The 5 Second Rule Summary (Plus PDF)

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

The 5 Second Rule simply gives you the power to achieve whatever you dream of, the less you procrastinate, the closer you get to your dreams. Mel Robbins, author of The 5 Second Rule will teach you the formula to live a happier life and achieve more in less time.

Let’s say,

You decided to do exercise at 5:00 PM but when the time came, you said to yourself, I don’t feel like doing exercise today, I will start tomorrow. Now to decide whether to do exercise or not, your mind will only take 5 seconds.

It’s not only about exercise, your mind will always choose comfort rather than hard work. So you have to have a strong reason to do exercise or anything else, otherwise, you will never win a war against yourself.

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The 5-Second Rule Summary

“Hesitation is the kiss of death. You might hesitate for a nanosecond, but that’s all it takes. That one slight hesitation triggers a mental system that’s designed to stop you. And it happens in less than—you guessed it—five seconds.”

Whenever you hesitate to do something, start counting 5-4-3-2 and when you reach 1, start doing your work otherwise, you will skip whatever task you had, and your mind will create tons of excuses to skip the task and will focus on unnecessary stuff.

The human brain will always find ways to focus on unnecessary stuff because that’s what we want, whether to watch movies, play games, go out with friends, or scroll through social media.

The key is to always focus on what you want to achieve and see the destruction. I know things won’t always go as planned but if you believe in something, you will find a way out.

The 5 Second Rule has taught me quite of things about myself and today, I will try to convey whatever I have learned from Mel Robbins in a compact way.

I’m keeping my promise, this is the mini-ebook of The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. So download right now and read wherever you want for free. Happy Reading.

Five Seconds to Change Your Life

When you set a goal, your brain opens up a task list. Whenever you’re near things that can help you achieve those goals, your brain fires up your instincts to signal to get that goal completed.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you have a goal to get healthier. If you walk into a living room, nothing happens. If you walk past a gym, however, your prefrontal cortex lights up because you are near something related to getting healthier.

As you pass the gym, you’ll feel like you should exercise. That’s an instinct reminding you of the goal. That’s your inner wisdom, and it’s important to pay attention to it, no matter how small or silly that instinct may seem.

The same goes for Coffee as well,

Subconsciously, my brain was signaling me to pay attention to a Coffee. In that five-second moment, my brain was sending me a very clear set of instructions:

Pay attention to that refrigerator, Rahul. Grab the idea. Believe in it. And do it. Don’t stop and think. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Just go to the kitchen and make Coffee right now, just do it…

When it comes to goals, dreams, and changing your life, your inner wisdom is a genius. Your goal-related impulses, urges, and instincts are there to guide you. You need to learn to bet on them.

To get out of the trap, how important is exercise, and how important is watching a new movie? Now, we all know that exercise is important but most of the time, we tend to choose movies because we have wired ourselves this way.

So try learning about your health and give single to your brain that exercise is way more important than anything else.

So when next when you have to choose between a movie and exercise, you will always choose exercise because that’s what you believe in.

Game of Nanosecond

Every time we have a decision to make, we subconsciously tally all the pros and cons of our choices and then make a gut call, based on how we feel. This happens in a nanosecond. That’s why none of us catches it.

For example, when you ask yourself the question, “What do I want to eat?” you are actually asking yourself, “What do I feel like eating?”

Similarly, I wasn’t asking, “Should I get up?” Subconsciously, I was asking, “Do I feel like getting up?”

I wasn’t asking, “Do I want to walk over to her?” Subconsciously I was asking, “Do I feel like walking over to her?”

Huge difference. And that explains why change is hard. Logically, we know what we should do, but our feelings about doing it make our decision for us.

You must learn how to separate what you feel from the actions that you take.

  • The moment you feel too tired, you’ll decide not to go for a run, but 5- 4- 3- 2- 1- GO, and you could make yourself go for one
  • If you don’t feel like attacking the to-do list on your desk, you won’t, but 5- 4- 3- 2- 1-GO, and you can force yourself to start working on it.
  • If you don’t feel worthy, you’ll decide not to tell him what you really think, but 5- 4- 3- 2- 1-GO, and you can make yourself say it.

In the end, you will have to change your mindset and habits as well otherwise, no matter how many books you read or How many motivational videos you watch, nothing will work till you become aware of your actions.

Get Better

If you can take care of Health, productivity, and procrastination then you will able to do anything. So let’s explore them.


Why is getting healthy so hard? You already know the answer—your feelings.

If you feel deprived of bread, you won’t stick to your gluten-free diet. The second you consider how you feel about eating salad for the next 113 days, you’ll convince yourself not to do it.

The moment you scan today’s workout and consider how you feel about doing three sets of 45 burpees with a bunch of people in a parking lot—you won’t feel like walking out the door and going.

Related: Dopamine Detox Experience

The fact is that thinking about being healthier won’t make you healthier. Even meditation, which is a mental exercise, still requires that you DO IT. There is no getting around this. You must take action.

I don’t know who said this but it’s very powerful, it goes like “Thinking about doing work will take more energy compared to doing work”

This applies to every single thing if you want to do exercise, don’t ask yourself, just do it.


Productivity can be boiled down to one word—FOCUS.

There are two types of focus you need to master productivity:

  • First, the ability to manage distractions so that you can focus moment-to-moment on the task at hand.
  • Second is the skill of focusing on what’s truly important to you in the big picture, so you don’t waste your day on stupid stuff.

You must decide that distractions are not good. Interruptions of any sort are the kiss of death for your productivity. Research shows open office spaces are a nightmare for focus.

Checking email can become an addiction because of what behavioral researchers call “random rewards.” You have to decide that your goals are more important than push notifications. It’s that simple.

I would highly recommend you to read Make a Time, it is one of the best books written on Time. It will for sure change the way you see time.


Destructive procrastination is an entirely different animal. It’s when we avoid the work we need to get done and know there will be negative consequences. This habit really comes back to bite you in the end.

A common mistake we all make is thinking that people make a deliberate choice to procrastinate.

In fact, most people who struggle with procrastination tell researchers that they feel like they have no control over it. And they are right because they don’t understand the real reason why we procrastinate.

We procrastinate because we feel stressed out. Here’s the catch…you aren’t stressed about the work. You are stressed about the bigger stuff: money, relationship problems, or life in general.

Related: 15 Must-Read Books in Life

When you blow off work or study for 15 minutes of online shopping or watching the highlights of last night’s game, you are taking a mini stress break from the bigger stress you feel overall.

It’s like emotional eating for the mind.

When you avoid something that feels hard, you get a sense of relief. Plus, when you do something you enjoy, like surfing Facebook or laughing at viral videos, you get a short-term boost of dopamine.

The more often that you procrastinate, the more likely you’ll repeat the behavior.

Here’s the problem: While you get a small boost of relief when you watch cat videos, over time the work that you are avoiding builds, and that creates more stress in your life.

The 5 Second Rule Lessons

  • Your habits are a key part of your life, so be aware of the things you’re doing because you will able to understand your mind better.
  • Procrastination happens because of fear and stress. So the next time, you delay something, ask yourself “What is the reason why I’m delaying this task over and over”.
  • The subconscious is powerful and it observes everything you do every day and takes notes of the things you like and dislike.
  • Be aware of the action you take whether it’s eating fast food, skipping exercise, or even watching p*rn.
  • It only takes one step to change yourself, so take that one step right now. Whether it’s working on your health or learning from your past mistakes.

The 5 Second Rule Quotes

“Start before you’re ready. Don’t prepare, begin.”

“You Are One Decision Away from a Completely Different Life”

“Your feelings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what you DO.”

“I have a hard time finding the balance between not beating myself up when it doesn’t happen as fast as I’d like it to, and not wasting time while I wait for it to happen.”

“Forget motivation; it’s a myth. I don’t know when we all bought into the idea that in order to change you must “feel” eager or “feel” motivated to act. It’s complete garbage. The moment it’s time to assert yourself, you will not feel motivated. In fact, you won’t feel like doing anything at all.”

“Whatever is happening right now, this is it. This is your life. And it’s not going to begin again. You can’t change the past, but in five seconds you can change your future.”

“If you want to make your dreams come true, get ready for the long game.”

The 5 Second Rule Review

It is another generic self-help book that talks about habits but with a different perspective. So is The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins worth your time? the answer is NO, you can skip it.

Our Score

Mel Robbins has attached tons of images from social who have tried the 5 Second Rules and all of them are real people.

This was my biggest problem, I don’t want to read about someone who has tried this rule on every single page, I’m okay with one example in each chapter and that was the reason why in the middle of it, I was feeling kind of bored.

Also, Mel Robbins was repeating the “when I discovered the 5 Seconds Rule, this and that happened with me” which I didn’t find very useful while reading, it was kind of annoying after three chapters along with those social media images.

In a single line, Mel Robbins tells you, that you should focus on what matters in life and if you don’t feel like doing an important task, count 5-4-3-2-1, this will force you to work on your dreams.

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