What if I could give you one simple habit that could radically change your life? In The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins shows us how taking action in five seconds or less can improve your finances, your health, your love, and more. This book could literally change your life.
THE WAKEUP CALL FOR ME
I’ve always thought that I was a person of action. I even had a close relative who struggled with inaction say to me one time, “You know, that’s the thing about you. When you say you’re going to do something, you actually do it.” And I think this is fairly accurate. I said “fairly.” I’ve taken action because I’ve never known anything in my life except getting up at sunrise (I was raised on a farm), getting the work done, excelling, and hitting the goal. I learned how to speak French, play musical instruments, excel at soccer, and finish a college degree, among many other things.
But, I can also tell you that procrastination has also been a HUGE friend of mine. And I can say that when life got really, really hard that my goal was often just to make it through the day and keep everyone alive. And right there–there in the sticky and rough times–was where I could have used this golden strategy. The 5 Second Rule.
It was easy to keep going and crush goals when there weren’t a lot of obstacles. I also think it was much easier when I was younger before I learned how to doubt myself and my self confidence took a nosedive. It was easy before life got messy and anxiety, worries, and responsibility set in. When we are young, we believe we’re invincible and can conquer the world. But somewhere along the way, we realize that we’re fallible, imperfect, and can fall.
NO ONE TEACHES US HOW TO NAVIGATE LIFE
Techniques and strategies like The 5 Second Rule would have literally been lifesavers for me. I could have crushed more goals. And I would have executed faster. I would have gone after bigger dreams. Less of my time would have been spent procrastinating and thinking about something until I had over-analyzed it to death.
The 5 Second Rule may be one of the best tools you’ll learn to take back control of your life. But if you’re ever in the messy middle when you feel frozen and can’t move off Square One, this book and this habit will be your one-way ticket out of Procrastination Station. (Join us in The Smart Better Life Book Club, and start improving your life with more books like this one.)
In fact, Mel relates her own story at the beginning of the book about how she discovered this strategy. It was when her life was a mess and she couldn’t even muster up the courage to get out of bed. We’ve all been there, right? That season in life when your best strategy for getting through it is pulling the covers back over your head and pretending that the world isn’t calling your name.
There are five key points I gained from reading The 5 Second Rule:
1) SET A GOAL, WRITE IT DOWN, AND LOOK AT IT FREQUENTLY
You’ve heard this before, right? But did you know the science behind why this is important? Your brain is like a computer. It just takes in information you give it and processes it. If you send it the clear message, “Brain. I want to get healthier”, your brain starts scanning the environment for anything that supports that goal. You might take notice of a gym, scan the produce section at the supermarket longer, or see ads for a workout download more than you used to. Setting the goal, writing it down in a highly visibly place, and re-visiting it daily is important.
2) STOP WAITING UNTIL YOU HAVE THE MOTIVATION OR “FEEL” LIKE IT
Motivation is a myth. Yep. You heard me right. And this is hanging us up. We keep waiting until “the timing is right” or “I feel motivated”. It doesn’t work, and it’s frankly a bunch of bull.
In psychology, there’s a concept called “locus of control”. It’s based on the idea that if you believe that you are in control of your life and your actions, the more successful you’ll be. And what’s one of the biggest ways you can feel like you’re more in control? Taking action or having a bias towards taking action in every small decision and task. And the more you actually take action, the more you strengthen the habit of being an action-taker.
3) TAKE ACTION IN THE SMALL MOVES–THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS
“Hold On. Let me overthink about it.” ~~Mel Robbins
Guess what the most important moment is to change the direction of your life? It’s in that small moment of hesitation that occurs in seconds. Five seconds or less, to be precise. Did you see that attractive guy across the room and want to talk to him? But you didn’t walk over and introduce yourself? It was in the hesitation that you talked yourself out of it.
Were you ever in a meeting and had a great idea pop into your head, but then you sat silently and let someone else come up with it later on? It was in that short space of time within seconds that you convinced yourself not to speak up. In that small space is where our mental system goes to fear. We fear that we might look stupid. Or that the guy won’t want to talk to us. We fear that all eyes will be upon us and judging. So in that space of hesitation right before that small move is when to act.
4) IMPLEMENT YOUR STARTING RITUALS
The 5 Second Rule is what researchers call a “starting ritual”. It’s basically a way to interrupt your old pattern of procrastinating or hesitating. Using the 5 Second Rule helps you create a new habit of taking action. The more you take action, the more confident you’ll be about taking even more action. Procrastination is a habit. The 5 Second Rule helps you to interrupt a habit that’s holding you back.
“Knowing what you need to do to improve your life takes wisdom. Pushing yourself to do it takes courage.” ~~Mel Robbins
5) CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK WHEN YOU SLIP BACK INTO OLD HABITS
Breaking the procrastination habit takes time. You have perhaps spent a lot of years building your old habits of leaving stuff undone or pushing everything off to “someday”. Beating yourself up or shaming yourself will only perpetuate the cycle. Remember to give yourself a little grace. Give yourself the compassion and kindness you would give a friend who’s trying to break a habit or accomplish something. And then, as we say in Texas, get right back up on the horse again.
Want to learn more strategies on how to have more confidence and courage? Download your FREE Confidence Guide now!