Hesitation: The Mind’s Quicksand

Happy New Year! 

With the new year, I have made a couple of resolutions to improve my life. I do this every year, and each year I have mixed results. I attribute my mixed results to the fact that I used to wait on inspiration to take action. Perhaps you know the feeling. Inspiration is great when you are all fired up about something, but what happens when that emotion fades? We end up slowly migrating back to our old habits…back to our comfort zone. Not this year. Not for me and not for you!

It ends up that waiting on motivation or inspiration to strike is a terrible bet. It is a losing proposition for long term change. Emotions change day in and day out, so waiting on or riding a fleeting emotion is not sustainable. If you want to change your life, you must build better habits. 

How do you build better habits? Action. Yes, take action….but act now… don’t delay!

Here is some science for you (outlined from the book noted below): We have roughly five seconds to act on a thought before our mind begins to kill it off. Should we take action in the first five seconds, our brain will work really hard at doing the “new” thing. However, if we deliberate beyond five seconds, we are geared to shut it down and figure out ways not to do it. It is the brain’s way of protecting itself since the “new” things are unknown.

He who hesitates is lost….we have five seconds to get our butt in gear! Please test it out and see what happens when you wait.

How did I come across this information? Well, the universe responded to my observances and thoughts after watching my son attempt obstacles at our American Ninja Warrior gym. One Saturday, midway through his session, I began to notice how he approached every new obstacle. He would square up to it, take a deep breath, clap his hands once, and go full speed at it. I chuckled at first when I noticed this, but it was strangely mesmerizing.

The clapping of the hands triggers he picked up from me. Watching him made me analyze how I routinely shift mindsets to go after things. When I call my kids to come inside, I will get their attention by finishing my statement with a clap of the hands (“Let’s go guys!” *CLAP*). At work, getting ready to teach a class, I would have some internal pump up dialogue and one big clap (yes, even at work). At table tennis, right before starting a match ….yep, I clap. Clapping signifies that the thinking is done, and it is now time to get done to business.

The following Monday, I came across and listened to a Podcast with Mel Robbins, the author of the book: The Five-Second Rule. Listening to her, I was blown away by her own story and by the science she had behind it. It was like the universe was emphasizing my Saturday thoughts that I was really onto something. Suppose you would like to listen to the podcast, click here. If you want to check out this book (I am mid-way through), click here.

Since that day, I have been putting the five-second rule to work. Habits are changing, and I am getting more done than I ever have before. As my habits are changing, the frequency of happiness, contentment, and inspiration is also changing…I experience them more often.

Action is the key to any sustainable change. Action rewires the brain. Even the smallest action is one step closer to your goal than you were before. Actions that “fail” is still better than the action you failed to take.

So I wish you success in this new year and when you have that great thought that enters your brain…start the stopwatch…you have five seconds to begin to make it a reality. Let’s go! *Clap*

Be well


Photo by Veri Ivanovo via Unsplash

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