OVer the past two months I have tried to make two significant changes to the way I live

  1. Take cold showers.
  2. Eat more raw food.

While I succeeded in one, I have failed in the other, and I have a fairly good idea of what caused the fail. I succeeded in switching to cold showers and I am not going back. Cold showers are no longer cold to me. Hence, they do not feel like the deprivation or hardship that hot shower people seem to think they are. The only hardship is in the transition. Without considering the transition, cold showers are overall more beneficial than warm showers and so since the cold does not bother me anymore, I’m not going back. Now, I have actually tried switching to cold several times before and failed, so why did I succeed this time. I think the answer is that I went all out. In all other instances I have tried switching by gradually turning the temperature down or by having a cold every other day or switching between cold and warm in the same shower. In retrospect this explains why I never developed any tolerance and hence those cold showers were always torture.

I have failed to switch to a raw diet for exactly the same reason: By adding a smoothie or a big salad now and again or by making a raw food day, but never consistently giving up cooked food over the few weeks it would take to cross over.

What must happen for a change to take place is that you must change as a person to change your habits. You can not merely keep your habits and values and just do something new. Well, you can, but it will be a miserable experience. However, if you change, the change can be significant. We personal finance geeks will be well aware of the idea of retail therapy and how buying makes you feel good. In that sense, I changed many years ago to a point where having to buy something felt positively bad and the mall experience was a quite ridiculous exercise.

One obstacle to change is your environment. In terms of the cold showers, what helped was that I was home alone for a week and thus had the freedom not to turn the water heater on. (We only turn the heater on, when we actually need warm water). This meant that I couldn’t just turn on the hot faucet. In terms of the food, what is detrimental to the effort is that it is very easy to just eat some of DW’s cooking and that it at my current state still tastes good. Having once been a vegetarian I know that it takes a few months before eating meat is no longer appealing and I imagine the same goes for cooked food.