Transform Your Life with the Five Second Rule

A short but very important, and possibly life changing, post today: the Five Second Rule.

The Rule: Every time your mind comes up with an idea or intuition or instinct that you know would be helpful and where you can initiate an immediate action (no matter what that might be) - start an instant mental countdown: Five - Four - Three - Two - One -  Go!  and actively implement the action with no delay (think NASA countdown to a rocket launch). It's an utterly amazing tool if you're willing to actually follow through. Obviously, being action oriented pays off in all parts of your life.

Backstory: I like time based life hacks where you just follow the rule no matter what and consistently get great results. This fits in that category.

My old favorite—the 2 minute rule from David Allen's "Getting Things Done" methodology.

The 2 minute rule: If you encounter a task during your day that you need to get done, and you can accomplish it in two minutes or less, do it immediately and get it out of your head. I’ve found this to be incredibly productive, and it gets rid of the energy vampire inherent with an undone task.

My new favorite: the Five Second Rule.

The 5 Second Rule: when your brain gives you a clue that you should do something, you count down for five seconds (just like a NASA rocket launch countdown) and immediately launch into action. No matter what it is and no matter how small the action. No waiting. If you wait, your brain talks you out of the action.

Why is it effective?

Compare the 5 second rule to Nike's slogan: “Just do it!"

But what is “it”? And when do you do “it”? And how do you get yourself in motion to do "it"?

It’s an aspirational slogan, and I love it. It pulls you seductively toward an active lifestyle. It's as sexy as the ads imply. We all want to be proactive and adventurous. To not procrastinate and to venture beyond our usual boundaries.  But a slogan isn't a tool. It doesn’t set you into immediate action. It's a 'pull' slogan and not a 'push' tool.

The Five Second Rule is a push tool. The five second countdown propels you into action immediately before your mind talks you out of it with typical mental responses like "I don't feel like it right now", I'll do it later" or "I need to think more about it." Sadly, much of the time we listen to that whiny voice and action isn't taken.  Do that for long enough and you've developed a procrastination, or a fear of action, habit. Been there, done that. So I know what it feels like.

So the Nike slogan is a pull to an aspiration, and the Five Second Rule is a push toward concrete instant action. That's a huge difference.

I’ve been successfully trying it out for a couple of weeks, and I suspect it will be very powerful if I can integrate it into my automatic decision making process. So far so good. I have a virtual post-it on my computer to remind me.

Obviously I’m not giving justice to the details of the method, so I highly recommend the original source: The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins ( ) .

I believe it can be truly transformative if you seriously want to cultivate an action oriented life.

Read the book. Try it out. You might be amazed.