Motivational speaker and CNN host Mel Robbins reveals the small simple hack which can create big, lasting changes in life, if applied consistently. Her approach to crushing procrastination and decision fatigue aptly named the 5-second rule, instructs anyone who is about to make a decision they will regret to count down backward from 5 seconds, to give themselves 5 only 5 seconds to act. Mel credits this technique to being instrumental in saving her marriage, career, finances, inspiring anyone to achieve their best in 5,4,3…
The 5 second rule is a decision making tool that can help change your behavior by preventing you from acting on urges that are detrimental to your life and wellbeing – It's great for those moments when you need a spark of inspiration or are waiting for an opportunity. For example, when your alarm goes off and your usual thing is to hit the snooze button and burrow back down under the covers, resist that urge and count down in your head 5-4-3-2-1. By doing this you are giving yourself your very own 'power push' which redirects your attention from your anxieties and excuses to what you should be doing, in this example, getting up to make the most of a brand new day. By using the 5 second rule repeatedly you can break free from negative, counterproductive cycles such as procrastinating over work, not putting yourself out there for new opportunities, not eating healthily, or not exercising.
Counting down from 5 isn't a huge lifestyle change by any means but it does enable you to push you out of your comfort zone to become more courageous. For example, if you usually say no to new opportunities because you're scared, the 5 second rule can let you override your usual automatic response and get out a 'Sure, why not'. Likewise, rather than saying to yourself 'tomorrow' or 'not yet' you can use the 5 second rule to take the initiative and make your dreams happen – ask for that pay rise, hit publish on that ebook, or quit that dead end job.
The 5 second rule can also be used to stop procrastinating and take control back over your life but you should know that procrastination is not about being lazy, it's about how you deal with stress, or don't do deal with it since procrastination provides a form of instant gratification allowing you to hide from the worrying or stressful situation a little longer. As soon as you notice yourself procrastinating, count to 5 and get started.
It's normal to let fears and worries stop you us from doing something as we're wired to feel and then act rather than think and act – This means that our emotions usually get in the way of us achieving things – just think how often you don't feel like going to the gym because you're tired or how nerves have gotten the better of you in an audition or interview. The 5 second rule lets you get out of the way of your feelings and get the job done anyway. Instead of saying to yourself 'I'm tired' or 'I'm terrified' count from 5-1 and change the feeling around – Know that you'll feel energized after a gym session, choose to be excited instead of fearful, tell yourself that you'll learn from the experience no matter what.
Worrying about how much time we've wasted is another normal human behavior but you need to stop yourself from going down that rabbit hole! Use the 5 second rule and remind yourself of the bigger picture by asking yourself 'What am I grateful for in this moment?' followed by 'What do I want to remember in this moment'. Your answers should remind you that there's always more positives than negatives and that you can turn your life around.
The 5 Second Rule Chapters
Chapter One - Five Seconds To Change Your Life
Chapter Two - How I Discovered the 5 Second Rule
Chapter Three - What You Can Expect When You Use It
Chapter Four - Why The Rule Works
Chapter Five - Everyday Courage
Chapter Six - What Are You Waiting For?
Chapter Seven - You'll Never Feel Like It
Chapter Eight - How To Start Using the Rule
Chapter Nine - Improve Your Health
Chapter Ten - Increase Productivity
Chapter Eleven - End Procrastination
Chapter Twelve - Stop Worrying
Chapter Thirteen - End Anxiety
Chapter Fourteen - Beat Fear
Chapter Fifteen - Building Real Confidence
Chapter Sixteen - Pursuing Passion
Chapter Seventeen - Enrich Your Relationships
Best Quotes from The 5 Second Rule
"I was the problem and in five seconds, I could push myself and become the solution... You are one decision away from a completely different life"
"The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must use the The 5 Second Rule... 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you... Start before you're ready. Don't prepare, begin."
"Hesitation is the kiss of death. You might hesitate for a just nanosecond, but that’s all it takes. That one small hesitation triggers a mental system that’s designed to stop you. And it happens in less than—you guessed it—five seconds."
"There will always be someone who can't see your worth. Don't let it be you... When it comes to change, goals, and dreams, you have to bet on yourself."
"You have been assigned this mountain so that you can show others it can be moved."
"There’s one thing that is guaranteed to increase your feelings of control over your life: a bias toward action... You can’t control how you feel. But you can always choose how you act."
"To play any game, you have to start. To win, you need to keep going. If you want to make your dreams come true, get ready for the long game. Life is not a one and done sort of deal... Picasso created nearly 100 masterpieces in his lifetime. But what most people don't know is that he created a total of more then 50,000 works of art. .. That's two pieces of art a day. Success is a numbers game."
"Feelings are merely suggestions, ones you can ignore. To change you must do the same, you must ignore how you feel, and just do it anyway."
― Mel Robbins, The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage
Editor and Founder
Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating the next generation of leaders to their true potential.