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success story of Ilya

From an Alcoholic to the Superman Who Swims in 4 Celsius Water

Alan Nguyen
Alan Nguyen
The first story success story is about Ilya's journey from being dependent on alcohol to get so healthy that he swims in almost freezing water...twice a day.
Table of Contents

Hello everyone, it’s your Alan. 

This week, I’ve got a shiver down my spine (no pun intended!) while conducting an interview with Ilya, a UI/UX designer from the snow-covered land of Russia. 


Hello Ilya, let’s start with your habits. Could you share what you are forming at the moment?


Sure thing. My habit list is divided into 2 parts: forming new ones and breaking bad ones.

For new habits, I try to exercise every day. Sometimes I run with my company colleagues in the park or in the forest. Besides I practice breathing exercises with Wim Hof method. I also read books. 

(wait a second)

Oh, I also swim in the cold water many times a week. I started this half a year ago but now I have changed my location so I could only do it twice a week.


Wait, what did you just say?


Yes, you heard it right. Winter days are the most fun and crazy. I often swim in the local spring.

I started at the summer, so I had time to get used to it.

And 30 minutes I’m not literally in the water, there is 10 times I go in and out

What’s fun is in winter water is warmer than the air. The water is 4 while the air is like -10. 


You’ve been doing it for nearly a year now, what’s your most memorable moment of it?


It’s about swimming in the cold water habit and also the running habit. It was December and -10 Celsius air temperature. I’ve been doing these habits everyday for 4-5 months until that moment.

So the most interesting episodes were when I went out for a run on December 31 (in Russia we have a huge New Year celebrations that day like Xmas in the US) in pitch darkness and after 3 km I discovered that the rest of the path was littered with meter drifts, but I did not stop and continue to wade through the icy wind. 

Or when the way to the spring was completely covered with slippery ice and after half an hour of swimming under 4 Celsius degree I had to put on clothes at such a speed that didn’t allow me to make the slightest mistake just to survive, and then crawled over the ice for 15 minutes to get to the car. Brrrr 😄


That’s a big no no for me… I couldn’t even stand under a not-hot shower. But really, I admire your consistency that gears through the unpleasant weather. What’s the biggest reward that you have from it?


(Without delay) Oh, my whole life has changed for the better!

One and a half a year ago I have been drinking almost every day, feeling very bad and looks terrible. As you can see from the photos I’m always accompanied by beer, wine or cigarettes. I look terrible and dreadful. Urg.

Ilya 1 and a half year ago

Now, I achieve my goals, have a daily regime and I feel amazing. And you know I have much more communications with women, my another habit is weekend’s dates. So, I believe that all these habits are great basis for the start of a successful life.

I am also trying to break the bad old habits of drinking, smoking and over-indulging in social media. There are days that I only use my company computer at work and I’m proud of that!

Ilya in September 2019

Before I had to spend the whole day on only one task and even didn’t complete it sometimes. With my habits now I can work in 4-6 projects and make my clients happy every day without f*ckups.

Habitify is really useful in reminding me to start work at the right time and take breaks periodically so I am way more productive now!


I’m glad for you Ilya! 

So with your admirable consistency, do you have any advice for the newbies who are new to forming habits?


Sure do. The main tip for newbies is the easy start. If you try to form a lot of habits and it doesn’t work, you better try to form one single habit in the best way and then add another one. Then add more. 

Regularity is the key and you must understand that sometimes it’s too hard to continue, but also you must know that already tomorrow maybe you’ll feel much better if you save the streak. The result, my friend, can only be felt AFTER you’ve overcome all the hardship to actually do it!


Last question, in your opinion what’s the thing you love most about Habitify?



I’m UI/UX designer, so I think the UI of Habitify is great and I enjoy it as well as UX. Comparing with other habit tracking apps, Habitify is the best in it, I think. So I love most this design approach to building product, it’s very important for me. Also, it seems to me that your company are “fresh”, “young-thinking” and I appreciate that too.


Really appreciate the kind words, Ilya! Thank you so much for your time! 

You can view more amazing photos of Ilya here: https://www.instagram.com/ilyaddkv/

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