The 5 second rule.

Mind tricks can be powerful to overcome the stories we tell ourselves to convince us not to do something we really should do.

I have heard many takes on the same theme – if you need to get something done and can just do it in 5 seconds, then don’t put it off. Or 1 minute. Or 5 minutes. The point is – when you think about it, just do it – instead of putting it on your mental or even a physical to-do list.

It is a mind trick, but a powerful one when we follow through. It is amazing how much time I can spend dreading something, when it just wouldn’t take long to actually do.

We can similarly trick ourselves with exercise. If you don’t want to do something, just get out and do it for some amount of time. Maybe not what you think is ideal, but just a token amount of time. Perhaps instead of the hour long run you think you should go on or planned to go on, you can just get out of the house for at least 10 minutes.

Or maybe you don’t want to stop at the gym on your way home from work. How about you just change and do a 10 minute warm up?

Maybe once you start you will keep going for that 60 minutes or a full weight lifting routine at the gym. Or maybe not. But the only way to tell that you really don’t want to do something or shouldn’t (because of fatigue, a nagging injury, etc) is to start and see how it goes. See how you feel actually doing it, instead of letting your mental game get the best of you.

I tried this the last couple of days with the cold weather. It is cold enough here that I’m just not sure my dog and I should be out running. But rather than decide without trying, I got myself out in it to see how it went. It’s cold. I cut my runs short. But we both got out and it wasn’t nearly as bad as my mind had worried that it would be.

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