For the past two years, I’ve been getting started every morning with a cold shower. For the first few months, I really hated it, and dreaded it.
Now that I’ve accustomed myself to the shock, it’s not so bad. It builds my self-control. It’s become part of my morning routine and I know I’ll feel better afterwards. “It doesn’t matter how I feel right now,” I tell myself, “I just have to get through a few seconds of pain.”
My cold shower rarely lasts much longer than a minute and only the first half is particularly painful, but by doing it, I get used to saying no to my natural inclinations and to discipline myself to do what is right. Even if I hate getting up early, taking that cold shower, and then walking to shul at 6 am, I do it because it’s good for me.
Self-control is a muscle. When you develop it in one aspect of your life, you will find it easier to exercise in other areas.