Is there something about building a business as a health coach that makes you overthink everything and hesitate to take action? Countless reasons exist as to why we get in our own way while pursuing our dreams—and I’ve shared several key strategies for tackling those hesitations head-on.

Today, we’re getting down to the essentials with one specific strategy that will help you make quicker instinctual decisions, and take more control over your life as you pursue your dreams. It’s called The 5-Second Rule by life coach Mel Robbins.

Millions of people all over the world are using Mel’s 5-Second Rule to overcome their fears, build confidence and pride in the life they are creating, and stop overthinking things so they can align their actions with their deepest motivations.

Why We Need This Rule:

Before I tell you exactly what the rule is, it’ll help if I first explain why we need it. It starts with our big, intelligent, human brains that cause us to overanalyze everything. Let’s use an example you may be experiencing now:

What happens when you first have the idea to acquire your health coaching certification or change careers? Different regions of the brain start signaling back and forth to process all of the emotions and possibilities related to the new idea. What starts as brief excitement will often be followed by thoughts like, “That’s too risky.” And the more you try to reason with this fear—“How can I make this possible? What if I can’t pull it off? Now is not the right time.”—the more you allow your analytical brain to talk you out of it.

Coach and Author Mel Robbins says, “When you stop and think, when you hesitate, and when you feel uncertain, you are signaling to your brain that something’s wrong. Your brain automatically goes into overdrive to protect you.”

In an ideal scenario, your super-intelligent human brain works together with your super-primal survival brain, and together they help you move towards your goal. That sure sounds optimal, doesn’t it? But far too often, your survival brain will take over, causing you to ignore and avoid the very things that can help you achieve your goal.

Amid all this uncertainty, inside your brain, lies a gut-driven impulse to become a health coach. Those gut feelings—the kinds we’ve all experienced at important times like these—are one of our most primal and trustworthy instincts.

“Your instincts are these urges. They are the ‘knowing’ that you should do something even if you don’t ‘feel’ like doing it,” says Mel…

“The [5-Second] Rule is about pushing yourself even when you don’t want to. It’s about taking control of your own life, one push at a time.”

So why do we let our brains chatter so much and stop us from doing things that are good for us? Because we are hardly aware that it’s happening. We believe that “thinking” about an idea will lead us to the wiser decision…but wisdom is not born from thinking; it’s born from experiencing.

How the Rule Works:

“The 5-Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.

The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule.

When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO [in your head] and move towards action.

There is a window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change, and your mind killing it. It’s a 5-second window. And it exists for everyone.”

If you do not take physical action, your mind will talk you out of it. Why? Because your mind always chooses the path of least resistance—the one that relates more closely to lessons from past experiences (read: the least threatening path).

Using The 5-Second Rule helps to spark forward motion, and build immediate momentum, before your thoughts and excuses take over.

Your mind will always give you a million reasons why you should take the easy route, and you’ll think to yourself, “Maybe next time when I’m more motivated.” But motivation never comes without momentum, and THAT’S what the 5-second rule gives you. Momentum.

The hardest part is starting. The rule works every single time, as long as you use it and take action—physically move—right after you say “1.”

The Science:

There’s some legitimate science to back up this concept. When we use the rule, we cultivate something called an “Internal Locus of Control,” a concept established by Julian B. Rotter in 1954, which means you believe that you can control events in your life by way of your own efforts.

Mel explains that using the rule begins to increase your own bias for action—meaning, you take action on your ideas—and THAT is how you increase your internal locus of control.

Experience the instinct > use the rule > ride the motivation > increase your feelings of control.

Refreshing, isn’t it?

There’s more: when you snap your brain out of autopilot, or habit loops that are fear-driven, we build what scientists call authentic pride:

“…the type of pride that is fueled by personal confidence and success. New research from the University of British Columbia says that ‘authentic pride’ can be one of our biggest motivators to crush our goals. So, as you feel more pride in yourself, you become even more motivated to keep pushing in the direction of your goals and dreams,” explains Mel Robbins.

Use the Rule to…

Beat Procrastination:

Do you beat yourself up over procrastination?

“Procrastination is not a reflection of your attitude or work ethic…procrastination is actually a behavior meant to help us cope with stress. Whatever we are putting off is linked to something that is stressing us. Naturally, if you’re stressed, you want to escape the stressor,” Mel said in an Inc.com interview.

What if next time you recognize yourself in a moment of procrastination, you just count backward from “5” and move on “1”? You’ll take action and override the inner voice that usually stops you. Easy does it.

Ask for the Sale or Opportunity:

Maybe you noticed that you’re too timid about promoting yourself as a coach; you hardly tell others about your business, and you don’t feel comfortable asking for a sale or opportunity. I get it. I’ve been there many times.

Just a few months ago I was chatting with someone who worked for a company I envisioned myself collaborating with. I wanted to offer my services, but I wasn’t sure if I should bring it up to this person, or at this time. In response to my gut instinct, I used the 5-second rule to speak up and say, “I’d love to talk with your team about health coaching and how that can help with your business’s mission.”

Weeks later I heard from the CEO and they asked me to come on board. How cool is that?

This may also come in handy when you’re making small talk, and an acquaintance asks what you do for a living. You say “I’m a health coach,” and you leave it at that. What if, then, you count backward from “5” and go into your new elevator pitch? Turning it into a more intriguing conversation, you inquire, “Do you know someone who’s eager to make changes with their health? I’d be happy to speak with them and see if I can be of service.”

If you never ask, you might never receive.

The 5-Second Rule is a way to use mindfulness, or metacognition, to influence your thinking patterns and almost trick your brain into doing what’s best. It will help you both in achieving your own goals and in coaching clients to do the same. I highly recommend that you try the audible version of Mel’s book because she crushed it on the narration; you’ll feel like she’s coaching you the entire way.

Ready to become one of the world’s most trusted, experienced and knowledgeable health coaches? Get certified as a Primal Health Coach.

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