We all know about the two to four-second rule referring to the amount of time an M&M can sit on the floor before it is no longer safe to eat. Well, the five-second rule has nothing to do with that.
The Five-Second Rule is a rule that helps you work through fear and sets you up for success. Mel Robbins, a CNN commentator and motivational speaker, invented this productivity rule. Here’s how it works, next time you are faced with a task that you just don’t want to do, count backwards from five to one. For instance, when Mel didn’t want to get out of bed to face the day, she would count 5-4-3-2-1 and jump out of bed. This simple action changed her life.
While watching TV, she saw a space shuttle launch and thought about the significance of the countdown. She was going through a rough patch and needed some motivation just to get out of bed in the morning. That’s when she decided to put it to use. Then, she started to use it for other things—phone calls she didn’t want make, tasks that seemed daunting, and just about anything she wasn’t motivated to do. This simple rule started working for her in all aspects of her life.
After doing some research, she discovered why it worked. Counting backwards awakens your pre-frontal cortex and requires you to focus. It interrupts your habit loops and outsmarts your brain before fear sets in. When we overthink something, we usually don’t get started doing it.
So next time you catch yourself putting something off, count backwards 5-4-3-2-1, and just do it!