The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life With Everyday Courage

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Life Comes Down to 5 Second Decisions

Mel Robbins
April 20, 2018
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The 5 Second Rule is something that I invented in 2009 to help me beat my habit of hitting the snooze button.

It works like a charm to help you wake up on time, but its true power is in how it helps you shake up your entire life.

If there is any area of your life that you wish to improve, use the 5 Second Rule.

If you need more confidence, use the 5 Second Rule.

If you need motivation, use the Rule.

If you are sick of doubting yourself, use the 5 Second Rule.  

Here’s how you use it:

The moment your instincts fire up (or you know you know you should do something) but you feeling yourself hesitate, that’s when you use the Rule. You have five seconds. Start counting backward to yourself, 5-4-3-2-1, then move. If you don’t move within five seconds, your brain will kill the idea and you’ll talk yourself out of doing it.  

Life comes down to five-second decisions.

Do you take action or do you listen to worry?

Do you start working on it or do you keep over thinking and paralyze yourself?

Do you say something or do you feel nervous and stay silent?

Five-second decisions.

Five seconds is how fast your self-doubt kicks in and your mind goes to work against you. That’s why you have to move even faster. And that’s why the 5 Second Rule is such a game changer.

When you start counting backward, you interrupt the habit of overthinking, you assert control, you focus yourself on taking new action, and you activate a different part of your brain.

The counting down from five part sounds silly (I thought so too), but it is actually a powerful form of metacognition.

It’s a trick you can use to outsmart your brain in order to achieve your goals. You can use it to wake up from autopilot mode, to interrupt your self-sabotaging habits, to outsmart your brain, and to take control of your life with five second decisions.

The simple act of counting backward to yourself, 5-4-3-2-1, does some shockingly powerful things in your brain. Researchers that study habits call it a “starting ritual” that triggers positive new habits.

What I can tell you from first-hand experience is this: five second decisions change everything.

In five seconds flat, you can decide to go to the gym, or decide to blow it off.

You can 5-4-3-2-1 and speak in a meeting, or decide to stay quiet.

You can 5-4-3-2-1 and put down the booze, or decide to drink

You can 5-4-3-2-1 and talk to the attractive guy, or decide to feel unworthy.

Consider how often you hold yourself back and rob yourself of opportunity and joy.

For years, I lived my life in my head. I’d think about the things that could improve my life or get me closer to my dreams–like exercising, looking for a job, sharing my ideas, starting to work on something important, sending an email–but moving from thought to action seemed impossible.

Here’s the problem–thinking about change won’t change you.

To change, you have to take action.

To improve anything, you have to find your courage to try.

How many times today have you said to yourself, it can wait, I’ll do it tomorrow, I don’t feel like it, I’m not ready? We all do it. It’s easy to procrastinate, over think, worry and doubt yourself. I did it for years. It was a habit.

That’s where the 5 Second Rule comes in. It will teach you to move from thinking about the fears that hold you back to taking the actions that will improve your life. You change your life one five second decision at a time. It’s a fact.

You can’t always control what you feel, but you can always make a decide to act.

And the more you use the Rule, the faster you’ll build confidence, momentum, and the results that you want.

I first shared the Rule on a TEDx stage, and it’s now one of the top 20 TEDx talks in the world. It’s been viewed over 13 million times and we’ve heard from more than 100,000 people in 80+ countries who are using the Rule in remarkable ways.

A simple idea with massive power.

If you have an instinct 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 visibility in the workplace, you have to 5-4-3-2-1 and raise your hand the next time you’re in a meeting with an idea in your head.

If you have a goal of losing weight, 5-4-3-2-1 and follow the research–set daily reminders on your phone that will prompt you to go to the gym.

If you want to learn more about the Rule, what it is, why it works and how you can use it to change any area of your work or your life, click here to pick up a copy of my book about The 5 Second Rule.

It’s not just any book–I wrote it to help you make the changes you want to make.

You’ll also get 31 digital mentoring sessions with me. Instructions for how to get these mentoring sessions are on the last page of the book.

Using the Rule costs you nothing and you can start right now. And the next time you have an instinct to do something, and you feel yourself hesitate, 5-4-3-2-1 GO.




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