Overwhelm and procrastination is a common struggle for moms. It is one of the biggest obstacles they face that leaves them stuck and unable to take action.
Even everyday things can seem too hard to start.
An exercise routine…
Cooking instead of fast food…
Or even starting the day without hitting the snooze button.
There are many things that seems easy or straightforward to do but when it comes time to take action, you can’t seem to find the motivation.
I want to introduce to you the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. It’s a simple yet powerful solution to help you overcome procrastination and take action in just five seconds.
Sounds too good to be true but for many people who have tried it, it has worked successfully.
I’m going to share in this post a closer look at Robbins’ approach and explore key takeaways.
I’ll also share what I liked about the book and why I recommend this book and her method.
Let’s take a look…
Who is Mel Robbins?
Mel Robbins is a motivational speaker, author, life coach and mom of 3. She is best known for her book “The 5 Second Rule” and her TEDx talk “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over.”
Robbins started her career as a criminal defense attorney before transitioning into the world of media. She became a legal analyst for CNN and later hosted her own syndicated talk show.
After going through some tough times, including money and marriage problems, Robbins became interested in personal development and self-help.
She came up with her now famous 5 Second Rule to help herself overcome procrastination and self-doubt.
Since then, Robbins has gained popular and has worked with companies like Microsoft, AT&T, and Johnson & Johnson as their keynote speaker.
She’s also been a guest on many talk shows and podcasts, and she even hosts her own podcast called The Mel Robbins Podcast.
Her message centers around the idea that anyone can make positive changes in their life, no matter their circumstances.
She encourages taking small but consistent steps towards their goals. It’s all about taking action and keeping at it, one day at a time.
What is the 5 Second Rule book about?
Robbins shares her personal story and her struggles with good habits. Instead of letting her struggles consume her, she tried something different – and it worked!
She started each day by counting down from five.
The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you. – Mel Robbins The 5 Second Rule
You might be thinking, What’s the point of this?
For her, it was the start of something big. It was as simple as a countdown that helped her overcome mental barriers that have been holding her back for some time.
This is how she created the 5-Second Rule.
Why is the five-second rule so effective?
It’s a psychological trick that anyone can use to take action before they get a chance to talk themselves out of something.
Procrastination is a problem for many people. If you start the day with a task or goal, you are likely to get in your own way of completing it.
We’ve all been there.
Doubts, overthinking, excuses and even fear of failure are going to circulate in your mind prompting you to hit that snooze button.
You will delay and defer, and the cycle will continue.
If you’re overwhelmed, it’s likely you are procrastinating on important tasks and goals. Don’t feel guilty, it’s common.
Being a mom adds an extra layer of difficulty. Thinking and decision-making will be even more challenging. Consequently, you will overthink it and procrastinate.
You can use this rule or as she also calls it “the power of the push”. Anytime indecision and procrastination hit, do the countdown – “five, four, three, two, one.”
After the countdown, take action immediately. Any action is better than no action!
This simple rule can help you assert control over your outcome. There are some things you can control like other people, but you can control your outcome.
Don’t wait for a good time to start. Just start.
Key takeaways from the book
>Don’t overthink. Take immediate action.
Too often, we get stuck in our own heads and talk ourselves out of things. We make excuses, procrastinate, and let fear hold us back.
The moment you hesitate you’ve already given yourself too much time to push a task or goal for another time.
The 5 Second Rule can help you overcome this tendency to overthink by prompting us to take action quickly and without hesitation.
> Taking action is a form of courage.
The more consistently you act, the more confident you will become.
“Doing things that scare you actually make you more confident. If you have the courage to take action, your confidence will follow. Every time you push yourself to speak when you’re nervous, act when you’re afraid, or get to the gym when you don’t feel like it, you realize that you can rely on yourself to get anything done.” -Mel Robbins
I love that she acknowledges that courage doesn’t have to be huge acts of bravery. I couldn’t agree more.
Courage can also be the small things. Like having the courage to get out of bed when you’re depressed. Like approaching your boss to ask for a well deserved and overdue promotion. Like setting boundaries and saying No because you’re a chronic people pleaser.
These are acts of courage too.
Taking action with the help of the five second rule, can grow your courage and give you the confidence to consistently act without hesitation.
>You’ll never feel like it.
I appreciate that Mel Robbins stated a truth a lot of people don’t want to admit or accept.
Have you ever had to do something you didn’t want to do but know if you did it, it will solve a problem or alleviate stress?
Robbins explains that feelings (not logic) are the driver of your decision to not do something despite knowing it’s best for you.
Instead of doing what’s better for you in the long term, you opt for the short-term feel-good things.
So, if you always have a pile of laundry sitting around that’s almost as tall as you, instead of deciding on a laundry system you watch a “declutter with me!” video on YouTube for “Motivation”.
After watching said video, will you have time to tackle the fast-growing laundry pile? Probably not.
It’s likely that you made the decision based on how you felt than what you know you should do. Don’t feel bad, it happens to all of us.
This part of the book goes into more detail with research from a neuroscientist that I think you’ll find interesting.
>Use the rule to replace bad habits with good ones
She briefly explains the habit loop and how the 5-second countdown can interrupt it.
The habit loop is a concept that describes how habits are formed and how they can be changed. It consists of three parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward.
The cue is what triggers the habit. It could be anything, like a specific time of day, a certain place, or a particular emotion.
The routine is the habit itself, the behavior that you engage in automatically without thinking about it.
The reward is the positive outcome that you receive from the habit, which reinforces the behavior and makes it more likely that you’ll repeat it in the future.
Procrastination as you know, is the act of delaying or putting off tasks that need to be done. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and a sense of guilt.
Procrastination can weasel its way into the habit loop in a few different ways.
For example, the cue for procrastination might be a feeling of boredom or a sense of overwhelm when faced with a task you don’t want to do.
The routine might be to distract yourself with something else, like checking social media or watching TV. And the reward might be a temporary sense of relief from the task, even though you know you’ll have to face it eventually.
The 5 second rule can help you break the cycle of procrastination in the habit loop by prompting immediate action.
If immediate action is taken, then there is no chance for procrastination to enter the habit loop.
>Real people have used the 5-second rule with success.
From stay-at-home moms to entrepreneurs, there are many different people from different walks of life that have overcome their mental barriers and achieved their goals.
Here’s what some of them have to say…
“Planned on the treadmill first thing today. Woke up and wasn’t feeling it. Then I thought of the 5 second rule.”
“Today I made a huge step forward and talked to my boss about my next goal and he totally supported me. Thank you Mel Robbins!”
“My life is moving forward because of #5secondrule. You haunt my every day, in a really good way!”
How moms can apply the 5 second rule in real life
- Starting a new project: Count down from 5, then promptly to start working on the project using your plan to guide you on the first step. If a project is overwhelming, use the countdown again, then break the project up into smaller tasks. It’s about building momentum. **Quick win tasks**
- Making a phone call: Count down from 5, then make the call.
- Asking for help: Count down from 5, then ask for help (without apologizing!).
- Giving a presentation: Count down from 5, then start your presentation using a checklist or cue cards to guide you. One step at a time.
- Dealing with a difficult coworker: Count down from 5, take a deep breath and approach your coworker. * I get that this is easier said than done and that it can be a more complex issue. You can make it easier on yourself if you write out what you are going to say in advance. Just as important, be calm, clear, and professional. There is no guarantee that the issue will get resolved but you will have overcome the fear and that is a big step forward.
- Getting out of bed in the morning: Count down from 5, then promptly get yourself out of bed.
- Starting a household task: Count down from 5, then force yourself to start the task.
- Having a difficult conversation with a family member: Count down from 5, then immediately walk yourself to that person and start the conversation.
- Making a healthy food choice: Count down from 5, then choose a healthy snack like a piece of fruit instead of a bag of chips.
- Taking a break for self-care: Count down from 5, then take a break for self-care by doing an activity that gets you moving (stretching, yoga, walking, aerobics, etc.) and/or that restores you (read 5 or more pages of a book, write in your journal, close your eyes and deep breathe, or listen to some relaxing music or a podcast.
What I liked about the book
What I think is great about this book is that it’s a simple and easy read. You can read through the book at a good pace because the concepts are explained clearly.
This is good considering many moms are time-strapped and a book that’s clearly written will likely be read to the end.
There are many great examples from real people that have overcome mental barriers and made progress.
If you enjoy reading the success stories of others, you will enjoy this book.
There are some bad reviews out there that the book is repetitive. It is a bit repetitive, however, I think it could work in your favor if you are truly in need of a push to action.
Repetition can be annoying, it reminds me of the quote by Aristotle “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.”
It’s important that an author repeat concepts so that the reader can retain them. Sometimes you need repetition to fully understand and/or accept it.
Why I recommend the 5 Second Rule book
Life can be chaotic and overwhelming. If you’re a mom struggling with procrastination, doubt, and a lack of confidence, then this book can give you the push you need to put one foot in front of the other.
It’s also good to be reminded not to wait for motivation but instead to get your butt moving and act. It’s the act of moving and taking steps that makes progress.
Who this book is for
The 5-4-3-2-1 rule is a powerful psychological tool for anyone who is tired of not making progress because of excuses, fear of change, and a constant struggle with procrastination.
It’s for the mom (or anyone) who…
- can’t control her social media habit.
- persistently delays important projects (whether personal or professional).
- overthinks everything she does to the point of paralysis.
- needs that extra push to get past the mental hurdle and get it done.
Will you step outside of your comfort zone and 5-4-3-2-1- GO?
Share your success in the comments.
If you like to be on the move while reading, an audiobook is a great option. Get the 5 Second Rule audiobook here.
Other good reads from Mel Robbins…