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Want to Change Your Life? Change Your Thoughts

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Gandhi

Our subconscious minds are a fascinating thing. Most of the things we do, we do out of habit without thinking about it. Have you ever driven home from work and completely forgotten driving there? Have you ever woken up to shower and not even thought about it?  Thank your subconscious mind for that.

Another way to think about this is autopilot. According to Psychology Today,

“this system guides our daily habits, helps us make snap decisions and reacts instantly to dangerous life-and-death situations (such as saber-toothed tigers) through the freeze, fight or flight stress response. While it helped us survive in the past, the fight-or-flight response is not a great fit for modern life.”

But to change your thoughts, you need to change your intentions.

The intentional system, on the other hand,

“reflects our rational thinking and centers around the prefrontal cortex: the part of the brain that evolved more recently. This thinking system helps us handle more complex mental activities, such as managing individual and group relationships, logical reasoning, probabilistic thinking and learning new information and patterns of thinking and behavior.”

The intentional system requires deliberate action and can be tiring for our brains. This is part of the reason why our brains do what is natural and easy — it requires less energy. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change our lives. If you want to change your actions, you have to change what is happening in your brain.  

According to Mel Robbins, five seconds can literally change your life.

Five seconds. Count it…1….2….3….4….5. How can five measly seconds have that much of an impact on our lives? Here is how the Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins works.

Stop reading this article now and go check out her amazing TedX talk (then come back).

According to her website, here is how this works.

“The moment you feel yourself hesitate (when you know you should do something) start counting backward 5-4-3-2-1, then GO. The Rule is a proven form of metacognition. When you use it, you shift mental gears, interrupt your habit of overthinking and awaken your pre-frontal cortex – making change easy. The rule acts as a “starting ritual” that breaks bad habits and triggers positive new behavior change.”

Want to change your life and your actions? Try using the 5 second rule. But first, decide what parts of your life aren’t helping you and what you need to change. Make a list, write it down.

Then use your thoughts to change your behavior. Our brains are incredibly powerful. Use that power to your benefit.

Once you try the 5 second rule, come back and let us know what happened. We would love to hear from you!

About the Author

Jessica Sharp

Jessica Sharp is passionate about empowering underserved and minority communities, diverse representation, and brain education. Jessica is the Founder and Chief Educator of Sharp Brain Consulting which works with public service agencies to provide education about the brain and its effect on organizational outcomes. Additionally, she is on the leadership team of Meals on Wheels in her town of Greenville, SC. She is completing a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Upon her completion, she will attend William James College to obtain a Doctorate of Psychology. Follow her on twitter at @sharpjes.