We all know about the ‘5 second rule’ –
If food (or cutlery) hits the floor, and we pick it up within 5 seconds, it’s okay to eat (or use). That may be true in sterile environments, but when it comes to my kitchen floor, I think not (but what are a few germs among friends?).
But Mel Robbins talks about a different 5 second rule.
Her 5 second rule is this: If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.
And sometimes that physical movement is small.
I was actually implementing this 5 second rule before I even real Mel’s post. Let me tell you about it.
I was in a funk a few months ago (another one). I was downright melancholy and unmotivated. I was tired, used up, fed up, and felt sort of hopeless. I knew what I needed to do, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I went to bed early for weeks on end and enjoyed wallowing in the dark recesses of my mind and thoughts. I felt alone. And I didn’t seem to have the strength to pull myself up by my bootstraps (no wonder, since my boots don’t have any straps!)
I was able to subscribe to a membership group that offered uplifting, inspiring, and motivational videos every day. I needed it, but couldn’t bring myself to watch anything motivational.
Just do it? Are you kidding me? If I could ‘just do it’ I would!
I got angry at the thought of motivational videos.
Sure, I put on a happy face when I was talking to other people, but deep inside, I felt like a loser, a phony, and that something was wrong with me.
And then in my misery, my own 5 second rule occurred to me. I knew I didn’t have what it took to make a huge effort, but I could make a baby step. I didn’t want to, but it was doable.
I wanted to go to bed early. I wanted to zone out in front of the TV. I wanted to wallow in the futility of my life.
But I also wanted to love my life. And I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.
Enter my 5 second rule – which also became a 5 minute rule.
I thought I could force myself to do something productive for 5 minutes. After all, that’s not a very long time. I could send an email. I could write a note to someone. I could do some internet research. I could brainstorm what sort of videos or blogs I wanted to create. I could daydream (although I still wasn’t quite ready to watch a motivational video!!). I could read some of my notes from courses, classes, seminars, and workshops I had previously attended.
So, when I had an impulse to act, I took some small action within 5 seconds and told myself I only had to do something for 5 minutes. After that, I gave myself permission to go back to wallowing.
And of course, something shifted.
Maybe this was a needed ‘time out’ from being busy all the time. Maybe it was another walk through the ‘valley of the shadow of death,’ maybe it was me getting to know my dragon - - but whatever it was, the 5 second / 5 minute rule helped get my creative juices flowing again.
I seem to dance with the darkness a lot. Or at least I have in the past. And I’ve always considered this to be a flaw or a weakness. However, every time I come through it, I get more and more ideas and inspiration. Maybe it’s not a weakness after all.
As I was going through some of my notebooks from classes and seminars, I came across this messaging that came out of a workshop in 2015:
I’m not sure if those are my perfect clients or tribe, but I do know that I don’t shy away from the depth of humanity where we keep lots of things hidden.
I used to avoid it like the plague in my own life, but not any longer. And now that I follow my 5 second / 5 minute rule, there’s a certain anticipation of what I’m going to create even while I’m stuck in the muck and the mire.
But you don’t have to be in a funk to use this rule.
Next time you have that brilliant idea, take some action (however small) right away. Write it down in a journal. Do some internet research. Share the idea with a Mastermind group or with someone who will encourage you. Write down some possible steps to take. Write down and say out loud some affirmation that is motivating to you. In other words, DO SOMETHING.
And if you need some guidance or help, let’s chat. We can do this together.
Until next time,
Have some fun, stay aware, and rock on!
Janet is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients go from Overwhelm to Overjoyed, from Confusion to Clarity, and from Surviving to Thriving. Whether you want to grow your business or grow your self-esteem, Janet helps people believe in their own potential and transform their dreams into fulfilling, inspired, and prosperous realities. Janet can help you get the rapid results you are looking for.
Believing in you and your possibilities.
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.