“It takes just five seconds to change your life,” says Mel Robbins author of the bestselling book The 5-Second Rule. This does not sound feasible but according to Mel, it is science, you change your life one five-second decision at a time.
Mel created the rule at a time in her life when everything around seemed to be falling apart, her marriage was on the rocks, her finances, her career and her self-esteem. She was at an all-time low, so low that to climb out of bed in the morning became a struggle.
The reason why was a simple one, she just did not feel like it.
This behaviour is what researchers call a “habit loop.” Mel would roll over and keep hitting the snooze button and that simple behaviour became a pattern encoded in her brain.
One night a TV commercial caught her attention, a rocket launching into space to be exact. Intrigued by the methodical five-second countdown, 5-4-3-2-1 Blast Off! Fire and smoke filled the screen and the rocket launched off into space.
Something about that rocket launch triggered something in her thinking and right there she made a decision to launch herself out of bed the next morning…like a rocket.
Unknowingly, deciding to follow through on that gut feel would literally change her life.
The next morning when her alarm sounded, instead of hitting the snooze button as she normally would she started the countdown 5-4-3-2-1 GO and she jumped out of bed before she had any time to think about it and change her mind. She simply ignored what she felt, did not think, and just did what needed to be done.
At that, precise moment #5SecondRule was discovered.
“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.” – Mel Robbins
The process of counting backwards mentally shifts the gears in your mind, interrupting your default thinking and allowing you to “assert control.” The physical process of counting distracts you from thinking up a myriad of excuses and shifts your thinking into a new direction.
When you follow the counting and physically move, your mind behaves and falls back into line.
Researchers would label this behaviour as a “starting ritual,” a process activating the pre-frontal cortex of the brain that is responsible for changing your behaviour.
Use this #5SecondRule and you will discover that there is a small five-second window between taking action and your brain stopping you. Mel Robbins learned that pushing yourself to take action affects confidence and productivity and creates momentum.
The #5SecondRule is responsible for changing many people’s lives and a quick Google search will reveal many success stories.
This rule does not make challenges and decisions any easier to achieve, but it does make things happen.
Our brains wired the same way. When faced with something that is difficult, scary, overwhelming, or uncertain, we hesitate. Hesitation is fatal. You hesitate only for a second and that is all it takes to trigger a mental system designed to stop you. You hesitate for a second and it stops you from saying or doing something you should.
Using the #5SecondRule and learning how to break the habit of hesitation and take action will amaze you as you see how your life changes.
As already mentioned we our brains are all wired the same way and everyone needs a push, me, you, professional athletes, Olympians, pro-golfers whoever it may be. The only difference is that pro athletes often have the coaches, mentors, competitors, fans and teammates around them to give them that little push when they need it. The #5SecondRule allows you to 5-4-3-2-1 PUSH YOURSELF.
The longer you spend thinking about something, the more reasons you will conjure up to persuade you not to do it and the lesser the urge to act becomes.
I am the world champion procrastinator with a gold medal in thinking, because of this I spend hours, days, weeks, and even years thinking about things I want to accomplish and trying to perfect all the details before I act on it, the result I still have much to act upon.
I have learnt however, that as soon as the impulse to act kicks in, you must move and do something about it, before you start rationalizing it away. You must move fast and stay ahead of the excuses.
Perhaps your next 5-second decision will be the one that alters the course of your life.
5-4-3-2-1 Move! What happens next may surprise you.
Watch her TED talk below.