When Nike launched their “Just Do It” campaign, they had no idea their sales would increase from $877 million to $9.2 billion in worldwide sales in just 10 years. But it worked. It resonated with a lot of people because we, as a race, aspire to be doers. After all, the slogan is catchy and promotes immediate action, similar to eating your frog first thing in the morning--just get it done, right? However, if you dive a little deeper, you’ll find there’s a window between actually thinking about doing something and taking the action to do it. If “just doing it” were that simple, we’d all have everything we wanted wouldn’t we?
It is this window of opportunity that is examined more closely in a book I recently read entitled “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins---and no, it’s not about how clean a piece of food is after you’ve dropped it on the floor. How often do you find yourself in an inward struggle between what you should be doing and what you want to be doing? Robbins developed the 5 second rule to help her take action even when she didn’t want to.
Along with knowing what to do is knowing why to do it, but neither will ever be enough. There must be something that will literally launch you into action. Robbins says, “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.”
So what is the 5-second rule? “If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.” After 5 seconds, your opportunity is gone. If you don’t take action, it’s as if your brain is pushing your inner snooze button on your dreams.
Our brains have two speeds: autopilot or emergency brake. Our brains prefer emergency brake. That is why it is so important to force yourself down a new path, rewiring your brain until it becomes autopilot.
If your goal is to lose weight, within 5 seconds you need to do something that will help you attain that goal whether it’s researching healthy recipes, setting reminders in your phone to get to the gym or calling a friend to go with you to keep you accountable. If your goal is to start a business, get on Google within 5 seconds and research competitors or better yet, search for a business template and get your plan in writing.
Whatever your goal is, take immediate action, count backwards from 5 and as soon as you reach 1, push yourself to move. Write it down. Press send. Start walking. Make that call. However insignificant the action seems, show the world (and yourself) that you are serious about your goals. And do it RIGHT NOW. When you physically move, you send a message to your brain to start a new habit by erasing an old one. Over time, a new habit is formed and your dreams become reality.
One-third of Americans feel dissatisfied with their lives--that’s 100 million people! We all have goals, but we also share another fact: you (and I) are never going to feel like doing it. The key to getting everything you want is simple. But it’s not easy. Robbins claims that when you feel dissatisfied in your life, or stuck, it is a signal that one of your most basic needs is not being met--the need for exploration and growth.
“Pushing yourself to take simple actions creates a chain reaction in your confidence and productivity.”
It’s the small, simple actions that will define your life, not the big ones. Within 5 seconds of stopping to think, you will have decided not to take action on the small things. Your brain is wired to help make life easy for you, to conserve energy. So, if you give yourself 5 seconds or more to decide whether or not to act… your mind will come up with a lot of great excuses for why you shouldn’t take action. Over time, these small decisions build into worry, doubt and anxiety, programming your brain to default to these every time. But just imagine what the alternative could be?
Every day of our lives, we face situations that are difficult and sometimes scary; moments that put us in a state of vulnerability. When you take immediate action, and as you do so more regularly, you move past those vulnerable moments with courage, forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.
It’s time to get moving!
Are you ready?
5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . .1
Tell Us: What success have you seen in your life that has been a direct result of taking immediate action?