Recently I was having a FaceTime conversation with my friend Jocelyn, when she mentioned this audiobook to which she had been listening. “It’s called The 5 Second Rule,” she said, which immediately brought to mind the rule that dropped food is acceptable for consumption as long as you pick it up within 5 seconds. #momlife
But then Jocelyn went on to explain the basic premise of the book: that you can get yourself to take action on any task by counting backwards from 5. I liked the concept, but I was confused as to how it warranted an entire book. Despite my skepticism, I used one of my Audible credits to download the audiobook version, and stated listening after we hung up the phone.
Right before Jocelyn told me about the book, I had been explaining my biggest professional struggle of late: that I have so many ideas, so many projects, and so many tasks on my to-do list, that often I choose inaction only because I’m not sure where to start.
This happens despite all my best efforts to plan my workdays in advance, using multiple organizational tools. I have some big things in the works, and sometimes instead of just taking action, I overthink and overanalyze until I ultimately revert to something quick and easy, like returning emails (a task that can easily consume the better part of an entire day).
The book was a wake-up call from the very beginning. I could relate to the author as she shared her own personal and professional struggles, and I loved listening to how others had implemented the 5 second rule in their own lives. The concept was simple, yet effective:
The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will stop you. 5-4-3-2-1, go!
The author repeatedly emphasizes that if you wait for motivation to appear and steer you towards action, you’ll end up waiting forever in many circumstances, and never do the thing — whether that’s getting up earlier, writing a book, working out, or completing a project.
I began implementing the rule in small ways throughout my day: emptying the dishwasher right away instead of putting it off, going upstairs to bed at night instead of laying on the couch scrolling through social media for an extra half hour, planning a music therapy session in advance instead of last-minute, and so on.
And the day I finished the book, I took a deep breath and implemented the rule in the one area I had been avoiding: submitting my latest course for approval and making it public. I knew if I did those things, I would actually have to do the hard, scary work every single day instead of continuing to delay it.
As Mel Robbins writes in the book, 5 seconds can change your life. It’s the course of taking action over and over again, turning it into a habit, that can lead to big life-altering changes. She gives many examples about ways to use the rule in different areas of your life — health, anxiety, relationships, work — and they all resonated with me. The rule is a tool, a way to trick your brain into doing the things you already know you need to do in order to be happier and more successful.
I think at this point it’s pretty obvious that I highly recommend this book :) If you have found yourself struggling to take action in any area of your life, this book might be the little (or big) push you need.
What good books are you reading or listening to this summer? I like to have a full queue in my Kindle and Audible apps at all times, and would love your recommendations.