Mel Robbins' 5 second rule has increased in popularity over the years, ever since she first explained the rule to the crowd at a TedX talk back in 2013.
Who is Mel Robbins?
Mel Robbins is an American Lawyer turned self-help author. She is most well known for her book, The 5 Second Rule. She is also the author of The High 5 Habit.
What is the 5 Second Rule?
Since then, the talk has gone viral and Mel Robbins has released her own book, The 5 Second Rule, to better explain the steps and benefits of using this simple rule. The book has become a bestseller in the self-help book category, and celebrates selling nearly 2 million copies, as well as being published in 33 different languages. Robbins has since gone on to release a more in depth way of using the 5 second rule in her latest book, The High 5: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit.
Mel Robbins explains the rule as,
“The 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule.
When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action.”
The below video is from Mel Robbin's TedX talk where her 5 second rule reached the masses.
What does Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule do?
Mel Robbins explains that she first started to use the 5 second rule as a way of getting out of bed at a time that was both difficult for her and her family. The process was simple. Counting backwards from 5-4-3-2-1 and immediately acting at the end of the count, and before the mind creates a reason not to act.
Throughout the book, Robbins explains that you, just like everyone else, have 5 seconds to act out before your mind convinces you to do otherwise. It creates a process to combat the subconscious mind, and forces us to act on our ideas.
“The 5-second rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. …. 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.”
We all will feel moments throughout the day where motivation is lacking, and we put off what we know needs to and should be done. We can always tell ourselves that there is a better time for action, and that there isn’t a need to act right in that moment. The fact is that we don’t need to wait to feel motivation, and instead creating action in itself is the only motivation we need.
I’m sure we could all think of a moment when the 5 second rule could work for us. Perhaps you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and constantly hit the snooze button on your phone. It might be that you put off speaking in a group due to social anxiety. Maybe you’ve been putting off responding to a tricky email. Whatever the reason for inaction, using Mel Robbins 5 second rule could be the way for you to stop putting things off and start taking action!
How can the 5 Second Rule be used?
The main aim of the 5 second rule is to break our thought pattern while making a decision. Often when we come to thinking of things we need to do, we may come up with reasons to put this particular task off, even though we know the task has to be done and by doing so has benefits to us. Using the 5 second rule in these moments acts as a prevention for talking ourselves out of doing something.
Some real life examples of where the 5 second rule could be applied:
- Before giving a talk at a public event.
- Before introducing yourself to someone of importance.
- Before going for a run, the gym, or another form of exercise.
- Before attending a social occasion.
- Before a negotiation.
- Before we hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.
- When we get angry and before we start to argue.
- When we get impatient in the car and before we beep our horn.
- Before we reach for a cigarette when we are trying to give in.
- Before we partake in any negative habit, such as biting nails.
As you can see, the areas we can apply this rule to in our life is varied. Take a moment and think about a time when you wish you had taken action on a task, but didn't. Next time you are in that situation, use this method and see if it is beneficial to you.