Yoda is the Man (or the alien, or whatever he is) and a wise one. One of my favorite quotes is is, "Try not...do."  That's the story of my life, I didn't try, I just did. Sure, I failed a bunch, but I was so fast on the next action that trying to give up wasn't an option (and still isn't).  It wasn't always graceful or perfect and I fell on my ass most of the time but I kept grinding and climbing.

I'm a high school dropout who has a real M.B.A. and real PhD (not the degree mills). How is that possible? On top of that, I finished my B.A., M.A., M.B.A., and PhD in less than six years. When people ask me how I was able to do all this, I say the hardest part was getting started and, really, that wasn't hard because I knew what I wanted. I just needed to act.

A number of ideas have helped me along the way, but they are better articulated by these experts in motivation and happiness. We can change our lives in seconds by following any or all of these rules.

Five-Second Rule

The five-second rule is not about how long you can leave food on the ground before eating it. The five-second rule is about overcoming your brain's inertia to change to a positive direction.

According to motivational speaker and author of The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins, there is a gap between knowledge and action. If we get an idea about something that is out of our comfort zone, that is scary, or uncertain, our brain will protect us and argue us away from changing our action. The time between idea and action is a short space of about five seconds.

Wait too long and you continue on your same old path. Act quickly and something happens.

Robbins says when you encounter something that gives you fear, countdown five, four, three, two, and act by one. By counting down, you overcome your brain's habit loops. This stops the normal routine of your brain, so you can take a different action.

In effect, using the five-second rule will become a new habit loop, or a starting ritual that will give you confidence and courage to do something different. This habit will allow you to make the one decision that could change your life, by deciding to take that job, not picking that fight with a co-worker, or asking for a raise.

This rule has helped hundreds of thousands of people in 80 countries from veterans with PTSD who have used it to stop committing suicide to people getting a job.

Twenty-Second Rule

The 20-second rule is another rule that helps you take action. Created by happiness expert, Shawn Achor and author of The Happiness Advantage, the rule is intended to prevent you from going to your default habits, so you can do something that is good for you.

Everyone knows what they should do, but they don't act on it. Achor calls this: "Common Sense is not Common Action." We all know we shouldn't watch so much TV and exercise more, but this knowledge doesn't help us act when we get home from work tired and the TV is just a remote click away.

To change our lives, Achor suggests we lower the activation energy for the habits you want to adopt (having fewer steps) and raise the energy for habits you want to avoid (adding more steps).

For Achor, it worked like this. To make it easier to practice guitar, he placed his guitar on a stand in the living room close to his couch, instead of in the hall closet in its case. To stop himself from watching the TV, he took the batteries out of the remote and placed them in an area in his house that took 20 seconds or more to get to.

So when he came home at night and reached for the remote, he found it too much effort to find the batteries. Since the guitar was close at hand, he would then practice playing.

Thrity-second rule

The last rule of seconds is actually part of a larger rule called 30-30-30, with the other 30s standing for days and years.

This idea is also about getting motivated and changing your life in small increments. The basic premise of this 30-second rule is to make your goals small and achievable at the outset. Sometimes goals can seem too large or overwhelming to start.

Created by Todd Brison, the 30-30-30 rule is practice for testing new thoughts and ideas. It's about giving more time to the things you love and less to the things you do not.

Brison suggests that on the first day, you do 30 seconds of something you really like or want to try out and do 30 seconds less of something you don't want to do. Then each day, you add on another 30 seconds. The longer you do the activity, the more you will know if it is worthwhile doing (or removing).

When you're more daring, you move the trial up to 30 days. Then ask yourself the question, "Would I want to be doing this for 30 years?" This will help you evaluate what tasks to keep and what to change.

Changing your life is all about getting started. And it only takes a few seconds to get started.

Published on: Apr 6, 2018
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