About a year ago I started taking cold showers every morning. I’m not sure if I even consider the first shower I took a “cold” one – it was more like lukewarm. But what I do know is it sucked. A lot. And although I had read all about the health benefits of cold showers online and in TED Talks I still had a hard time convincing myself it was actually worth it.
But I made a choice in my head. I decided to take cold showers every morning for a week straight. No matter how I felt, whether or not I had time, it didn’t matter. I took them. At the end of the week I was proud of my small accomplishment. But the cold showers….still sucked. BUT they sucked a little bit less than when I first started. So I stuck with it and over the course of the next few weeks I successfully integrated it into my morning routine. Fast forward one year later to today and I’m still taking cold showers every morning and I can’t imagine starting my day any other way.
So what do cold showers have to do with financial freedom? Well, the cold showers are really just a metaphor for any difficult task that you want to turn into a habit. Do you want to start contributing 10% of each paycheck to your 401(k) instead of 6%? Try contributing 10% for the next 4 paychecks and see if you can adjust to the lower income. Do you want to read 10 finance books this year? Instead of scrolling through social media on your lunch break at work, try reading 20 pages of a finance book every day for one week straight.
What you’ll find is that if you can do a difficult, slightly uncomfortable task for a short period of time you can do that task indefinitely. Why? Because humans are creatures of habit. And habits are hard to break. So the trick is to do a difficult activity like taking a cold shower, or increasing your savings rate, or reading a little bit every day for a week or two and you’ll find that it’s unbelievably simple to continue doing this activity as time goes on.
Cold showers taught me that any action can be turned into a habit if you do it repetitively. So try forming some habits that will greatly benefit your financial health. It will be uncomfortable at first, but stick with it for a week or two. Start reading personal finance books or blogs a little bit each day. Start saving a little bit more than you’re used to. Try to earn a little extra income each month through side hustles on the weekend. Just try doing something uncomfortable for a short period of time. Then watch as these uncomfortable tasks become incredibly simple over time and form into habits. It’s these little financially beneficial habits that will propel you to financial freedom.