A New Five Second Rule?

‘You can’t control how you feel. But you can always choose how you act’ – Mel Robbins (The 5 Second Rule)

I read an article today which talked about the five second rule. Not the one where if you drop something on the floor, it’s fine to eat it as long as you pick it up within 5 seconds (a somewhat dodgy rule in my book as surely it depends on where you are standing at the time?!). Anyway, I digress. This rule was about giving yourself five seconds, with a countdown, before you do something that you might otherwise put off, basically using it as an accelerator. You can also use it as a brake to stop you doing something you really shouldn’t.

The main example given was when you wake up in the morning and you are tempted to go back to sleep or to just lay there but, instead of doing this, you count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then spring out of bed. The benefit, the article says, is that you don’t waste part of your day doing nothing and then spend the rest of the day regretting it because you are running behind.

Having trouble getting up?! (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com)

Using the rule as a brake works like this: maybe you are about to reach for a packet of biscuits, but instead you count down from 5 to 1 and by the time you have done this your brain has registered that actually what your body needs is a piece of fruit or a glass of water and so you do that rather than scoffing a whole pack of biscuits.

The theory comes from Mel Robbins, an American lawyer, television host, author, and motivational speaker. Her book,’The 5 Second Rule’, published in 2017, has been translated into 36 languages and has received praise around the world. The blurb says ‘The 5 Second Rule is the secret to changing anything about your life. You can use the Rule and its countdown method to break any bad habit, interrupt self-doubt and negative self-talk, and push yourself to take actions that will change your life’.

We are very good at procrastinating which then leads us to create excuses not to do something. The self-doubt creeps in, the anxiety increases and suddenly something that was relatively simple becomes a big deal and we don’t do it. Maybe we are at a party where we don’t know many people. We see someone who looks nice and friendly but we don’t move and within a very short time, we have convinced ourselves that this person might not welcome us saying hello or that maybe they aren’t so nice after all. The Rule says that as soon as we spot the person, we should count from 5 to 1 and go straight over to them. No thinking time = no worrying or putting it off.

Overthinking! (Photo by Pieter van Noorden on Pexels.com)

I like the idea, although I’m not convinced counting from 5 to 1 will help me to spring out of bed in the morning but I will try it in the name of research! I have just placed an order on Amazon for the book and I’ll let you know in a future post what I learn but it seems to fit with the tiny tweaks idea. Five seconds is definitely a tiny tweak!

So then I started wondering, what else can you do in 5 seconds? What happens across the world in 5 seconds? It’s not a very long time at all, particularly considering that in every 24 hours there are 864,000 seconds.

Across the world, 47 new websites are created and 15,000,000 google searches are made; 52,250 coca-colas are consumed and 375 McDonald’s burgers are eaten; 80,000,000 liters of water evaporates from the earth and 24,000 new stars are created; 830 rainforest trees are cut down and 9.42 babies are born into poverty. So much can happen in 5 seconds!

Stars (Photo by Sindre Stru00f8m on Pexels.com)

In five seconds we could fit in 2 squats or lunges, 5 star jumps or a couple of stretches; we could sneeze, giggle or take one deep breath; we could tell someone we love them or that we appreciate what they do for us; we could open the door for someone or let them on the bus first; we could give someone a hug or a peck on the cheek; we could smell a flower, listen to the birds or even hug a tree! The point is that whilst 5 seconds is such a short amount of time, there is no excuse not to use it. Every minute of every day is valuable and that goes for the seconds too. What will you do with the next 5 seconds? What tiny tweak can you make?

Until next time xx


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