The 5 Second Rule

I don’t like to work out at 6:30 in the morning.

I don’t like to floss my teeth.

I don’t like to tackle that big project when I sit down at my computer every morning.

Left to my own devices, I would wake up naturally, start my day by reading a few more chapters of my latest book in bed, and skip flossing altogether.

The former is my reality, even thoughI don’t like it. And The 5 Second Rule is why.

The rule is as clear as its name – you give yourself 5 seconds to take action versus changing your mind. Mel Robbins brought this method to light in her TEDx Talk and her namesake book.

It has, simply put, changed my life.

When I feel tempted to hit snooze (rather, tell Alexa to set a new alarm 15 minutes from now), I force myself to count down. When I get the urge to visit Feedly or The Cut rather than working on my big project for the day, I count down.

When I’d rather go to sleep than spend an extra minute on my nighttime routine…well, you guessed it.

The book is a quick read – it’s quite short and repetitive (as most personal development books are). I found myself skimming over examples from Robbins’ community and focused on the psychology and neuroscience content.

One of my biggest takeaways was the importance of starting rituals in your life. The 5 Second Rule is one, to be sure. But I’ve noticed that a slightly extended ritual to mark the start of my work day (sitting at a table or desk, a cup of tea next to me, music playing in the background) adds a little bit of joy and helps me overcome the initial struggle of starting.

Once I get going, I’m good. I truly do love what I do and love reflecting on a productive day.

But getting started? That’s another story.

At least, it was.

I recommend you watch Mel’s TEDx Talk before purchasing the book – you may find you get everything you need out of it. I sip this tea and listen to music from this app as a part of my work starting ritual, and I keep whole workout outfits (bra, top, pants, and socks) neatly rolled so I can grab one the night before and change into them right when I wake up. 

This book and this one similarly changed my outlook and the way I get work done. I publish a new book review on Fridays. You can find them all here.