If you are like most people—including me, this has become your modus operandi. Your typical way of operating involves not taking action—even when you say you want to or know you should do something.
When you think you should or want to change, don’t think twice. Instead, act fast.
The Wrong Action Choices
Speaking for myself, I can tell you that it’s not uncommon for me to have the urge to eat fruit for dessert. After about a five second pause to consider this option, however, I don’t. Instead, I eat ice cream.
Sometimes I have the thought that I should get off Facebook and do some real work. About five seconds later, I start scrolling through the feed.
Or I know my energy is waning and getting up from my desk, moving or stretching, and drinking water will help raise my energy again. I think, “I’ll do that in minutes,” and I just keep sitting there…slouched in my chair, eyes drooping, and moving slowly.
These are not the choices I know I should make—at least if I want to reach my goals and step into my best self. In these examples, I made the wrong action choices. My first instincts—had I acted upon them—offered right action choices.
Change Requires Action
Lack of action won’t create change. In fact, inaction doesn’t provide a good way to create change of any type.
Pay attention to your intuitive hits; they offer valuable information on what, deep inside, you know is right action for you—especially if you want to change. And act on that gut instinct.
Sometimes what I do is put these to-do items on a list. Or I write a note on my phone. And there they stay. I don’t do them…and I don’t change. Nothing in my life changes either.
The Five-Second Rule
Here’s the thing: If you don’t take action on your idea, intuitive hit, or thought within five seconds, your mind squashes the idea, according to Mel Robbins, author of The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage. That’s why you must act fast!
Your mind will squash the idea because other thoughts follow on the first, thoughts like “It’s too hard,” “I’m too comfortable,” “I can’t do it, It will cause problems,” “I’m afraid,” or “I don’t know how.” These thoughts are accompanied by feelings—feeling that don’t support taking action.
The only way to create change or results—to achieve your dreams—is to do what you don’t feel like doing. You have to launch yourself into action to get things done.
How do you do that? Robbins suggest you don’t stop to think; just act…and act fast.
“Knowing what to do will never be enough. Knowing why you need to do it will never be enough… If you don’t start doing the things you don’t feel like doing, you will wake up one year from today and be in exactly the same place,” Robbins explains.
She defines the five-second rule in one sentence: If you have an impulse to change something, you must physically move within five seconds, or your brain will kill the idea.
That’s why you can’t wait for:
- The right time
- The right place
- Enough money
- The kids moving out of the house
- Anything else
Apply the Five-Second Rule
So, what impulse or idea have you wanted to act on? What change or goal has popped into your brain that you haven’t taken action on?
Whatever it is, apply the five-second rule.
How? First, recognize your gut instinct or intuition to make a change. What is your higher self telling you to do?
- Don’t eat that ice cream.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Walk the dog
- Go to the gym.
- Tell your friend the truth.
Second, as soon as you think “I should or want to do that,” count backward to yourself: 5–4–3–2–1. Then take action!
Robbins reports that counting focuses you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the feelings, thoughts, and excuses flooding your body and mind.
Have you tried the five-second rule? Tell me about your results in a comment below.
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