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Five Seconds to Change Your Life: How I Discovered The Five Second Rule

Mel Robbins
April 30, 2018
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In my speeches, I teach people about a tool that has changed my life. I first introduced this tool, The 5 Second Rule, in a 2011 Tedx Talk, and since then, I’ve heard from over 100,000 people have who have used the Rule to push past fear, self-doubt, and hesitation.

Looking back, it’s amazing to see how much has changed over the past seven years – much of it thanks to The Rule. It also turns out that the The Five Second Rule is backed by science and works for absolutely anyone.

I want to introduce you to this tool because I believe that it has the power to change your life. It changed mine, and I’m going to tell you my story right now.

 The story of how I discovered the Rule is personal, but it also provides a ton of context. I used it to change my life – and I know that you can too.

How I Found The Five Second Rule

In 2009, things weren’t going too well in my life.

When the alarm went off each morning, all I felt was dread.

I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t want to wake up and face the day ahead of me.

So what did I do? I hit the snooze button over and over and over again.

At this point in my life, I felt defeated. I was facing serious problems related to money, work, and my marriage.

I had changed careers so many times that I felt like the jack of all trades and the master of none. I got a big break to host a show on TV and then the show was canceled, leaving me without work and bound by a contract that wouldn’t allow me to work in the media business for a year.

At the same time, my family was in financial free-fall after pouring our life savings, home equity, and college tuition savings into a pizza business that failed – and left us in major debt.

Our problems seemed way too big for me to solve and I had no energy to change things.

Sleep had become my escape – until the alarm would go off in the morning and pull me back to reality.

I felt trapped, so I started drinking too much.

I would think and think about my situation. The more I thought, the more afraid I became.

All that I needed to do was wake up, make breakfast, get my kids onto the bus, and then look for a job.

It wasn’t earth shattering and it wasn’t complicated. It was just a few simple things. I didn’t need to end world hunger. All I needed to do was wake up and face the morning.

However, even the small things, like getting up to make breakfast, felt so hard.

Every night, I would tell myself that the next day would be different.

 Tomorrow, I’ll wake up earlier. I’ll have a better attitude. I’ll be nice to my husband. I won’t drink so much. I’ll go to the gym.

When the alarm would ring in the morning, though, these empowering thoughts were replaced by the same old fears, and I would keep sleeping.

My Transition Moment

One morning, I decided to break the habit.

I still felt the same feelings that I had experienced for months: fear, dread, and anxiety.

In this moment, though, I noticed a tiny window of time.

I had a desire to change my life for the better. There was a moment – a brief window of time – before my mind killed this positive thought.

So, I did something I had never done before. Instead of hitting snooze, I started counting backward.


The night before, while watching a commercial, I had seen a rocket launch into the sky.

I decided, what the heck, why not to just launch myself up like a rocket. Couldn’t hurt.


And then… I stood up. I launched myself right out of bed, something I hadn’t been able to do for months.

This was the exact moment that I discovered The 5 Second Rule.

I used the same countdown the next day, and it worked. In fact, it’s worked every single time I’ve used it.

And you know what? I started to see these moments all the time, these five-second windows.

So I made a promise to myself: If I had an instinct to do something that would improve my life, then I would use this new rule to push myself forward.

This is the basis of The Five Second Rule.

The Rule states: The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must push yourself to move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.

I used it to get to the gym, to drink less, to look for a job, and to become a better wife and parent.

As I used it more in my life, I felt courage, confidence, pride, and a sense of control. By using the Rule in one area of my life, I had the confidence to use it in other areas, too.

I showed the rule to my husband, Chris, and he used it to stop drinking, start meditating, and exercise every day.

As we talked to friends, the rule would come up. People who were inspired to creating change in their lives started using it too.

The Rule doesn’t make things easy. It makes them happen.

That’s why it’s a tool. It’s not advice. It’s not something you think about. it’s something you do. It requires action. It’s a method of HOW to make change happen.

The Rule is how we climbed out of debt and rebuilt ourselves professionally, one 5 second push at a time.

I’ve used the Rule to launch me to new places that I could have never imagined. In just the last 8 years, I’ve created massive change in my life by implementing the Rule and I believe that every single person can also reap the benefits of this tool.

I’ve learned that motivation doesn’t exist. It’s a myth. Instead, you always have to push yourself.

When we hesitate, we hold ourselves back. Our brains think that something is wrong and trigger fear. We need to move past that hesitation and fear. The Rule pushes us beyond hesitation – straight to action.

I used the Rule to push me out of bed, out of a funk, to help me get groove back, and to build my dream career.

Every single day we face moments that are uncertain, scary, and difficult. These moments require courage. And you know what? Courage is a SKILL. It’s something we build, one 5 second action at a time.

When you discover your courage, you will realize that you are capable of accomplishing and experiencing anything that you dream about.

And now that you know WHAT The 5 Second Rule, you can learn about how it works by clicking here.



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