Reading time: 5 minutes
It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, employee, entrepreneur, young or old. This habit can help you build confidence and courage by quitting the habit of hesitating.
It’s known simply as “The 5-Second Rule.”
Mel Robbins is the creator of the 5-Second Rule and used the rule to change her life and millions of people around the world.
As she said in her book, The 5-Second Rule, “The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.”
After reading her book and meeting her last year at a success seminar I can say that Mel Robbins is the real deal. Her story, book, and 5-Second rule can give you power back in your life. It can help you take massive steps forward in helping reach your biggest goals.
Here are 10 amazing insights I learned from Mel Robbins and the 5-Second Rule:
1. Create a 5-second starting ritual
If you’re unfamiliar with the 5-Second Rule it is an incredibly easy (but strangely efficient) way to get yourself to take action. When you know you need to do something (i.e. speak up in a meeting, talk to that stranger, call that client) simply count backward 5–4–3–2–1 and take action.
Counting backward will shift the focus on your mind from hesitating and taking action will almost instantly build courage. This is known as a starting ritual.
As Mel Robbin said, “Starting rituals interrupt your bad default patterns and trigger new, positive patterns.”
2. Trust your inner wisdom
The 5-Second Rule was created when Mel Robbins saw an ad on TV with a rocket launch. Normally she would have zoned out like any other commercial. But for some reason, she paid attention to it more than normal. As she said in the book, “Subconsciously my brain was signaling me to pay attention to this rocket launch on TV.”
If she hadn’t have listened to her instinct she would have never created the 5-Second Rule that has not only changed her life but also the lives of millions of other people.
The next time you have a gut feeling to do something that will help you achieve your goals or dreams, don’t wait, act on it! The less you act on your inner wisdom the more likely you will never get those “hunches” to act on in the future.
3. Focus on the hard stuff first
According to an article published in Neuroimage, your brain shrinks over the course of the day before returning to its full size the following morning.
If you wake up at 6 am, understand that 630–930 am will be your most productive time all day. Spend the first few hours of your day working on things that will help you accomplish your personal and professional goals. Focus on the hard stuff so you can get them out of the way early when you are most productive. Plus, this will help build momentum for the rest of your day.
4. Manage your distractions
It’s hard to stay focused in 2018 — we are overwhelmed with nearly unlimited notifications on every platform. It’s easy to go through a whole day without actually doing any “deep work” and instead react to everything around us.
As Mel Robbins said, “Managing distractions is like following through on health goals. You’re never going to feel like it; you just have to make yourself do it.”
Don’t be afraid to put your phone in airplane mode, especially the first part of the day.
Use your mornings on your hardest, most difficult, and toughest problems — distraction free! A brilliant way to revitalize your life.
She recommends keeping your social media time to specific times of the day so it’s not a habit when you’re bored at work.
Distractions aren’t just social media either, clutter can be a huge distraction. Clean off your desk, your closets, and car to feel much more focused.
5. Stop waiting to feel like it
How often have you found yourself saying…
- “I know I need to go to the gym but I don’t feel like it.”
- “My spouse asked me to clean the house but I don’t feel like it.”
- “I know I should read that book (that could change my life) but I feel like watching Netflix instead.”
We’ve all been there. But instead of making decisions based on how you feel use the 5-Second Rule and take action. Count backward 5–4–3–2–1 and do what you need to do!
6. Use productive procrastination
Big projects at work or in your personal life can take a lot of time and energy. Sometimes you need to step back and take a break from the problem to let the answer find you. Mel calls this “productive procrastination.”
Don’t be afraid to use “productive procrastination” to help you solve a big problem. It might take a few days or even a few weeks but often times a break is just what you need. Stepping away can give you clarity and the spark to find a new solution.
7. Avoid destructive procrastination
While productive procrastination can be helpful on tough, thought-provoking projects, destructive procrastination is entirely different.
As Mel said, “Procrastination is not a form of laziness at all. It’s a coping mechanism for stress.”
Dr. Timothy Pychyl of Carleton University has studied procrastination for almost two decades and said “The main thing driving procrastination is not avoiding work. It’s avoiding stress. Procrastination is a ‘subconscious desire to feel good right now’ so you can feel a little stress relief.”
The reason you are avoiding the little things like going to the gym, calling your family or not starting your business, is that you feel a larger stress in your life. Usually in the form of money, relationship problems or your how life is going in general.
Instead of going to Facebook for another viral video and dopamine hit, use the 5-Second Rule to get moving! Forgive yourself for procrastinating as we all do it and use her 5-second starting ritual to take action.
8. Confidence is a skill
When you see Mel talk live at an event or watch her incredibly popular TEDx talk it’s easy to think she was born with an insane amount of confidence. But as she said in her book, “Confidence is a skill I’ve built over the years by practicing acts of everyday courage.”
And that’s usually true for most people. Steve Jobs seemed like the most confident human alive when he gave his speeches but it wasn’t always that way. Early interviews showed him wanting to leave in the middle of the interview to go vomit. He learned to have confidence over time, it didn’t happen naturally.
Remember that confidence is a skill, it’s learned. While some people may have more natural confidence than others, ultimately confidence is something you will acquire more of over time.
9. Create an end time
For many people, it’s hard to finally “shut off” when you get home. You might want to keep working as it feels like there is a never-ending amount to do. But it’s vital that you spend time not working and recharging so you don’t eventually burn out.
Set an “end time” at the beginning of your day so you know that once that time comes you are done for the day. This could be 7 pm or 10 pm, everyone will be different. Use this time to unplug, disconnect from technology or spend time with your family.
10. Understand there is never a right time
Quit waiting for the right time. There will never a right time to do anything great in your life.
- Start your dream business.
- Start going to the gym today, not next Monday.
- Tell your family you love them.
There will never be a right time to do the big things in life. Quit hesitating and start taking action to get closer to living the life you want.
Start Taking Action Today
Hopefully, these 10 lessons will help you start taking massive action in your life. Remember, the brain is ancient and is meant to protect us more than anything. If you need to do something but hesitate, you are training your mind to not take action. If you do this regularly enough you will create the habit of hesitating.
No way to revitalize a life as precious as yours.
Instead, use the 5-Second rule to act quickly and start building up confidence in yourself. Sometimes taking action might feel scary or nervous but use these feelings for your benefit. Physiologically, anxiety and excitement are the exact same thing. The only difference is how you identify it.
Choose to rename fear and anxiety as excitement. It’s much easier to tell your brain this than to calm your nerves. Use these excited feelings to start doing the things that are out of your comfort zone.
Remember, all it takes is five seconds to change your life forever.