How to Use the 5 Second Rule Every Day

How to use the 5 Second Rule

I’m a notorious snooze button person. No matter what I tell myself the night before, when the alarm goes off in the morning, I will roll over and immediately tap the snooze. It started out as a conscious decision, but now it’s become more of a reflex. Until this week, when I learned about the 5 second rule.

At first glance, I thought the rule was about quickly eating something I dropped on the floor. It’s not.

The 5 second rule is a simple countdown in order for you to take action. And apparently, it’s a major factor of how our day will turn out.

How to Use the 5 Second Rule Every Day

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How to Use the 5 Second Rule Every Day:

What is the 5 second rule?

I recently signed up for a free trial of Audible (Because you get 2 free books AND a $10 gift card to Amazon. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a deal). And the first book I downloaded was the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I chose this specific book because I’m super into personal growth right now and she had a nice voice.

However, now that I’ve been delving into the content, I’ve decided it was a beneficial purchase.

The 5 second rule is when you actively choose to make a decision after counting down from 5. Generally, this decision is made after you have a gut feeling to do something. For instance, rolling over to hit the snooze button. Or reaching for a donut even though you gave up sugar. And the purpose of the countdown is to distract your brain from your feelings so you can make a better decision. Normally a decision that you promised yourself that you’d make.

When to start using the countdown?

According to the book by Mel Robbins, you should start using the 5 second rule whenever you start to make a decision based off your feelings.

For me, those feelings are being tired when I wake up, being lazy when I should go to the gym, being tired in the afternoon and tempted to take a nap, longing to watch Netflix after a long day of work, etc. Pretty much anything that’s in direct contradiction of the productive day that I’d hoped for.

In these types of situations where my feelings are most likely to tempt me into taking negative action, I should pause and count backwards from 5. Essentially, 5, 4, 3, 2, get out of bed. Or whatever.

Easier said than done, am I right?

Mel explains in the 5 Second Rule that you need to start with the small stuff, especially first thing in the morning. So you want to start using the countdown as soon as your alarm goes off in the morning. Then you will want to move into other areas after you’ve had more practice.

How will this effect your every day habits?

Remember in my article about the daily routines of successful people that successful people wake up early every morning? Apparently, this applies even with the 5 second rule. (There’s no getting away with sleeping in for us when we’re trying to be successful).

Not only did the book tell me I need to rocket out of bed in the morning, but a YouTube video reiterated it for me this week, too. It’s a sign that this information is really important and necessary to actually be productive and get my to do list done.

Like anything, the more you practice the countdown, the easier it will be and the more you will use it throughout your day. But if you start with just the 5 second countdown in the morning, your day will end up being more productive, positive, and lead to greater success.


This is a very simplified summary of the book. If you want to dive deeper, and learn all the science behind the brain and what not, you should get the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

And if you’d rather listen to the book on your commute or while you’re getting ready for the day, check out Audible–You get a free trial for a month, so it’s like getting free information. What’s not to like 😉

How to Use the 5 Second Rule Every Day

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