By Rositsa Dorovska
Just recently I read the TV anchor Mel Robin‘s bestseller, “The 5 second rule“. Although I’m not a fan of self improvement literature, I gave it a try, because I like the concept. It seems especially useful now when we are approaching the new year and ’tis the season’ of resolutions and challenges for the upcoming 12 months ahead. Nevertheless, these promises often last as long, as the holidays, sometimes. Afterwards, we often experience a drop in motivation and determination. The main idea of the book, for those who haven‘t read it, is a method to overcome the procrastination, the indecisiveness and the feelings failure, on a daily basis. From the small tasks, we are postponing, through the fear of trying new things, accomplishing new ideas, to the establishment of life-changing habits.
What you need to maintain a successful lifestyle, according to the book and the real-life stories, represented inside, is only 5 seconds away. Obviously, this is the time gap between being struck by a great idea, innovation, desire to act, and the moment, when your inner voice would appear and demoralise you for so many reasons – shame, lack of confidence, low self-esteem. You have these 5 seconds, either to act or to abstain from any change, even if that change is for good. Moving forward is always a choice and the obstacles are our own prejudices and fears, in most of the cases. Whether it is about something small, like cleaning the closet on time, meeting a deadline for sending an article (with love to my dear editor) or doubts to submit it at all, due to insecurity, or it‘s a matter of major significance – a decision to relocate, to marry someone, or decide to finally divorce them, to give up on a life-threatening, bad habit, like any addiction.
As I mentioned, this is not a book recommendation. My point is to open up about the difficulties we are all facing, with ourselves. Very often we tend to blame the others, the weather, the bad boss or colleague, but it‘s our reaction to the problems, that really matters. And it‘s good to think about it now, on the edge of one outgoing year, when we are traditionally pledging to change something.
Leave your actions to speak, not your words
To give a twist on the 5-second rule, I can add some advice from personal experience: Keep the shout-out for dessert! Sharing plans with our close circle is normal human behaviour, we are all craving for approval, at the end of the day. But the energy of others’ expectations, can be really tough on one‘s motivation and performance. Not to mention the negative expectations, driven by envy or underestimation. So, if you have big ideas in mind, keep them for yourself, at least, at the beginning.
How to use the first 5 seconds immediately
Type down your goal, this is the fastest way to reach them. It‘s proven, that the smart ones are making notes, whilst, the rest are memorizing. Those trendy bullet journals are not only for decoration, use them purposely.
It‘s all about creating a routine
To boost your creativity, sometimes you need just a trivial schedule, to stick with. Repetition is the mother of learning. This works for our general productivity and for our daily habits, as well. You may not feel like working out or eating healthy today, but if you did it yesterday, and last week, or during the whole month, you will get used to that lifestyle. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but probably much more time is needed for a significant change.
Persistent not perfect
Perfection is unattainable, however, even for the perfectionists. Rather be persistent and avoid the distraction from focusing on your priorities.
Small steps do matter
You will be surprised to observe the reflection of the small, messed up areas of your life onto the bigger picture. Once you sort them out, you will feel more organized and confident. Mel Robbins’s book gives many examples, like getting up on time, instead of snoozing, afterwards delaying, then missing deadlines, working extra hours, instead of spending quality time with family and friends, neglecting your health… Now imagine the opposite – waking up on time… I suggest you could continue with the next steps by yourself. It‘s all up to us!