Cold exposure - intention - ice bath

365 Days at 36.5 Degrees and Intention: What Is Yours?

What is the intention of 365 at 36.5? The beauty of this question is that the answer will be different for everyone. However, I strongly encourage you to find an answer, or your intention, before you start. Make it about more than just getting in.

What can this look like? Perhaps you are going to start by challenging yourself for five straight days of cold showers. This is a good beginning, especially if you are new to cold exposure. If you are a newcomer, your intention may be to simply get in every day…period. There is nothing wrong with this intention, per se. But let’s look at it a little closer and see if we can do better.

We want any challenge we undertake to have a positive impact on our lives past the challenge itself. Ask yourself how the challenge can positively impact the day, or the five days, you have committed to. If we just get into and out of the cold shower to check a box for five days, we run the risk of establishing an intention without even realizing it. We run the risk of getting into the habit of simply doing things to check a box. This is how we form the meaningless cycles of behavior. That would be a waste of good effort to get into a cold shower for five straight days!

Examples of Intention

What are some examples of intention to get you started and ensure you make the most of your challenge? First and foremost, reflect on your behaviors and identify something you would like to either change or improve upon. Perhaps you are finding that you are always somewhere else in your mind, never in the moment of what you are doing or who you are talking to. If this is the case, set your intention for your cold exposure to focus on everything you are doing in the moment. Then, when you lose your focus during cold exposure or during the day, you will be aware of it and can bring your focus back to where you want it. Would this intention have a positive impact on your life? You bet it will!

Perhaps you find that you are allowing every little thing to spin you up unnecessarily. You find you have a habit of making more of little things than necessary, exponentially increasing your stress level. If this is the case, you can set your intention to remain calm before, during, and after your morning cold exposure. If your intention is to remain calm in the cold and to not make more of it than it is, and you were able to replicate this behavior, or intention, throughout the day, would that have a positive impact on your life? You bet it will!

Choose One

Your intention can change every day depending on your circumstances, or you can focus on one for the entire challenge. There are no right answers for which intention you choose. The only right answer is to choose one intention so you can positively impact every aspect of your life instead of checking a to-do box.

You may find setting an intention is much harder than you anticipated. Good, because if it is hard it means you have identified something you need to work on. Now have patience with yourself because you are working at something hard that will ultimately make your life easier. More to follow!

I’ll be posting about this regularly on my Instagram (follow the hashtag #Leader193cold) and I hope to update you weekly here on the blog. You can learn more about how I use cold exposure as a leadership tool in my book The Process, Art, and Science of Leadership. You can also read more about the benefits of cold exposure on leadership here.

Errol Doebler is the founder of Leader 193, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Leader 193 to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Errol provides executive coachingkeynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.

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