After 4 years of coaching over 150 students into healthier habits I’ve realized the difference between those who are successful at making changes from those who stay stuck. People who change have what’s psychologists call a bias to action. These are the self-starters, the go-getters, the action-takers. These are the ones who jump in feet first and commit wholeheartedly.
In her highly entertaining and practical book The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins explains that when we have an impulse to do something that leads to our goals, we have 5 seconds before we get in our own way and hijack ourselves with an onslaught of perfectly good excuses, hesitations, worries and fears. In order to stop this from happening we can apply the 5 second rule: count backwards from 5–4–3–2–1 — go! On go, you must take action immediately.
When you count backwards you turn on your prefrontal cortex — the part of your brain in charge of future-thinking, planning and logical thinking. It’s the part of our brain that understands that in order to get what we want, we need to take aligned action. Not just think about it, talk about it, wish for it — but actually do something about it.
This practice turns off fear and turns on courage. It helps you stop procrastinating and start creating momentum.
Your behaviors determine your identity. As you continuously take action and change your behaviors you build confidence in your abilities to make things happen. You develop trust in yourself. You create a new identity of someone who can achieve the goals you set for yourself.
This forward momentum starts to gain traction and you begin to enjoy the fruits of your actions. You start to become the person you know you’re capable of.
I’ve seen this play out in my students and in myself. This is what separates those who accomplish their desires and manifest their dreams, from those who don’t. The one’s that do don’t let limiting beliefs or negative self-talk hold them back. They still experience resistance and self-doubt — they just choose to ignore it. They decide what it is they want and take the first step.
A bias to action is a habit. Like any habit, it’s one you can develop with practice and repetition. It’s a way of being that defines what you do and ultimately determines who you become.
The next time you have a brilliant idea or are faced with a choice you know will lead you to what you really want, count: 5–4–3–2–1 — GO! And step forward into growth.