How to Build Self Discipline – My #1 Exercise

– Hey, what is going on, guys? So today, I wanna talk about a topic I get asked about all the time
and that is self-discipline and specifically, what
I’m gonna do in this video is share an exercise that
I’ve done in the past and that I believe is one of the best ways to build a universally
applicable mental toughness and self-discipline that you can apply to basically any situation. So here is the exercise and it comes in the form of a challenge that I’m gonna issue you. If you’re willing for the next 30 days, take an ice cold shower every single day. Now, I know some of you flinched just at the thought of doing that but like I said, I’ve done this and in fact, I did it for 60 days and now on a regular basis,
I end my showers cold even though I do do
them warm at this point. So the question is why is
an ice cold shower challenge the best way to build self-discipline? Well, to answer that, first,
I wanna talk a little bit about what self-discipline is. At its core, self-discipline is the willingness to accept discomfort and that could be in the form
of physical pain or discomfort or it could be in the
form of the discomfort that comes from denying
yourself instant gratification in service of making progress
on longer term goals. In either case, your ability
to deal with that discomfort is a skill that must be built
through repeated exposure. It’s as Aristotle once said or rather the historian
Will Durant paraphrased, “we are what we repeatedly do. “Excellence then is not
an act, but a habit.” And if you take self-discipline which is one of the core
components of excellence and slot it in there in place
of that word excellence, the quote still holds up and the great thing about this process of building up self-discipline is that no matter how you do
it, it’s an adaptable skill much like our focus or our willpower or the muscles in our bodies. It’s able to tackle a variety
of different situations even if it was trained in a different way. So we’ve laid the foundation
of self-discipline but the question still remains. Why the heck is an ice
cold shower challenge any better than any other method for building that mental toughness? And the answer is twofold. First and most importantly, taking a cold shower is an exercise that is particularly resistant to excuses. So take something else like writing a term paper for example. Say you’ve got a term paper coming up and it’s due in a week. This is an opportunity for your brain to come up with lots of insidious, clever little rationalizations
for not doing it now. You might tell yourself, hey, I’ve got plenty of time remaining. No need to rush things now. In fact, I do work better
under a deadline anyway so I’ll be more creative if
I wait till Friday to start and I’m just gonna play
some Mario Kart now because my schedule seems to be cleared. In any case, you’re gonna
come up with a rationalization that seems to make sense instead of telling yourself the truth which is that you’re lazy and you just don’t wanna do the work. By contrast, taking a cold shower affords you no opportunity
for these clever little rationalizations because you were already
gonna take a shower every day anyway so
you’re left with nothing but a simple binary decision. Either you turn that handle to cold and embrace discomfort head on or you avoid that discomfort
and turn the handle to hot and regardless of what choice you make, you know that the reason you made it is because of your ability
and your willingness to accept or not accept
that level of discomfort. The second reason this
is such a good exercise goes back to what I was saying earlier. You were gonna take a shower anyway so you’re not taking any extra time out of your day to do this. Instead, you’re just
facing that same decision you make every single morning and you’re choosing
discomfort rather than comfort and every time you do it, you’re building that
universal mental toughness that you can use in every other situation and it really is universal. Otherwise, people in boot camp wouldn’t be forced to
scrub floors and toilets because it wouldn’t apply
to combat situations but it does and in the same way a cold shower challenge is
gonna apply to your homework or that side project you’ve been doing after you get home from
work or that gym session you’ve been trying to
convince yourself to go to because all of these things draw from that same
reserved willpower and grit and mental toughness that you build every single time you
face discomfort willingly. So that’s it. I’ve said my piece and I
realize that not everyone is going to like this challenge and hey, I get it, this is ice cold water coming down on your face
every single day for 30 days. That’s not a whole lot of fun but like I said, I’ve done
this challenge myself, in fact, for double the amount of time and I really did see results. Now, the creative people among you might realize that there are
other things you could do that you already do every day where you could just choose
the uncomfortable option rather than the comfortable option. So if you have additional ideas for self-discipline exercises, I would love to hear from you
down in the comments below. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this video and if you did, you can give it a like to support this channel. Also, if you haven’t subscribed yet, you wanna get new videos on productivity, on self-discipline, on being
a more effective learner, you can subscribe right there and on the learning
front, if you’re in school and you wanna get a book on
how to earn better grades whether you’re in high school
or college or whatever, you can get a free copy
of the book I wrote by clicking right there. You can listen to our latest
podcast episode right there and if you click right over there, you’ll find a video that I
don’t know about right now but hey, you’ll probably like it.

100 thoughts on “How to Build Self Discipline – My #1 Exercise

  1. I think I actually like cold water, so that won´t be really discomforting… Should I try it with hot water, because I hate hot showers? No I don´t think so, my whole body is going to burn

  2. Yah, I already do this. This is my morning routine: 0500 – wake up, pray, get up, make bed, put shoes on; 0530 – go to gym/track to exercise, exercise; 0630 – get home, take cold shower, hygiene, get dressed; 0700 – eat breakfast (glass of milk, 3 eggs), 0730 – read Bible, pray; 0800 – check Plan of Day; 0830 – go to work. Currently, I work from 0900, but that will soon be earlier. …………… Plan of the Day consists of everything I want to get accomplished today. I prepare that the night before. By the way, here's my evening routine. 2100 (9pm) – get home, eat dinner, get ready for bed, make Plan of Day for tomorrow, relax (read, pray, etc.); 2130 (9:30pm) – be in bed, pray, go to sleep. My most difficult part is staying disciplined throughout the day and getting to bed on-time.

  3. i did some interesting stuff few days ago
    i tried to set discipline challenge
    it goes like this
    e erytime i lose 50/50 fortnite .. i must do cardio for 1 minute ..

  4. But if it's freezing cold outside you got to warm your body back so you don't get sick I've tried that got sick and now up and do it again in the summer time now and it's much more successful

  5. i did this challenge before was a challenge lol, I only do cold shower to my head cause here its winter and get sick easily , but my hair shines a lot bc of cold water and after that i feel more concentrate !

  6. i have a dumb question what if someone doesn't shower regulary ? should you get used to that FIRST ? or just get in and do cold showers everyday?

  7. I watched this video the day it came out and did the challenge for 4 months, it helped turn my life around. I stopped at the beginning of October last year, and life was fine for a few months but then started going down… Then, as it turns out, I started taking cold showers again around the same time I started last year and man it helps!

    Doing something I don't want to do first thing in the morning is an accomplishment and it is a source of power for the rest of the day.

  8. I take cold shower from childhood and now its a habit, so taking icy cold shower is my new comfort zone
    But on the other hand I am not used to hot shower, moreover my shower knob for hot and cold is pretty much kinda broken so
    when I turn it towards the hot its gives like a hot lava water from it which is horrific
    So I need to do the opposite of what you said In order to get out of my comfort zone LOL!

  9. After watching this video I just made a list of the things which the very thought of doing them makes me experience discomfort:

    -Approaching girls that I want to meet
    -Reading one single book a week (I tend to read three or more books at the same time)
    -Writing two pages a day
    -Learning one language at a time (same thing with books)
    -Saving money
    -Making X push-ups every day
    -Learning new words in English and Spanish (the former being my mother tongue)
    -Doing my homework

    So I'm gonna start approaching one girl that I find interesting to meet, and I'll do this for 30 days. I'm gonna do this because I want to overcome fear of rejection. I know I'm gonna be rejected, but I want to start processing the discomfort that goes along with it in order to develop mental and emotional strength. So wish me luck.

  10. I can't, I truly can't. I just got better from a 2-3 week sickness (cold, fever, phlegm) since winter has started. But, I will take lukewarm showers! (I've been taking extremely hot showers due to the cold weather, even worst, long showers 😭).

  11. hey there, could you please recommend me some alternatives of cold shower? I can do it in the summer, but winter in my city(Astana, KZ) is cold AF, so it's kinda dangerous and suicidal to practise. thanks in advance)

  12. I watched this video over 3 months ago and decided to give it a shot. I genuinely didn't know whether I'd be able to do the full 30 days but I told myself that if I could do this, it would be a reminder that if I really set my mind to something I had a very good chance of achieving it. I almost saw him as a God like figure when I learned that he was able to do it for 60 days. I thought I would NEVER EVER EVER be able to do that. On day 5 I regretted my decision to attempt it but after around 10 minutes of weighing out the pros and cons I decided not to quit and got into the shower. Fast forward 3+ months later and I haven't stopped. I also have no plans of stopping. Take from this what you will.

  13. Lol. I know the video is a bit old but I have showered with cold water for the past 10 years or so. Get up to go to work at 4:30 am and cold shower. I started due to muscle pains and that alleviated them. 10 years later I am still a major procastinator without self discipline that is typing this instead of finishing work or studying (both of which I should have been doing even before I found this video in youtube), so sadly this is not a method for me.

  14. Been started exercising since last week through the 7-minute workout app and after watching this I realized that I'm just getting started on improving my self-discipline such as waking up early and take a 15 minute exercise. Honestly, I saw some reactions about your method on building self-discipline but so far I understood your point and you explained it pretty well. Although, we have different perspectives and different ways in overcoming this challenge. At least, we shared some ideas that may help people who are also dealing with the same problem.

    Anyway, great job on making this video and I'm looking forward for more about this topic. Have a great day and God Bless.

  15. Hey I too know this tips and I know some more if you want to know just simply click on the link below

  16. Cool, thanks. Discipline, it's truly important. A cold shower at 4:30 am, it's not that bad. Great for discipline and as a kind of spark plug. God bless, Matthew 16:18

  17. Dude i live in Saudi Arabia and the water is HOT 24/7 am not kidding there is no cold water and we don't use heaters to warm the water and it is 100 Fahrenheit

  18. Isn’t willpower a finite resource ? So technically doing cold showers in the morning just drains that willpower for no reason when you need it for the rest of the day . I agree with the long term benefits, but it just doesn’t apply to my current situation. Anyways great vid.

  19. …To do cold shower challenge, I need to get myself to take a shower once every day in the first place – and that's a challenge already. ._.
    edit: Oh, and the video is targeted at people who take a shower once every day already! And it isn't excuse resistant, I have a lot of other stuff on my plate, like learning C++ or doing homework stuffs, and not taking a shower saves me half an hour a day! With the only free time I have every day being like 17:00 to 21:00 (not taking homework or learning C++ into account), it helps!

  20. No, I don't take a shower every day. Having a shower every day shouldn't be considered as a normal way to act, because excessive exposure to water and/or shampoo, soap, etc. can in fact cause damage of your skin.

  21. So that's why I've been losing my self-discipline… I've become increasingly comfortable with the comfortable. Thanks!

  22. haha this is fantastic! i love the info & format, no filler nonsense.
    i came for self discipline and 1st thing suggestion is a thing i put off many times! cant stand cold showers! i shall bite the bullet and how i feel after..

  23. I tried this challenge last week and promptly fell into a motivational rut two days later. I guess that shows how little self discipline/will power I currently have. Not gonna give up on this challenge though cos if Thomas says it helps in the long run then it probably will help me too.

  24. Lol this isn’t a challenge for me. There’s no hot water at my house so I do this everyday already.

  25. Tried the cold shower today. After washing with warm water (which feels like it cleans and rinses better than with cold) I turned the shower to the coldest setting and stood there. It was uncomfortable at, but after about 15 seconds of cold water on my chest, that area got used to the sensation. I felt great after and laughed

  26. I basically tortured myself for fourteen minutes. I didn't go straight to ice cold water because I'm so used to hot showers and it felt physically impossible and unbelievably horrendous when I did, so I started out at a medium temperature and after two minutes I went a little colder and a little colder and eventually I started to shake but got kinda used to it and although I felt like crying a couple times I felt great when I got out. Call me crazy but from that single shower I felt like I could do anything! And it even comes with a bonus, if you take forever in the shower you don't have to worry about it! When it comes to this trick, because your actually being tortured you're going to want to get out of there as soon as humanly possible! 😉👍

  27. Dear Thomas Frank, as a new subscriber and a self-accepting lazy person I feel obligated to tell you that I hate your videos. You are challenging my way of living and me no like that. However, after having watched this video and read the benefits of taking cold showers, I am committed to this challenge. The lake of fire is reserved for such as you.

  28. youtube has become a series of "broken records" and many of them are replications from reddit threads not actual real life experiences . Selling thier soul for a pretty penny.

  29. I get the reasoning behind the challenge. It makes sense. But part of me wonders if this guy is just messing with us. Well, I'm going to try this anyway. Starting tomorrow. (Not an excuse. It's almost 2 am now and I've already had two showers today. Warm, wonderful showers that I will probably look back on with teary-eyed fondness.)

  30. Interesting not many videos mention the importance of cold showers, but Wim Hof the 'Iceman' has made an
    outstanding exploratory career of it.

  31. Where did you get this awsome desktop background? I love it! I‘ve read some articles on your website, but I don‘t find it….
    Where can I get this?

  32. I've been trying it for 2 days now and it's going pretty well! I did read in the comments that you shouldn't start off with hot water and then go to cold water. How I started was using cold water, but not all the way to the cold side, enough for discomfort but not enough to turn into an ice cube. Then as the shower goes on I slowly turn the water colder. Is that a good way to do it or should I be starting out on full blast of coldness?

  33. Started this challenge over a month ago. It's crazy but it actually works, I'd take it after my exercise session and those two things combined give a weird sense of mentality shift for sure. You become a little more jaded every time you take a cold shower to scarier situations that are outside the comfort zone. With this, I've decided to continue on with this method until I've obtained the life I want.

  34. Here's an insidious rationalization: I have a cold right now. So no to the cold shower thank you 🙂

  35. Well, I've got a problem. I actually enjoy cold showers. I always walk to wherever I want to go, even if it's an hour away (that's the time I need to cross my entire city). I enjoy pretty much everything that makes me feel discomfort, but I really trouble to sit down and do whatever I have to do, or even want to do: studying, reading, even watching Netflix. So, if anyone has those creative ideas he talks about at the end, I would be very happy to read them.

  36. Putting alarm on the other end of the room. This idea is old but it seems to be effective

  37. hey, thomas. my daughter see your all motivational video and she also changes her activities also she became more serious on her study….

  38. When you shirk your responsibilities by doing nothing you bring tremendous discomfort, which is like 1000 cold showers…. so there’s that

  39. I came to realize i am very undisciplined and cannot tolerate even slight discomfort i will do this challenge i believe it will change my life . all i have to do is find something to put at stake if i do not do this .

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