The last few weeks our Wellness Wednesday message has focused on being stuck, listening to the voice of our saboteurs, and overcoming resistance to change. It may seem like getting unstuck, quieting our saboteurs, and overcoming resistance requires a monumental effort. Although that may be true in certain situations, we may possess a power that makes change easier than we think.

I wanted to get up Friday morning at 7:00. When the alarm went off, I hit the snooze button. Ten minutes later I hit it again. Frustrated by my inability to get up earlier, I started my day on the wrong foot. I felt that same frustration later that day when I wanted to go for a bike ride, but stayed glued to the couch.

Had I listened to Mel Robbins, who shares in her book The 5 Second Rule how we can fight the voice in our head that says, “Go back to sleep” or “You can get exercise tomorrow,” I would have experienced a more enjoyable and productive day. Fortunately, Mike Nead from our Top 20 team reminded me of the Power of Choice and how we can use Robbins’ 5 Second Rule to focus and override limiting or self-defeating thoughts in our brain.

Have your ever wondered why announcers count down before they start a broadcast? Yes, they count down for timing, but also because it is a way to focus and clear the brain. Counting down creates a sense of urgency and is like a rocket blasting off (but in your nervous system). Scientists would explain the countdown phenomena as breaking into the frontal cortex and manipulating the control panel. It is very effective on small children who might ignore “please” to do a task, but as soon as you begin counting down you suddenly have their full attention. “All right, you’ve got 5 seconds to brush your teeth. 5-4-3-2-1.” It’s certainly more effective than yelling.

Although skeptical, I tried it. As I reached for the snooze button when my alarm went off Saturday morning, I said, “5-4-3-2-1.” As I jumped out of bed, I decided to bike two miles to my grandsons’ baseball game later that morning. When my brain told me it would be easier to drive, I gave it another “5-4-3-2-1” and hopped on my bike.

Supposedly, the 5 Second Rule is a way to break old habits like worry or self-doubt. Golfers use the rule to focus before they hit a putt. We might try it when we are hesitant to have a tough conversation, doing an undesirable task, or moving outside our comfort zone. We might find a way to quiet a negative mental thought or the courage to address a challenge and make an important and critical connection.

This week my goal is to lose three pounds. I’m going to use the rule to say ‘No’ to ice cream. I’ll report my results in next week’s Wellness Wednesday.

Is there a situation in your life where you might experiment with the 5 Second Rule? Next time you need a little nudge, try this little trick. It will only take 5 seconds.

Best wishes from our Top 20 team…Willow Sweeney, Kevin Brennan, and Tom Cody…who often nudge me when I need it.

Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training