Ten years ago, I was facing bankruptcy and divorce. My husband’s restaurant business was going under, I had just lost a job in the media business — a brand new career for me — and our entire house and life savings was invested in the business. I found myself, at 41, unable to get out of bed. I was drinking too much, was pissed off at Chris, felt like the world’s biggest loser and had no idea how we were going to get ourselves out of this mess. The problems felt so enormous and it was so much easier to hit the snooze button, drink, bitch about him and brace for what was coming.
The thing I talk about in my work is that we all know the little shit we need to do — the problem is not knowing, the problem is doing. I was really struggling with that — the little things — to get up on time, to look for a job, to eat healthy, to be nice to my husband.
One night, I was watching television and I saw this rocket ship launching. It gave me a crazy idea — probably fueled by the four Manhattans I’d had. If I could get my feet on the floor before self-doubt hit my head, maybe I could get up on time.
The next morning, when the alarm went off, I counted backward 5-4-3-2-1 and I stood up.
I started using that little technique every day to get out of bed. Then I started to notice this gap between what’s happening to you and your reaction to it — the gap between what’s happening, your instinct and when the excuses start happening. That gap is five seconds.
When you realize in five seconds you can make a decision to eat right or put down the drink or lower your voice or get to the gym or quit or leave the relationship, it all comes down to those five seconds. And with those five seconds, you can cause a reset.
I started using 5-4-3-2-1 as a little technique to launch myself everywhere. And my entire life changed. I am living proof that you’re one decision away from changing everything. They only way you change life or work or situation is by literally hitting the reset and making a different decision. And you can use the five-second rule 5-4-3-2-1 to do it.
Mel Robbins is the star and creator of the new Audible Original “Kick Ass with Mel Robbins,” the best-selling author of “The 5 Second Rule” and one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the world.