5 Second Rule…5…4….3….2…1….GO!
by Mel Robbins
If you are reading this then you know exactly what you need to be doing in order to get what you want. There is nothing that I could tell you about how to get what you want that you don’t already know, or that you couldn’t easily get from a quick Google search. You already know that the opportunity for growth and expansion lies in your ability to step outside of your comfort zone, but you still won’t do it, and here’s why:
Knowing what to do will never be enough.
It’s not as simple as, “Just do it.” If it were that simple, we would all have everything we want. There’s something really foundational that has to happen before we can take action, and that is that we must learn to conquer our own feelings.
Because of the way your brain is wired, when your thoughts and feelings are at war, when there is a discourse between what you know you should be doing and what you feel like doing, your feelings are always going to win. If you don’t feel like doing it, you won’t do it– that’s why you need the 5 Second Rule. And no, I’m not talking about the 5 Second Rule that relates to dropping food on the floor, and as long as you pick it up within 5 seconds it’s okay to eat…I’m talking about something that will literally change your life – if you let it.
This is a tool for hyper-intentionality, action, and identifying moments in your life where there is tremendous opportunity and joy.
I first shared the idea about 5 years ago on a TEDx stage, and it’s now one of the top 20 Tedx talks in the world. It’s been viewed over 6 million times in over 37 countries – and the feedback we’ve gotten from people who have applied what they learned from that talk is incredible.
I discovered the 5 second rule about 7 years ago. Before I worked for CNN, before I gave the TEDx talk, before I was a contributing editor for SUCCESS magazine, before I had written a book, launched and sold two businesses – in fact, I discovered this tool in what was probably the worst moment of my life to this day.
My husband had a restaurant business that went from uber successful to total failure in a matter of a few risky decisions, and we found ourselves in a financial free fall. We were at risk of losing everything we had spent our lives building – and I was having a hard time dealing with it. All of a sudden getting out bed was the hardest thing in the world to me. My alarm clock would go off in the morning, and I knew what I was supposed to do, I was supposed to get up and get my kids off to school. But instead I kept hitting snooze. Over and over again.
Every night I would lie in bed and think about what I needed to do. I needed to get a job, so we could pay the bills. I needed to start being nicer to my husband, and not let this financial crisis weaken our relationship. I needed to be a mother that could deal with this kind of crippling fear, so that my kids didn’t start to feel it too. I knew what I needed to do, but I simply couldn’t do it. You know things are really bad when your kids start missing the bus because you’re oversleeping every day. And that was kind of a wake up call for me.
The 5 second rule was something that I developed to get myself to take action when I didn’t want to.
I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that something that is so simple became so difficult.
And if you don’t struggle with getting out of bed in the morning then your issue is somewhere else, trust me. We all struggle with SOMETHING.
Do you ever find yourself making to-do lists and then not following through on them? Like every single day?
Or thinking to yourself, “What the heck is wrong with me? I know what I’m supposed to be doing, why can’t I just do it?”
Trust me. I AM YOU.
But this is what I’ve found:
Knowing what to do will never be enough.
Knowing why you need to do it will never be enough.
So what we need is something that’s going to launch us into a state of action. Because if you’re sitting around waiting for motivation, I’m here to tell you it’s not coming.
If you don’t start doing the things you don’t feel like doing, you will wake up one year from today and be in exactly the same place.
So here’s the one-liner definition of the 5 second rule:
If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.
So if you have a goal of gaining more respect in the workplace, you have to raise your hand the next time you’re in a meeting and you have a great idea.
If you have a goal of losing weight, you can take action right now by researching healthy meal options and setting daily reminders on your phone that will prompt you to go to the gym.
If you have a goal of launching your own business, and you have no idea where to start, get on Google right now and research other companies in your field of interest, see what they’re doing and decide what you’ll do the same and where you’ll differentiate yourself. Then google a free business plan template, and then fill it out. Get serious about it and put your intentions in writing.
Whatever your goals are, show the world, and yourself, that you’re serious by taking action, however insignificant that action may seem, RIGHT NOW.
Because when you physically move, your brain starts to build new habits. When you do something you’re not used to doing, you are in the act of building new habits and erasing existing ones.
The fact that you took the time to read this blog tells me that you are already taking the time to invest in yourself, which makes me even more excited to see how this simple change in habit changes your life.
Let me know how the 5 Second Rule works for you:
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I can’t wait to see everything you do.