We are always scared to stretch and step out of our comfort zones. We’re afraid to do what we need to do.
For me, I have scary moments whenever I’m about to write a blog post, write research work, eat healthy and choosing to look great.
I’m not sure why I feel scared. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m scared. But, I’m slowly realizing I hesitate when I have to do something hard or uncertain (at least for me).
For example, yesterday I wanted to write a blog post. I was about to crack open my journal to brainstorm the post when I saw a Will Smith YouTube video ‘The Best Shape of My Life’ pop up on my phone’s notifications. I hesitated to try to decide which to choose. Of course, my brain chose to watch the video and two others before I caught myself.
I should have chosen to write but that is hard work. My brain had opted for easy entertainment instead. I had given in to an emotional urge for easy.
These moments of hesitation and the subsequent choices dictate how you spend your days. Remember, how you spend your days dictate how you spend your weeks which dictate how you spend your months and year and therefore, how you spend your life.
Your good choice will never bring you regrets
I hesitated and chose a path I regretted later. I regretted the lost hour to brainstorm and write. Later that day when I caught myself from going down the YouTube rabbit hole, I wrote an entire blog post. I could have done this earlier in the day but nevertheless, I got to experience the same moment twice with two different choices and two different outcomes…one outcome I regretted and the other I emerged improved.
Now I know when faced with a moment of decision, I should think of my future self. My future self will never regret writing even a portion of a blog post. My future self will regret losing time because of a YouTube video (which led to other YouTube videos).
But you may say to me that the Will Smith videos have a lesson behind them. They do but in that moment the videos were not what I was supposed to be doing. I had thought of writing and then thought too much about the immediate urge to to watch the videos. I could have left the video as a reward for my writing/brainstorming sessions.
Regardless, you rarely regret the path that requires hard work and the bias to action. You may not like the hard work. You may have to make adjustments to your expectations on what you can accomplish but you never regret the end result of the hard work.
The question is how to get our sorry asses to do the hard work.
How to make good choices, choices for an improved future you
This is where I’m intrigued with the Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins.
The 5 second rule
Whenever you are faced with a moment when you need to take a specific action for an improved future self, count backward from 5 then go do that thing: 5-4-3-2-1 and go.
The counting backward for a specific amount of time redirects your attention to what you need to do. It is a short enough decision point that allows you to draw quickly on courage to act and it is not long enough for you to start thinking about alternative things to do or to justify giving in to easy impulsive urges.
The 5 second pause is a decision making moment when you are aware of the opportunity to create and live the life you want.
The five second break is a moment to re-engage with what you truly desire and to direct yourself away from an urge.
If you start with one and string together 5-10 five second decisions in your day and do this every day consistently, you can change your life.
Build awareness of decision moments
To make use of the 5 second rule, you need to harness your awareness. You need to become more mindful of your day and all the decision points.
In the same way we log out food and time to improve our health and productivity, spend 2-3 days logging the decision points in your day. You can use a time log to help you to do this. Each change in action is a decision point. But sometimes, inaction is a reflection of many choices to not do anything.
At the end of each day, fill out the decision log with decisions you initially forgot about. Review the logs daily.
At the end of the trial period of awareness, determine how many of the following decision points you had each day and for the entire period: choosing an improved future self choosing a destructive future self, and choosing a stuck future self.
Then, you decide if you want more of an improved future self and less of destructive or stuck future selves. Choosing an improved future self will lead to fewer regrets.
The way forward
You will never regret choosing an improved version of yourself. Use the 5 second rule to redirect your attention on your improved future self and quickly make the right choice. Then act.
You will see significant changes if you implement the 5 second rule to all areas of your life.