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In her new book, The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, life coach Mel Robbins tells us how she masters the art of self-motivation and successfully changed her own life. She tells us:

5 seconds are what we need to motivate ourselves.

And that…

We always know what we want and need to do (KNOWledge), but hesitation always kicks in and stops us from taking ACTION.

Her five-second rule is a simple tool to bridge the gap between knowledge and action. By using it we give ourselves the push we need to do what we truly want, to calm ourselves of anxiety and fear so we can follow through and be successful more often instead of giving in to the resistance that comes up when we get ready to act.

The crux of Five-Second Rule is that you must PHYSICALLY move within 5 seconds of having a desire to do something or work toward one of your commitments.

The secret to self-motivation

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.

Robbin points to a principle in neuroscience that says there’s a 5-second window that exists between the moment we have an instinct to change and our minds killing it. This window exists for everyone. When we don’t act on our instincts, change won’t happen. By physically taking action, however, we can prevent our mind from self-sabotage.

Why count?

Counting itself is an action and a way to activate the area of the brain that is more interested in long-term goals. Repeat to yourself: 5-4-3-2-1.

The counting will focus you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries, thoughts, and excuses in your mind.

Mind tricks like these are tools to reform our habits and they work because our greatest ally and adversary is our mind.


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Written by

Christine Angelica

Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. She believes the way we live affects everything we do, especially our motivation.