangles.
As days passed by, I was motivated to keep colouring in each day. Eventually, I felt like I didn't want to get in a cold shower anymore.
I was no longer motivated to keep going. But when I looked at my calendar and asked myself if I honestly didn't want to keep going, I realized that after all, showering in cold water proved to be helpful and made me feel better. I was also two days away from one week straight. So, I decided to keep going.
I finished one entire week showering only with cold water, and it felt truly amazing!
I just experienced more meaning in that one week than I had felt in that entire winter. My only focus during those long winter months was to keep doing little experiments like that.
I started adding more experiments and habits that I wanted to try, such as reading, exercising, and meditation.
Eventually, I had all four triangles in the calendar full of colour, and it became a fun game to play, especially during those long winter months.
My advice to you...
Step 1: Buy yourself a yearly wall calendar, a sharpy, and some colour highlighters. Set up your calendar where you can see it every day.
Step 2: Cross off the day with a sharpy and form an X. You will notice the four triangles it creates.
Step 3: Define the experiments or habits you want to try, and start putting some colour in your days.
The longer you can keep the streaks, the better you become at creating better habits. The great thing about this process is that no matter how many times you try, you always have the following day, week, month, or year to try it again.
Some experiments and habits ideas.
Read for 5 pages a day.
Meditate 5 minutes a day.
Journal 1 thought you had throughout the day.
Quit drinking soda for at least 3 days per week.
Walk for 10 minutes.
Exercise for 25 minutes.
End your showers with cold water for 15-30 seconds.
Read for 10 pages.
Meditate for 10 minutes.
Journal for 10 minutes straight.
Quit drinking soda for 1 week and drink water instead.
Walk for 15 minutes.
Exercise for 45 minutes.
End your showers with cold water for 1 minute or more.
Read 1 Chapter per day.
Meditate for 15 minutes.
Journal about your thoughts and worries for at least 20 minutes.
Drink 2 Liters of water a day.
My Asadvice To
Exercise for 1 hour.
Shower only with cold water, 3 times per week.
My different attempts at this process.
If you have a question please leave me a comment below and let me know how I can help. If you have other advice please share them below so everyone reading this can learn from it. I am grateful for your readership and feedback.