5 SECONDS TO MAKE BETTER DECISIONS
When You Know What You Should Be Doing, But You Don’t
While she was facing a really hard period in her life, Mel found herself hitting the snooze button, not making it out of bed and not finding any energy to do what she knew were the right things to feel better, such as applying for a job, going out to run, eating healthy — you name it!
That totally resonated with me, because a good indicator of my current state of happiness is how often I hit the snooze button. I know I’m trying to avoid dealing with a specific situation or that my balance is off, when I can’t get out of bed. And of course, I know what I would love to be doing instead: Get up, do yoga, shower, have a healthy breakfast, go to a nice café and start working.
5 Seconds Before You Go-Go
So, what helped Mel to get rid of her ‘snoozing’ habit and get out of bed? One night she watched the launch of a rocket on TV. Listening to the countdown 5–4–3–2–1, she decided to do that too. The next morning when her alarm rang, she woke up and instead of hitting the snooze button she counted 5–4–3–2–1 and got up.
Sounds silly? That’s what she thought too.
But then she did it again the next day and it worked, and she started using it for all kinds of decisions where she knew what she should be doing to feel great, but she couldn’t make herself do it. And it worked.
Digging deeper into the topic, it makes a lot of sense.
The Science Behind The 5-Second Rule
We’re not designed to do things that are uncomfortable, or scary, or difficult. Evolutionary, our brains are designed to protect us from anything that might hurt us in order to keep us alive.
And when we try to become our best self, when we’re building a business, or when we want to be a better spouse, naturally we’ll come across difficult, scary, uncertain, uncomfortable things we need to do in order to grow.
But our brain will tell us, that this is not a good idea.
Usually, instead of doing what we know we must in order to create the life we want — which in the essence is dependent on many micro decisions we make every day — we stop and hesitate.
When I decide between getting up to do yoga or stay in my cozy, warm bed my thoughts go like this:
“Hmm, shall I get up now, or hit the snooze button and get up in 10 minutes? Well, why not stay 10 more minutes. Then I’ll jump right out of bed and do some fabulous stretching.”
.. 10 minutes later ..
“Hmm, 10 minutes already over? Well, actually, I could also do some exercise in the evening. I really feel my body needs some good rest now. Yes, that’s a great idea. I’ll sleep 30 minutes longer today. Then I’ll do some good sports tonight. Excellent.”
Of course, chances are high that I’ll have a similar conversation with myself in the evening. Thanks brain!
Our brain instinctively goes to hesitation when we face a challenge.
The 5-Second Rule uses the short time window available to us, before this natural habit of hesitation kicks in. Before we start thinking about all the reasons why our planned endeavor could lead us to danger, we count down 5–4–3–2–1 and then we start.
Trying Out The 5-Second Rule for 7 Days
During the last 7 days I tried the 5-Second Rule for myself and it helped me to make decisions in line with my desired way of living, working, eating, exercising. Here are a few examples:
- Using the 5 Second Rule to get up: Getting up was easier. I stopped hitting the snooze button and didn’t think twice about getting out of bed.
- Staying focused. I’m working in 45 minute sprints, but sometimes I just instinctively check my phone in between. The 5-Second Rule made me aware of the moments where I broke my focus and helped me to return faster.
- Opting for the better ‘longterm decision’: This is a big one! When I found myself thinking “should I watch the coaching course or Netflix & Chill”? or “ice cream or oranges” I went with the option that I know will make me feel better in the longterm. And don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for enjoying Netflix and ice-cream guilt-free. But using these comfortable alternatives as a way out of doing the hard work that’s necessary to achieve my goals is not that moment. And that’s how the 5 Second Rule helped – it prevented me from indulging in the thoughts that usually convince me to go with the more comfortable option.
Even though I was aware that growing has a lot to do with overcoming a feeling of discomfort, I didn’t had it figured out how to make that actually work on a constant basis. Thanks to Mel, I now have a simple tool in my toolbox that helps me to choose the better long-term decision – like getting out of bed, following my routines and getting out of my comfort zone.
Now, I’d LOVE to hear from you: What habit or challenge do you struggle with? Can you see yourself applying the 5 Second Rule, and if so, how did it go? Let me know in the comments, I’m super curious to read about your experience!
And now: 5–4–3–2–1 – Let’s go!
With love 💕
P.S.: Have a friend who’s struggling to keep the momentum up? Please share this post with them 🙏