“You can do almost anything if you are willing to clarify your commitments and make incremental investment over time to achieve them.” ~Michael Hyatt
You can do anything you put your mind to! Do you believe that? Well, I don’t. I don’t want to sound like a negative Nancy, but let’s just list a few things that aren’t really possible:
- If you put your mind to it, could you time travel?
- If you believe you can flap your arms and fly, are you going to be able to jump off your roof and fly (with just your arms)?
- Can you become a concert pianist if you have zero music ability?
I don’t think that makes me negative, I think that makes me a realist. What I do believe is that you can do almost anything that you set your mind to along with hard work and determination. I believe that you should challenge yourself, push yourself out of your comfort zone and don’t set the bar low. I don’t think we should blow smoke up our asses and tell ourselves, “I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to”, when I just really don’t believe that is true.
2 1/2 minutes = 150 seconds
In addition to people saying “You can do anything you put your mind to”, I have also heard people say, “You can do anything for 2½ minutes”, which I STILL don’t believe is true. However, I do believe there are things that one might not think they are capable of doing for 2 ½ minutes (including myself) that you actually can do if you put your mind to it.
Last week I was walking along Clear Creek in Golden, CO and saw a man floating in the creek with his shirt off and a stocking cap on, while ice chunks went floating by him in the crystal clear water. He was smiling, noticed I was watching him, and he said, “You should come in, it’s life changing!” I smiled and said, “Oh, not today, maybe another time.” He followed that with, “Newbies just start with 2 ½ minutes and work their way up to 10.” I smiled, nodded and continued to walk on, looking back a few times thinking to myself, “2 ½ minutes isn’t that long, right?” Let’s list some things that take around 2 ½ minutes:
- Making your bed in the morning
- Brushing your teeth (If you are doing it “correctly”)
- Hearing the winning lottery numbers announced
- Filling up a 12 ounce glass of water and then drinking it
- Listening to The Mamas & The Papas California Dreaming (ok just barely over 2 ½ minutes)
I mentioned in my blog last week that I’ve had a physical setback in my running due to an injury. As a runner I have had my share of injuries and am very familiar with the acronym R.I.C.E. (and not just because it’s my last name):
After runs I have placed the bags of peas on my knees, stuck my foot in an ice bucket and was even brave enough once to sit in an ice bath after a long run. After my “Achilles friendly workout” this past weekend, as I was placing a bag of peas on my Achilles, I thought back to what the man said in the creek, “It’s life changing!” I started thinking about why I might want to go try this “cold creek therapy”:
- My Achilles needs iced, that sounds more interesting than a bag of peas
- I want to try new things this year
- I’m indoors on my couch icing while we are having unseasonably warm weather outside and I love being outside
- It’s cheaper than cryotherapy
- Maybe it really is life changing
- It’s only 2 ½ minutes
I am very aware of the benefits of icing for injury recovery, but as I was on my couch contemplating this cold creek therapy, I started googling the health benefits to taking ice baths, in addition to the muscle recovery benefits.
Benefits of ice baths:
- Improve muscle recovery
- Reduces swelling and tissue breakdown
- Stimulates fat loss
- Speeds up metabolism
- Improve skin and hair (if you submerge all the way)
- Improve sperm count
- Improve blood circulation
- Improve immune function
- Improve sleep
- Improves digestive system
WOW! Wait a minute here! In addition to the benefits for my Achilles, basically I could go get in this creek and I’ll come out skinny with clear skin, amazing hair and an improved sperm count? Oh wait, not that last one. Ok, all kidding aside, I know one dip in the creek wasn’t going to magically make all of these things happen overnight, but I decided it was worth giving it a try for my Achilles today.
I put the peas back in the freezer, changed my clothes, hopped in my car and headed just 30 minutes from my house. Once I arrived to the creek, I stripped down into a tank top and bike shorts, slipped off my shoes, set a timer for 2 ½ minutes, took a few deep breaths and said out loud, “Let’s do this”! I stepped down into the water, feeling the prickles of the cold water move up my body as I moved further into the creek, slowly walking out where the water had pooled and I was now up to my waist.
As I was standing there, I was feeling fortunate the unseasonably warm Colorado weather had the sun beaming down on my face. I placed my hands above my head, closed my eyes, lifted my face towards the sun taking deep breaths while I felt the cold water surrounding by body. I was taking in the sensations my body was feeling and listening to the creek moving fast past me, hitting the rocks as it passed my body. The next thing I knew, the timer went off and 2 ½ minutes had passed.
I walked to the shore, stepped out and noticed I had a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t really feel my Achilles as it was a bit numb along with my toes, but I felt this rush of energy come across me that I wasn’t expecting. I felt at peace, I felt invigorated, I felt…good.
So, what happened to me? In addition to the health benefits of exposing yourself to extreme cold temperatures, what about the psychological benefits?
- Willpower baby! Willpower requires the will to resist, and the power of a resolved mind. Willpower is pretty powerful when you think about it. It’s how you get healthier by eating foods that are good for you, it’s how you get a promotion at work, it’s how you quit smoking. If you want anything in life, you need willower, right? We aren’t born with this, we have to work for it. There are hundreds of books out there on how to be more self-disciplined, how to be more motivated, be more successful. You can read as many books as you want, but YOU YOU YOU have to make that choice, it’s willpower.
- Tolerance: Have you ever heard that saying, “You need to be comfortable being uncomfortable”. When I’m running a marathon I have to break it down, after mile 1 I don’t say to myself only 25.2 to go! I have to break it into chunks as I go along and at mile 23, I say, “Just a 5k to go, you can do anything for 30 minutes”. When I was standing in the creek and felt uncomfortable at first, I just reminded myself that this too shall pass. After the initial discomfort, I wasn’t feeling the needles anymore, I was feeling the water touch my body and a tingly sensation throughout my body was more than just tolerating, I was ok with.
- Meditation: I have the worst time trying to meditate. I honestly am like Ellen Degeneres, in one of her skits when she talks about trying to mediate and she struggles with songs popping into her head. In that 2 ½ minutes I was in Clear Creek….my mind was not focusing on the Tide commercial from her skit, it was not focusing on what I needed to do when I got out, it was not focusing on the fact it tomorrow was Monday. I literally was in the moment, 100% in the moment of what I was doing, what my body was feeling, my breath, the sun touching my face, I actually was meditating.
I’m not suggesting that when you are done reading this blog that you should go jump in a cold creek or hop in a cold shower.* What I’m simply trying to state is that although I don’t believe any of us can do ANYTHING we put our minds to, you can often do a hell of a lot more than you think you can. This includes running a marathon, getting a book published, standing for 2 ½ minutes in freezing water or getting yourself out of a funk when life is throwing a ton of crap your way. I didn’t have to go in the water on Sunday and after I got in, I didn’t have to stay in. However, I was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, I knew it was going to be uncomfortable and hard, I told myself I could do it, and I did it.
I believe that failing is a part of life and when we fail, we learn and grow. I think there is a happy medium between being a dreamer and realist, so you aren’t just continuously setting yourself up to always fail and you never succeed. We might not be able to do ANYTHING that we set our minds to, but if you are challenging yourself, pushing yourself, getting outside of your comfort zone, giving it hard work and determination, you can do almost anything, even things you think you might not be able to do. Believe in yourself, you will be amazed, you can do more than you think.
Something did change inside of me Sunday in that water, I don’t know what exactly, but I’m not done exploring it. I have experienced something now more than the muscle recovery and the reduction in swelling benefits of exposing myself to extreme cold temperatures. I liked the fact that for 2 ½ minutes I actually was out of my head and at one with my body. I liked that I did something that was pretty different, I liked that I pushed myself and I liked that I got comfortable being a bit uncomfortable.
I have run marathons, I have climbed 14ers, I have traveled internationally alone, I have survived a divorce and Sunday I spent 2 ½ minutes in an ice-cold creek. I might not be able to do ANYTHING I put my mind to, but I’ll never know if I don’t try. What is something that seems “impossible” that you have heard yourself saying, “I could never do that?” Make list, pick one…why not try getting comfortable being a little uncomfortable?
Remember, You Got This!
*If you are interested in trying getting into a cold creek or even taking a VERY cold shower, I would highly suggest you speak to a medical professional first. I take medication for high blood pressure and I made sure to check it prior to before getting into the creek. If you have any type of medical condition, please talk your medical advisor first.