There are some things we’d all rather not do. Running on the treadmill. Revising for that exam. Making that phone call. And even though we realise that doing these things will make our lives better, somehow we still resist. How can we trick our brains into doing things we don’t feel like?
Stop Waiting for Motivation
Bestselling author Mel Robbins says that motivation is garbage. After all, it’s never there when we need it. She says “You can truly trace every problem or complaint in your life to silence and hesitation. You get trapped in what I call the knowledge-action gap. You know what to do, but you can’t seem to make yourself do it.”
What’s the Trick?
The Five Second Rule– but not the one about eating food off the floor. She says that when we have an impulse to do something, we generally have 5 seconds to intervene before our brains sabotage our idea.
Most of us live our lives in autopilot, or living out of habit. And when behaving out of habit, we tend to reject new ideas and ways of doing things to protect the status-quo and ourselves by extension. This causes us to lose functioning in our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain used for decision-making, planning and working towards goals.
And so, the best way to change habits is to activate our prefrontal cortex. This is where the five-second rule comes in. By counting backwards 5-4-3-2-1, you push yourself out of autopilot which turns on your prefrontal cortex, giving you control over your decisions so you can implement new ideas and ways of doing things.
When to Use It?
Whenever you feel you’re hesitating- be it to make a phone call or get up and dance to the band, you should interrupt your thinking process by counting backwards from 5. It’ll be just enough to get you to interrupt any overthinking and awaken your prefrontal cortex so you can take action.
And this method has helped countless people regain control over their lives- including Mel, seeing her hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to becoming a successful author, life coach and motivational speaker.
To conclude, the best way to trick yourself to do something you don’t feel like but you know you should is to snap yourself out of autopilot by counting backwards from 5.