Today was Cold Shower, Day 52, and the water temp is down to an even 48F/9C.
At a neighborhood party last Friday, a few neighbors wanted an explanation of my practice, and I tried to give them one. A few were polite and made comments of semi-understanding, but one guy was blunt and said, “No offense, Trev, but that is just stupid.” We all laughed. I wasn’t offended at all. I realize that my cold shower habit is “non-standard”. That’s okay, I can live with that.
But do you know what else is “non-standard”?
Losing 87 pounds and keeping it off for 22+ months in definitely “non-standard.” Statistics (I don’t have the reference in front of me) show that only 5% of people who achieve a weight loss goal maintain their goal weight for more than 12 months. That means those people are truly “non-standard.” Losing weight and then maintaining that loss requires a different mentality. It requires a different type of focus. It needs drive, determination, and the internal motivation to defer short-term immediate pleasure for long term success.
Am I saying that you can’t lose weight and maintain if you don’t take cold showers? Hell no! (THAT would be a stupid statement!) But I am saying that continued success needs a constant and definite focus, and for everyone that will take different forms. One of the LoseIt moderators, Eve, is a marathon runner (she ran in the most recent Boston Marathon.) The ability to run 26.2 miles also requires drive, determination, the willingness to accept discomfort, and internal motivation. (She has also been maintaining a successful weight loss for 11 years.) Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Florida in 2013. Philippe Croizon swam the English Channel in 2012 as a quadruple amputee. Erik Weihenmayer climbed Mt Everest in 2001. He is blind. Those people and many more, live the “non-standard” life. All chose a task that was truly challenging and something that most people would probably not encourage anyone else to do, let alone try themselves.
I am not comparing my success to climbing Mt Everest, nor saying cold showers are the same as the English Channel. But I am saying that to achieve goals, sometimes one must be willing to accept discomfort, difficulty and the willingness to stand up and say “I am non-standard, because I will accept nothing less than success!” My cold showers, in a small way, are my daily reminder that a little discomfort is a fair price to enjoy for ongoing success.
So, find your own personal “non-standard.” Everyone can succeed. We can change that statistic to a number more than 5%. But you need to go outside the norms to achieve a goal that it not the within the norm. Embrace it. Color outside the lines—in fact, to hell with lines, draw your own picture! Use it to fuel your motivation, to keep your eyes on the goal and to never, ever quit!
What is YOUR “non-standard”? How is it helping you reach your goals? Please share your thoughts here so that others may learn from you.