Your alarm rings. You reach over and hit the snooze button. Repeat(edly). Is this you? According to Sleep Review, that’s the case for over half of you reading this post.
In their 2014 survey they found that 57% of Americans (and 70% of Brits) were snoozers, admit to staying in bed more than 5 minutes every morning and were still tired when they finally woke up.
Prior to 2013, that would have described me in the morning. Not anymore.
Because I had been a serious life-long snooze-button-hitter up to that time (often 30 minutes), deciding to change was daunting. I think it gave me an idea of what it must be like for a smoker when he or she decides to quit- a little bit of nervous excitement and a lot of fear…..of failing yet again.
You Snooze, You Lose
The motivation to make a switch came after reading the chapter in Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s book Buried Treasure entitled “The Dangers of the Snooze Button” . There’s a lot there and the two realities that struck me the most about hitting the snooze button were that we:
- make our first action of the day to procrastinate.
- limit our day by surrendering to our physical desires.
To my surprise, I was successfully made the change from hitting the snooze button to jumping out of bed immediately from day 1. It was much easier than I thought and I’ve only hit my snooze button twice in the last 3.5 yrs.
I hadn’t thought too much about why I was successful with it and failed all the other times until l read Mel Robbins’ book “The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage.” I saw right away that I had used the 5 Second Rule without knowing what it was, which shows how simple and effective it can be. The other good news is that works with about anything we want to take action on or change in our life. Jumping out of bed first thing in the morning is a good place to start.
What’s the 5 Second Rule?
Simply this: the moment the time comes or you have an instinct to act on a goal or item, you count backwards “5-4-3-2-1” and then move. Both counting as well as moving are critical. Counting backwards (forward doesn’t work) interrupts your default self-preservation and pleasure mode of thinking and opens a channel for your mind to think in a different direction. When you couple backward counting with movement your physiology changes, your mind falls in line and you get the activation energy you need to make things that are tough for you happen.
Unlike planning and contemplative executive decision making, our decision to buy as well as act in the moment are driven predominately by emotion and not cognition. In fact, once you’ve planned and decided to do something courageous or difficult, thinking about it more when it comes time to take action makes it less likely you’ll actually do it! Instead, you’ll hesitate, have just enough time to go into flight, fight, faint or freeze mode which then gives your brain enough time to think of a million ways to justify not doing it (i.e. make excuses). It’s the kiss of death to change efforts.
How Does It work?
There are over 10 cognitive behavioral principles related to change that are leveraged in some for or fashion for any change effort to be successful. If you want the detail, Mel Robbins’ blog does a great job of elucidating these change principles with brief text and diagrams as well as a video if you have time to watch. The great thing about the 5 Second Rule is that it’s a simple, single technique that impacts all of these. In essence, it’s a “starting ritual” that allows us to leverage our neurophysiology in a way that serves instead of sabotages our own best interests.
Here are two other beautiful things about the 5 Second Rule:
- Repeat it often enough and your change efforts become habit, so no more backward counting to get off the dime.
- It has an overflow effect and begins to show up almost automatically in other areas you hadn’t thought of as well as when you need to take action most.
Using the 5-second rule first thing in the morning can help you overcome the resistance that holds you in bed and that holds you back in the other moments that matter most.
We all have our own “Why’s” for what we want to change. Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan gave us the What. The 5 Second Rule gives the “How” to get moving. And while the Rule doesn’t necessarily make things easy, it does make things happen. Especially first thing in the morning, which is a great place to start.
If you used the 5-second rule to pop out of bed tomorrow morning, how much more time and energy would you gain? If you’re one of the ~25% who don’t hit the snooze button at all, what’s your greatest challenge or opportunity to leverage the Rule with?
Please leave a comment and let me know how it’s going for you….count backward from 5 if you need to.