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HOW TO BECOME THE MOST PRODUCTIVE PERSON YOU KNOW
I like to say that the #5SecondRule is “change agnostic.” It will work with any kind of behavior change that you are trying to make happen. The applications of the #5SecondRule are only limited by your imagination. If you want to adopt a positive new habit, just use the Rule to 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 and push yourself to do it.
You can also use the Rule to pull yourself away from destructive behavior like gambling, drinking, drugs, and impulsive behavior like micromanaging your team, snapping in frustration, and binge watching too many TV shows. Just 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 to assert control and shift your focus away from the destructive or impulsive behavior. Then turn and walk away from it. Like all change, it’s simple—not easy, and the Rule will help you get it done.
There are three behavior changes that we receive emails about constantly: health, productivity, and procrastination. I address them in this section of the book. You’ll learn the step-by-step approach to how you can use the #5SecondRule in combination with some recent research-based strategies to improve these three major areas of your life.
First, you’ll learn the secret to improving your health. You’re not going to like it, but it works—and you’ll see posts of people all around the globe who are using the #5SecondRule to do some pretty remarkable things for themselves.
Second, you’ll learn how to increase your productivity using the #5SecondRule, and the latest research on focus, productivity, and your brain. There’s a particular fact in there about the snooze button and how it impacts your productivity that will really surprise you.
Third, you’ll dive into a subject that plagues us all—procrastination. You’ll learn about the two forms of procrastination, and the step-by-step method for how you can use the #5SecondRule in combination with 19 years of research to beat procrastination once and for all.
Everything you are about to learn can be implemented immediately and is backed by science. To reach your potential, you’ll have to push yourself—there is no other way.
IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
Almost half of the messages I have received are from people, just like you and me, who want to improve their health. Whether it’s to slim down, pump up, drop weight, lower cholesterol, heal yourself from illness, eat healthier, or improve strength and flexibility—whatever it is, you can use the #5SecondRule to get it done.
The fact is that thinking about being healthier won’t make you healthier. Even meditation, which is a mental exercise, still requires that you DO IT. There is no getting around this. You must take action.
The irony is that in no other area of our lives is there more information, support, research, options, or free content than on the subject of health and wellness. You could Google “diet,” download the top 20 search results, print them out, put them on a dart board, and follow whatever diet the dart hits. The diet, if you actually follow it, will work. The problem is never the diet. The problem is always your feelings about dieting. The same is true about exercising.
Just like Ana, we “never feel like working out” and we let these feelings get in the way of our desires to become healthier. Using the #5SecondRule, Ana pushed herself to 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 and got back on the bike:
Yes, you may hyperventilate as you pedal, but who cares? It sounds better than making excuses at home.
Every single diet, exercise program, gym circuit, workout class, physical therapy regimen, cross-training routine, meditation program, and yoga flow will improve your health. But here’s the catch—YOU HAVE TO DO IT. And believe me, I get it. I loathe exercise, especially if it’s cold or raining outside. I hate it as much as I hate getting out of bed. Without the #5SecondRule, I’d never do it.
Why is getting healthy so hard? You already know the answer—your feelings. If you feel deprived of bread, you won’t stick to your gluten-free diet. The second you consider how you feel about eating salad for the next 113 days, you’ll convince yourself not to do it. The moment you scan today’s CrossFit workout and consider how you feel about doing three sets of 45 burpees with a bunch of people in a parking lot—you won’t feel like walking out the door and going.
Will sticking to a diet make you happy? Absolutely. Will seeing your friends at CrossFit and working out make you happy? You better believe it will. Just ask Melanie, who had trouble getting “off the damn couch” before finding the Rule.
And once she did get moving, Melanie experienced “Freedom and breakthroughs,” something that we all want. The moment you accept the fact that we just want to do the things that feel easy, you realize the secret to getting healthy is simple—you’ll never feel like it, you just have to 5- 4- 3- 2- 1-GO!
Blowing off the gym, hitting the In-n-Out Burger drive-thru, and wasting time on Facebook is a hell of lot easier than hyperventilating in a spin class or cutting out sugar from your diet. If you want to lose weight, follow a diet, and regularly exercise, there’s only one thing you must do: Stop thinking about how you feel. Your feelings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what you DO.
Erika realized this. Even after starting her weight loss journey, she found herself “losing all motivation to get my workouts in” and “always had an excuse” why she couldn’t hit the gym.
Once she realized that she was “never going to feel like working out,” Erika was able to find 5 second windows of opportunity and then push herself to act on them. Exercise is 100% mental. Your body won’t go where your mind doesn’t push it. That’s why the #5SecondRule is game changing for your health.
Here’s HOW you use it…
5- 4- 3- 2- 1-GO and get to the gym.
5- 4- 3- 2- 1-GO and put down the donut and eat a grilled chicken breast.
5- 4- 3- 2- 1-GO and walk away from the bakery even though the bread and desserts are seducing you like a siren.
There are people all over the world who are fatter, lazier, and more out of shape than you who used 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 to change themselves into a totally different body, mindset, and life.
Like Charlie. This guy first reached out to me weighing 383 pounds. His waist was 54 inches. Look at the photos in the following Facebook post and you’ll see how heavy he was.
Imagine how horrible he felt. Now look at the other photo of him in the bottom photo—celebrating his life. He is literally a different human being. How’d he do it? By drinking drinks that taste like grass. Yuck, you might say. But that’s what it took for him to reach his goal. Today he runs a business called Juicing Strong that helps people become their healthiest selves.
For 529 straight days, this guy pushed himself to keep the promise he made to himself. Why? Not because he felt like it—but because he said he would. Imagine if Charlie spent the last 529 days thinking about losing 176 pounds instead of juicing. What would have happened? Nothing. Alexandra also found her way to a healthier lifestyle by juicing:
Charlie and Alexandra both found that when you follow your instincts to lead a healthier lifestyle by taking a courageous action, change starts to happen in your life.
It takes courage to start something, it takes courage to stick with it, and it definitely takes courage to share it with the world. That’s what Pakinam described to me. Courage is what it required to lose weight because sometimes, as Pakinam writes, the gap between where you are and where you want to be can seem so huge, that we can’t even face how much work we have to do: Hi Mel,
For my entire life I have been over weight. Now I am trying to diet for the first time in my life. I feel lost and trapped, but I keep on going. I have a massive feeling of insecurity and vulnerability. Can you please explain this?
The short answer is that the gap between the person you are now and the person you want to become can seem so big that it feels impossible to bridge that gap. Feeling this way is normal, but allowing those feelings to take over your mind is a form of self-abuse.
That’s why I love Charlie and that photo of his bare belly hanging over his shorts. Anyone can bridge the gap between the numbers on the scale with a push. Let Charlie’s example inspire you to start today. And let his results encourage you to stick with it.
I have someone else I want you to meet. Mark is using his Instagram friends to hold himself accountable. Five thousand pushups in a month? Holy cow! I can barely do five a day, #exercisegoals.
The discipline of daily exercise will also help his other personal and professional goal of “trying to finish my book on increasing business value and selling.” Every day that Mark exercises, he’ll have a brain that’s primed to help him finish writing that book. Go Mark! Keep us posted when your book is available.
Maybe 5,000 push-ups in one month is a little overwhelming because it might literally kill you. No problem. How about just taking on a fitness challenge? Check out Anouk—she’s on week three of hers. She is telling us the simple truth about health and exercise: “I really really really didn’t feel like it but did it anyway BOOM BOOM BOOM.” BOOM to you Anouk, you rock girl. And you rock too—when you push yourself to take action when you don’t feel like it.
If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of taking this on for real, meet Alice. She’s “a 19-year-old girl from the UK” who wrote to me because she had been in a “really bad place.” Here’s how she described it: I suffer with anxiety and agoraphobia and they really took their toll on me. I gained about 30lbs, which made me even more miserable and I stayed indoors even more. Additionally, I felt pressured by my parents to do a certain degree at a certain university and convinced myself I was fine doing this in order to please them…I watched your video and it really made me think, is this really what I want? Am I really ‘fine’ being the size I am? Do I deserve to get what I want?
I won’t lie it took some time but I watched your talk about once a week and then I had the impulse…”
She had the instinct to get real with herself. She had the desire to assert herself and take control of her life. She had the urge to change. And she did! Not only did she talk to her parents, but she changed her major.
“Was accepted to the University of my choice and the course of my choice and am due to go this October. As for my weight, since December I’ve lost 28lbs from eating healthily, getting into a good exercise routine and it’s all down to your 5 second rule.
I hope I didn’t take up too much of your time, but I really wanted to tell you how much your talk impacted me! I have still got a long way to go but whenever I feel myself slipping I watch your talk again!” That’s what it takes. It takes courage to do what Alice did. It takes courage to be honest with yourself about what you want. It takes courage to assert yourself—to start. Often, that first step is the hardest. If you fall off the wagon or “slip,” you can get back on track. Slipping is normal. There are days when you won’t feel like it. Remember, you can take control again. It takes just five seconds.
Just ask Kristin. She says something really important in her Instagram post—“The first step—getting out of bed—is the hardest. But so worth it.” No matter how many times you’ve exercised, starting each day is the hardest part.
Remember when I told you that I wanted you to start experimenting with the Rule by doing the Wake Up Challenge? That’s so you can experience “activation energy.” It’s the force required to start something, and that’s exactly what Kristin is referring to. And she’s right—it is so worth it. In fact, there’s nothing more worth it than learning to push yourself right past your excuses and one step closer to the life, the body, or the future you dream about.
Maybe your health challenge isn’t about the gym. Maybe it’s about something scarier, like fighting an illness. You aren’t alone and you need courage every day to heal, to live, and to stay strong. A lot of people have written about struggling with cancer and setbacks in health, wondering how they can reclaim their courage and strength to fight. The #5SecondRule is a tool that you can use to find the inner strength to face serious illness.
Greg Cheek is one heck of an inspiring guy to follow. Stage three cancer. What did he do? He’s run 10 marathons—since his diagnosis! How incredible is that?
Maybe it’s not about running marathons. Maybe health for you means being brave enough to get your annual mammogram screening done. When Amy Robach, the host of Good Morning America, was asked to have her first-ever mammogram live on-air during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, her initial internal response was no way, no how. She didn’t have any connection to the disease and didn’t want to make it look like she was trying to steal the limelight. Amy turned to Robin Roberts, a fellow anchor and a breast cancer survivor, for advice. After Amy told Robin that she had never had a mammogram, Robin replied: “Amy, that’s the whole point. Listen. Nobody knows better than I do how uncomfortable it can be having people watching you go through something medical. But the power of saving even one life is so remarkable, you’ll never regret it. And I can pretty much guarantee it will save a life. Just by you walking into that mammogram and demystifying this test, someone will find out they have cancer who wouldn’t have otherwise. Amy, 80% of women who have breast cancer have no family history.” Amy made up her mind right there, in Robin’s dressing room, and decided to have the mammogram. She went back on air weeks later to reveal that the screening she had done on live television had saved her life—she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Amy went through a double mastectomy, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and today is cancer-free.
While Amy didn’t use the #5SecondRule in her decision, she got a push from Robin during a critical moment and made a five second decision. Thank goodness she did. You may not be lucky enough to have a work colleague there to push you, but you can always give yourself that push, 5- 4- 3- 2- 1-GO.
Improving your health is all about action. You might not lose as much weight as Charlie, or run marathons like Greg, but you can push yourself to get to the dentist, to exercise, or go to the doctor for a test like a mammogram or prostate screening. When you push yourself just like so many of the people you’ve just read about, the life that you change will be your own.
Life is about the choices we make. And I have said over and over in this book that you can always choose how you act. If you have goals to get healthier, what you need to do is usually straightforward. Pick a plan to follow, any plan will do—and then 5- 4- 3- 2- 1-GO. The only thing you will need to choose after that is choosing each and every day to DO IT even though, as Anouk said, you “really really really don’t feel like it.” I said that what you need to do is simple. I didn’t say it would be easy. I promise you, it will be worth it. Exercise and health comes down to one simple rule—you don’t have to feel like it. You just have to do it.
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