“There’s no right time, just right now” ~ Mel Robbins, The 5 Second Rule.
As usual, every time I start reading a new book, I get inspiration for new blog posts – and this book (The 5 Second Rule) is no different. It’s full of all sorts of gems that I can think “OMG, I totally do that!” – in fact, this book had so many of those moments, it was hard deciding on which to write about first! It was like my brain was overloaded and simply shut off… or maybe it’s just the day I’m having!
Probably the most common thing I hear regarding this quote is around babies. I used it for years after my husband and I were married – that we’re not ready for children. We need to be in a better financial position, we need more stability in our work, etc. Lots of people had a similar response; you’re never ready for children.
Now this isn’t the best example as I never wanted to bare children to begin with – as described in a previous blog post – but I have a feeling it’s one of the most common ones. I/We used it for years and then almost 10 years ago realized that maybe we simply didn’t want children! Maybe it was because we were going off our families expectations – AND societies! What do you do as soon as you get married? You have children!
If you say that “I’m not ready”, what you’re really saying is that you don’t even want to! Whether you are consciously aware of it, have a look and dig deep at the meaning behind those words.
Rachel Hollis says something similar in her books: if not now, when?
The fact is, there IS no “right time”. There will always be excuses out there. There are always more interesting things to distract you from what you want to achieve. You will always be too tired, too stressed, too grumpy… life will always be “too much” and it’ll be HARD to dig passed that to find the will to do what you know and want to do… but the hardest thing you will have to get around is your Self.
Your mind will always, always try to lead you astray because, chances are, you’re going to try to do something you’ve never done before and that will give your mind all sorts of fodder to sling at you as you try to decide if you’re going to do what it is you’re wanting to do – and it can be anything: try a new recipe, try a new restaurant, sign up for that 10k race, wear a new style, wear your hair differently, a new pair of glasses, complimenting a stranger, helping a stranger, signing up for a new class, learning a new hobby, asking someone out for coffee, saying hello to someone… anything. It can be the most trivial thing in the world or potentially the most life altering but it won’t matter! You’ll still doubt yourself. The more outside your comfort zone it takes you, the more doubt will make itself known.
I have never, ever heard anyone speak who said that everything worked out exactly how it was supposed to from the very start. Never. There will always be struggle. Things will always get in the way. Always. So, if you already know this, then you don’t have an excuse not to just go for it, right? If you’re aware there’s going to be struggle and delays then it shouldn’t be a surprise, right?
I believe part of the problem is from being raised perfectionist parents, which will either create a fearful adult where nothing you do is ever good enough so why bother try, or becoming a perfectionist adult where you won’t do anything unless everything is perfect. I am married to a fearful adult and it is such a shame. My husband is brilliant; yes, I may be biased, but everyone who meets him always tells me how wonderful of a person he is. Unfortunately, he is very critical about everything he does to the point of paralyzing fear. He has some brilliant ideas – some of which he’s been working on and thinking about for years – possibly decades!!! I can only encourage him so much, he still need to make that decision and commitment to take action. HE needs to make that first step to turn thought into action.
All you have is right now. This very moment. Not yesterday, not tomorrow – NOW. You can look back at all the things you’ve tried that haven’t turned out, but why? Are you trying to convince yourself that what you’re thinking of doing will end up alongside that pile of things not turning out? Because if that’s the case, then you don’t want (whatever) bad enough. You may turn around and say “No, I really want this!”… really? If you did, you’d stop thinking about it and get off your ass and do something about it – whatever “it” is! If you REALLY wanted to do something, you’d do it!
The good news is this is where the book, “The 5 Second Rule” comes in.
For myself, it’s been going to the gym. I’ve been wanting and trying to get back into the habit for over 8 months. Yes, I’ve been doing yoga 4-5 times a week since then, but I am missing my strength and want to increase my stamina. Things always seem to get in the way – I get sick, I’m dealing with injury, etc. which I can’t “push through”. Every Sunday evening, my husband comments “we should have gone to the gym this weekend”. Our gym is 24 hours, so there’s no excuse! At least back in Comox, the gym had hours we had to work around – here, we don’t! I often wake up an hour+ earlier than my husband. The gym is a 5-10 minute drive. There is no reason not to go!
The premise and simplicity behind the 5 second rule is this: when you think about doing something, you have 5 seconds to act on that impulse – your instinct – before your mind will start feeding you doubt to convince you not to act.
Here’s an example: The other day, on a Monday, it seemed like everything was going wrong. I went into work to check on an event I’ve been struggling with as I had to wait for someone else to action my request before I can continue and I’ve been trying to get it completed for over 3 weeks. It still wasn’t actioned that Monday morning. I sent another email – again – to ask them to get it done as it was now due. I then left to go to my physio appointment. When I was changing into my shorts, I realized I had left my umbrella on the shuttle. I went into the physio studio and started doing my stretches and exercises in preparation for my session. When my physiotherapist saw me, she came over and told me she didn’t have me that morning – I was a week early. She was able to answer some questions, though. I changed and headed back to catch the shuttle. I was hoping to get the same one to see if my umbrella was still on it but I ended up catching a different shuttle, however, when we got to a certain stop, there’s usually about a 5-10 minute wait and the shuttle I took to get to my appointment was there, so I asked about my umbrella – it was there! I got back to work and my 3+ week old request was completed. I went for lunch and when I got back, my computer locked me out. As I sat on hold, after 30 minutes, it allowed me to log on. At this point, I wanted to throw in the towel for the day. I sent my husband a text saying I wanted to put on some PJ’s and veg all evening. When it was finally time to leave, all I wanted was to make it home and get into pj’s. I rode the bus home, no incident. As I got off my bus for the ½ block walk home, the first few fat drops of rain started to fall. I got wet but I didn’t really care except that wet jeans suck. As I contemplated changing into pj’s, I realized that all my comfie stuff was upstairs and I simply didn’t want to expend the effort, but the clean laundry baskets were still downstairs which had my workout gear so I put on my workout pants to get out of my wet jeans. When my husband got home from work we had a quick chat about our days and I made the split second decision to go to the gym – after all, my art was drying, I couldn’t continue until it was – and I was already dressed. I ended up going to the gym and having one of the best workouts in a long time.
After I decided to go to the gym, I cursed Mel Robbins and her stupid book. In the past (like, 10 days prior to this day) I would have gone home from work and stayed home. Yes, I may have been productive at home doing either painting or cleaning, but I used the 5 second rule to change my habit.
You know what? The past is exactly that – it’s passed. That time is gone and the only time left is right now. I could allow my past to rule my now and my future, or I can rewrite my now which will move my life in a new direction. My health and fitness aren’t where I want them to be – I don’t like how winded I get doing relatively simple things and I don’t like how my strength has decreased over the last year. So if I don’t actively start taking the initiative, those areas will continue getting worse and it’ll be harder to regain. Even though I’m not allowed to run, there’s still things I can be doing until I am able to do it.
Changing habits is hard – especially if you’re in a habit of procrastination like I’ve been. There’s things I’ve been “meaning to do” for months – but I haven’t gotten around to it. Not because it’s difficult, but because I’ve been in this habit for so long. Now that I’m aware of it, I hope I can start crossing things off my list.
If you’re struggling with procrastinating – and even anxiety – get this book. You won’t be disappointed.