This Five Second Trick Could Completely Change Your Life


One of the biggest challenges we often face is motivation. We have this desire to do better, and we know what we need to do, but what’s the secret to actually getting it done? Is there a trick to motivating yourself even on days when you could talk yourself out of it? Of course!

I wake up earlier than I have to, I push myself out of my comfort zone and I try not to get too comfortable with anything. I know the rest of the team shares this drive to push harder. But the real challenge is often in the ‘how’. How do you give yourself the motivation to just show up?

Outsmart your brain 

In a quest to find the key to motivation, we stumbled upon one of the best speeches of all-time by Mel Robbins. She talks about motivation, and how she couldn’t find the motivation to stop hitting snooze, so she started researching it.

She found that our brains have the innate need to protect us. If they sense we are uncomfortable, afraid, or in pain, they will self-protect. Your mind stops you from doing things that make you uncomfortable. You know you have that voice in your head that says, “No, you don’t need to do that, do this instead.” That’s the self-preservation method kicking in. And in order to be your best self, you need to stop it.

I always write down the things that make me uncomfortable, and the things I don’t want to do in the personal notes section of my Getting Things Done planner, this is the bible to motivate me to do things, but on days where my motivation is lacking, there’s nothing better than a bit of motivation to tell me how things are done. That’s why Mel’s five second rule really resonated with me.

The 5-second rule 

Mel found a way to outsmart her brain. The moment you feel yourself starting to hesitate, count backward from 5 and then just go. It’s a form of metacognition that interrupts the habit of putting things off. And it really works. You can watch a video of Mel explaining her 5-second rule here.

In fact, this rule changed everything for Mel, because it not only helped her realize a change was necessary but taught her how to do it. And the difference between living an average life and living an exceptional one is showing up and stopping the excuses. Now she’s even written a book about how to use the 5-second rule in every area of your life, she gives talks with 8 million views and has helped people all over the world to find their motivation. Simply by counting down from 5 to 1 every time she tries to put something off.

For me, watching this talk was a bit of a lightbulb moment. In order to make sure I never talk myself out of doing the things I set out to do, I tried it. And from now on, I’m going to remember the five-second rule every time I need to get something done.

So, will you be trying this out? Or do you have your own trick for staying motivated? Share it with me in the comments, I’d love to hear what keeps you going.



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Beth Macdonald

Managing Editor

I'm the Managing Editor of CGD. I'm a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy and have published a short story with Penguin. I am also a self-development junkie who loves routines and setting goals.