March 22, 2022

The 5-Second Rule / Books for Writers


Please Note: I’m taking a break from social media and all things for the month of March, so my replies to comments and return visits to bloggers will be delayed. I will get to it eventually, though. Promise. Thanks for your understanding! 

You can read The 5-Second Rule for the reading challenge for writers I’m hosting called Read With Fey. You can join it on The StoryGraph here. But you don’t have to be on The StoryGraph to participate! Check out all the details here: Read With Fey: Challenge For Writers


Image by Chrys Fey


FYI: The 5-Second Rule is exactly what it sounds like. You literally say/think “5- 4- 3- 2- 1,” meaning you countdown, and then you use that as momentum (like a rocket blasting off) to do something, like whatever you are procrastinating doing. 

While reading Chapter Two, I already recognized the benefit in using the 5-Second Rule to get me to do the things I've always wanted to pick up and turn into a habit but I was too busy or too tired to too lazy or too...

This tool doesn't only have to be used for a daily habit; it can be used spontaneously, too, especially in those moments when you need courage: like asking for that promotion, looking for a new/better job, sending a query letter, submitting a story, hitting "publish" on Amazon. The potential for this tool is endless and can be used by writers in many ways.

Even 5- 4- 3- 2- 1- Butt in seat.


I'd like to share one warning that's not discussed in the book.

5- 4- 3- 2- 1- BURNOUT!

Don't let the 5-Second Rule burn you out. 

As someone who has gotten burned out and suffered for it, I can see how someone obsessed with this tool and the results of it could overdo it and burn themselves out. 

I mean, in the very same Chapter Two where I recognized the benefits, I also recognized the possible danger. Mel Robbins talked about how her husband used the Rule to meet with dozens of advisors and "worked day and night." She described the "grit, hustle, and commitment" and said that he and his partner "pushed, pushed, and pushed some more."

And they probably burned themselves out or came pretty damn close to it.

So, definitely use it to get you to do those things you always put off or would like to do (e.g. meditate, exercise), as well as the things that require courage that you truly want to do, but attention to your body.

While your brain can stop you and hold you back, as Mel says, you need to be in tune with the rest of your body. This is called embodiment and is not discussed in this book. Be in tune with your body at all times so you can use this tool wisely and at the right time.

Image taken of a page from the book
The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Yes, this tool is great for cultivating those habits of exercising when you should or waking up on time and going for the opportunities that present themselves to you before fear can make you back down, but I also believe it can be used this way:

5- 4- 3- 2- 1- REST DAY.

5- 4- 3- 2- 1- LET'S RELAX.

5- 4- 3- 2- 1- COMPUTER OFF.

For those of us who do-do-do and never pause although we know deep down we should slow down, take a break, or even a day or two off, this strategy above could be not only life-changing but life-saving.

Rest is extremely important to our overall being. We're so caught up in hustle culture that a tool that could make us hustle more (Mel used the word "hustle" to describe what her husband had done) could be used instead to give ourselves the permission we seem to require, especially women, to take breaks and rest when we need to and when we should.

If you listen to your body and detect the signs that you need to rest (for a day, a weekend, or even a week), this tool can be what you need to actually get yourself to rest before you wind up exhausting yourself straight to the ER.

In fact, you could use it daily for breaktime. Set your alarm for a break and instead of ignoring it and continuing to work, try: 5- 4- 3- 2- 1- BREAKTIME!

Interestingly, the very next paragraph where Mel described how her husband "pushed and pushed and pushed some more," she gives us a wonderful example for how the Rule can be used to redirect our thoughts when our Inner Critic (my wording) starts to get very loud. I loved this because at the time when I was reading this book I was doing healing work for my anxiety. Stopping and countering negative thoughts is a big part of what I was learning to do. The idea of using the Rule for this made sense to me. It's the perfect way to force our thoughts to STOP (with the countdown) and then replace our low-vibe thoughts that bring us down with high-vibe thoughts that lift us up.

Image taken of a page from the book
The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

At first, I was skeptical of Chapter Thirteen "End Anxiety" because Mel's example  of using the Rule to reframe (trick) your mind was: 5- 4- 3- 2- 1- I'm excited. I personally thought combining the Rule with mantras to help with anxiety would be better.

For Example:

5- 4- 3- -2- 1- I'm okay.

5- 4- 3- -2- 1- I'm safe.

5- 4- 3- -2- 1- I'm strong.

But then I repeated "I'm excited" in my head and actually started to feel giddy. So maybe her way does work but mine could, too. If I remember, I'll try them both (at different times) and see which method works better for me.

What I love about the Rule is that you can use it to suit your own specific needs, whatever they may be.


On Mel Robbin's website, she offers 31 mentoring sessions to go along with this book after you read it. When you sign up, you get an email with access to 31 videos to continue to do the work. Sign up here:

Mel also offers free PDF downloads that are companion workbooks for her published books, including journaling sample pages. You can find them here:

And she has a 35-day mindset reset program that you can sign up for. Just like with the 31 mentoring sessions, you'll get an email with access to the 35 videos. Sign up here:

QUESTIONS: Do you ever struggle to take the next step or to take action, perhaps because you’re nervous, scared, anxious, or need a boost of courage? Where in your life could you possibly use the 5-Second Rule?

Let me know if you sign up or download any of Mel's free content. I did!


  1. I don't understand what this five second rule is. I suppose I should read the book :)

    1. Really? LOL You literally say/think 5- 4- 3- 2- 1- and then do something, like whatever you are procrastinating doing.

      But the book is good. I do recommend it.

  2. Hi Chrys - what a great book ... but I can sufficiently see what she's saying and you're hooked into with this approach to life. I definitely need to get on and activate this idea ... just got lazy with the times, after a few years of non-stop dealing with things ... now - thanks for this ... excellent idea - great post. Thinking of you both - cheers Hilary

    1. If you try the 5-second rule, you’ll have to let me know how it works for you. I haven’t really had the opportunity to use it because I’ve been taking a break and resting and haven’t needed to push myself to do something except get out of bed. lol

      And I’ve forgotten to try it during anxiety attacks. I’m still working on remembering what to do during those moments.

      I will have opportunities to try it next month when I have to get back into the swing of things, though, and will use the tool to get my butt in the seat and open that Word document tandem begin revisions.

  3. I went, "I'm...excited?" So I guess I may be in the skeptic camp on that one. I'll be curious to hear how your experiment works out (if you remember, of course...)

    And I NEVER struggle to take that next step or to take action. I just outright refuse to do it. ;)

    1. 😂 You have to say it with positivity. An exclamation point, not a question mark.. “I’m excited!” That technique is all about tricking the mind. Or attempting to, anyway.

      The last part of you comment made me chuckle. That’s another dilemma all-together. 😜

  4. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    We'll leave the light on for ya. Hope you get some rejuvenation time in.

    1. Thanks for leaving the light on for me. 🙂

  5. This sounds like an interesting book, Chrys. I like that you use the rule to re-set your thoughts. I would definitely like to try that! I'll look into this book. Who doesn't need motivation, right? :P

    1. With the pandemic lasting so long, I’ve sure needed something to motivate me.

  6. I like the concept, but I need to focus more on rest even though there are so many things I want to do!

    1. Which is why my idea to use the tool to rest (take a break, etc.) could help us not only to focus on resting but to actually do it. 🙂 It’s worth a try.

  7. I'm doing a lot of extra reading this year and this is something I'd love to add to my list. Enjoy your break!