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How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence

Lesson 16 of 16

The 5 Habits of Building Self-Confidence

Mel Robbins

How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence

Mel Robbins

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Lesson Info

16. The 5 Habits of Building Self-Confidence
Mel talks about the five habits of building self confidence: 1.

Lesson Info

The 5 Habits of Building Self-Confidence

These are five super simple things that you can do. These are rules that I live by, that as a business person, these give me so much control it's crazy. And I am really adamant about the importance of this. So I have these five rules, these five habits. No phone in your bedroom, period. Now why would I say that? I say that because I want you to engage in behavior that puts you in control of your thoughts, and that allows you and sets you up to be the kind of person where the actions that you're taking reinforce the fact that you're in control your life. When your phone is next to your bed, which most of us have it there, what I know is that before you get out of bed, you're gonna do this in the morning. (audience laughs) And your dreams are not on your phone. Your priorities are not on your phone. It's other people's garbage. I read a study that just came out that they quoted, I think it was in Time. Was it in Time Magazine, Mandy? A couple years ago, there was a big study that said th...

at we all spent like one point I don't know, six hours a day processing email. They've just released a new study and I think it was Time Magazine, two days ago that reported, that said we spend 6.3 hours of our working day on email. And I could spend an entire course talking about the attention economy, and how everybody's vying for your attention, and everybody has your attention because of this. And one of the most important things that you could do is before you go to bed, one five-second decision that changes everything, is put the phone in the bathroom, put it in your closet, plug it in, set the alarm, turn off the alerts, leave the ringer on, tell your friends and family if they need you, "Call me. Don't text." And then, go to bed, because there was a study that just came out with Deloitte, this is sick. This is not a survey, this is actual phone data. 33% of people check email in the middle of the night. Sickening. It's sickening. This has become a habit. I think that in 10 years we're gonna look back on smart phones and technology and have the same reaction that we did with cigarettes like, "What were we thinking, marketing this tech... what?" If you're the kind of person that has a lot of worries or anxiety, you will want your phone near you. The other research about this is pretty profound. They did a study, actual data on the phone. The average person, you know how you have to turn your phone on, like re-awaken it? Average person does that more than 150 times a day. They did another study where they looked at how many times you actually just touch your phone. You pick it up, you swipe it, you tap it, you scroll, you do one of these things. The average person in the study, 2617 times a day. The high touch users were 5400 times, something like 5427. We are not even aware of it. It's because all that behavior is encoded right here. And so, I wanna make it hard for you to have the alarm go off, and do one of these in bed. Because if you start your day reading other people's emails, you've already lost control. And one of the most important things that you can protect right now is your mind space. So habit number one, phone goes in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the closet, plug it in, turn off the (electronic buzzing and dinging noises). (audience laughs) Turn on the ringer so that somebody can reach you in the case of an emergency, and that's it. The other thing that's gonna happen is, then when the alarm goes off, this is rule number two. No snooze. It's now in the closet and you're screwed. You gotta get outta bed. Now why do I not want you to hit the snooze alarm? The reason why is actually grounded in science. So one of the things that I discovered that I didn't know when I did all the research for The 5 Second Rule book, is that the snooze button, when you hit it, and you develop a habit of doing it, or even just you hit it once, you are engaging in a behavior that impacts your productivity for up to four hours. So lemme explain this to you because the science is pretty awesome. There's a term, if you wanna kinda look into this more, called sleep inertia. You know those mornings when you, where you do this, the alarm goes off, you hit the snooze, and then you get up, and you feel tired. You just feel groggy, and you say to yourself, "Ahh, I didn't get enough sleep last night." It's actually not true. What happened is by hitting the snooze alarm you put yourself in a state of sleep inertia. What is that? Allow me to explain. So, when you and I fall asleep, we sleep in cycles, and we sleep in cycles that last 75 to 90 minutes. And then we do another one, 75 to 90 minutes. And then we do another one, 75 to 90 minutes. And then about two hours before you're about to wake up, your body goes into a state where it's thawing out like a frozen chicken. You know what I mean? It's like kinda coming to life slowly. It's no longer in a sleep cycle. When that alarm goes off it's typically in the thaw out stage, but what happens is if the alarm goes off while you're in the thaw out stage and you hit the snooze button, what do you suppose you just restarted? A sleep cycle. How long does a sleep cycle take? (audience mumbles) Yeah, so then when you get up 15 minutes later, your brain is still in a sleep cycle. And in research, it takes the cortic region of your brain up to four hours to actually shake itself out of it. So you have put yourself in a state by hitting the snooze alarm that impacts speed of processing, ability to focus, all of it. And it lasts about four hours. It's not that you didn't get enough sleep. You'd be much better off if you could only sleep five hours, not hitting the snooze button but jumping in a cold shower. You literally will be alert, you won't have interrupted sleep cycle, and you are now in a position neurologically to get up and to do what you need to do. Really, really, compelling stuff, and it's life changing when you adopt this. So instead of hitting the snooze, you're always just gonna go 5-4-3-2-1. It is painful, I have used this stupid rule for nine years to get out of bed. I still have to use it 'cause I hate getting out of bed. Now that I'm almost 50, at 2:13 when I have to pee, I now use it to force myself to get out of bed in the middle of the night. You know, 'cause normally you lay there like, "Okay, go back to sleep, go back to sleep. You don't have to pee. You don't have to pee." That doesn't work. 5-4-3-2-1. The third rule. So then I get my stuff, and I go into the kitchen and I've got my little journal and I do what I call 30 Before 7:30. Now, what do you not see in this photo? (audience mumbles) Exactly, because there's nothing on my phone that relates to my goals. Nothing. In fact, I would argue that what's on my phone creates anxiety, it disrupts my priorities, it really screws with everything. So I sit down, and why is it called 30 Before 7:30? Because when I first started finding 30 minutes right after I woke up for me, the last one of our kids left at 7:00 in the morning. So 9 times out of 10, right when they got on the bus was when I could find those 30 minutes. And so, look, some mornings you won't have 30 minutes. Some mornings you got five minutes. Do you have to do it in the kitchen? No, you can do it in the seat of your car. You can go to a cafe. The most important thing, do not look at your phone yet. So I have developed this habit that has fundamentally changed my business. So before I look at the phone, before I get other people's to-do list, before I get distracted by the rest of the world, I get outta bed, I don't look at my phone, I sit down, and I find about 30 minutes. And then there's a particular way in which I plan. And I'm gonna show you that in just a second. This is a game-changer because for those of you cannot find time, this gives you the time you can't find. And this is the other reason why it's a game-changer. So because you got up and you didn't hit the snooze button, you're not struggling with sleep inertia, so you're alert. The second thing is that Dan Ariely, the professor and best-selling author, has figured out that the best two hours of the day for your brain are the first two hours. So the first two hours of the day, best two hours for your brain. So if you can dedicate some of that time to the stuff that matters to you, you win. So then I fill out this form, and you'll see, I've got my little gauge, depleted, meh. But I want to show you a particular aspect of this. I wanna show you this. So rule number four, when you sit down to do your 30 Before 7:30, or whenever you end up doing. It might be five minutes before 6:00 a.m., whatever. I want you to focus on one small move. We've talked about this so much today. One small move. That's it. And I want you to plan it in a particular way, okay? First, you're going to identify the project you're working on. Today, my project for me. It could be that you're gonna go to therapy. It could be that you're gonna exercise today. Could be that you're going to write out a module for your improv sales business. It could be that you're gonna... what is your project? What is the project that matters most to you? It could be anything today, one thing for you. Second thing you're gonna do. You're actually gonna write down why does it matter to you? Remind yourself, in this particular example, "Publishing my first novel inspired by my grandmother's remarkable life that I've been wanting to write for years." Why does this matter? "I'll feel so proud of myself for actually doing it." You don't have to have three, just write one. "I hate my job and I've always dreamt of being a writer." "Working on it will help me stop thinking and get started." When you identify why something matters to you, you elevate it as a priority in your mind. You actually activate this part of your brain where when you set a to-do list and you prioritize it, your mind is designed to hold it as an open task. And then it reminds you of it. What is is called, Mandy? (inaudible) The Zeigarnik effect is what you're leveraging here. We're also leveraging in this, the third thing, one small action I can move forward. Today my project that I'm working on is, this project matters to me because, one small action I can take to move forward is. I cannot stress enough, next to not sleeping with the phone, this little planning strategy, which is backed by research, will change everything. 'Cause the Zeigarnik effect is something that you are leveraging in terms of your brain anchoring on this, and you're leveraging research from the Harvard Business School on what's called the progress principle. When they crunch the data on what makes somebody feel like they've had a good day, what makes somebody feel like work is going well, what makes somebody feel proud of themselves, it's all the same. All the same. Did you make progress on something that matters to you? If you didn't, your day feels like a waste of time. So we are leveraging the progress principle and the way that your brain works to help you focus on one small action. So once you get here, either do it now or find the time when you're gonna do it. Now, here's the benefits of this. We activated the progress principle, and when you figure out what matters to you, and you focus on one small action, just forward. I don't care how little it is. Forward is forward, folks. It increases people's rates of completion on the overall project to 76%. It sounds so stupid that these little things work, but they unlock aspects of the way that your brain naturally works to your advantage. It also plays in with our research today, right? So when you pick one small move forward, it makes it easier to try, doesn't it? And when you try, you reduce self-doubt because you see yourself taking action. You know from the Confidence/Competency loop, that that actually builds confidence, and then of course, because you have progress based on all this research that's coming out of the Harvard Business School on something that matters, it actually creates this momentum effect. So this teeny little tweak, one selfish project for you. Remind yourself why this is important, and one teeny, teeny little move you're gonna make forward, and you win every time. Now, let me show you this crazy trick that will also change things. Plan when you quit working. Every day, plan when you quit working. Parkinson's law. The amount of time you give something is how much time it will take it, right? You've had projects that you've given three weeks. How long did it take you to get it done? Three weeks. You've had projects that you had seven minutes to finish, how long did it take to finish it? Seven minutes. So this is a weird little thing, but I plan my quitting time every day. And it does this weird thing, it creates this sense of urgency about what I need to get done, and it makes me super mindful about stopping work so that I can be with my family. So that my brain can take a break. And for we creative types, let me remind you that 96% of creative breakthroughs don't happen while you're working. So super, super important. So the five habits: no phone in the bedroom, no snooze, 30 before 7:30 or make whatever thing it is that you wanna do, one project that matters. That's it, one project that matters in one small way, and set a quitting time. And you know, there's a lot here to absorb, but this is all relatively simple. If you have a problem that can be solved with action, you don't have a problem. And even if the problems that you feel that you face are mental, you can solve them with action. And you also now know how. See it. Spot it. 5-4-3-2-1 and move. That is what's gonna work every single time. And if you can start to absorb this idea that confidence in every aspect of your life is just the decision to try. That's it. It begins right there. Look, I don't expect you to be perfect. I expect you to fail. But I do expect you all to try. Thank you for being here. (applause) Ahhhh! I'm exhausted, oh my god. (audience laughs) You gotta tell people how to stay in touch with you. Oh my god. I'm just gonna leave it all there for you I got nothin' left. What do I need? What do I need, Mandy? What do I have to do? I just wanna tell you that we were live streaming the part where you talked about Oakley's anxiety. Oh shit, was he watching? He was, and he said, "Hi, this is me, and Oliver sucks. LOL Hi, mom." Oh he did? He wrote in a comment? He did. He said, "Hi Mandy. Hi Mom, call me when you're done." (audience laughing) Oh yeah, he made me this bracelet, so he was here with us. That's adorable. Mel, before you wrap up, how can people stay in touch with you? So look, almost everything that we do is free, it's out there, I'm here to help. What I would love to know, 'cause I already shared with you the thing that I love most is engaging, connecting, hearing back from you, hearing what's going on, knowing how these are working, or what tweaks you have. I'm all just about sharing and learning from you, as much as I am about sharing what we're doing so you can think differently about what you're doing. We're on Instagram @melrobbinslive, @melrobbins on Facebook, @melrobbins on Twitter. We also have a newsletter that goes out once a week with videos and all kinds of stuff. And just stay in touch, and I so appreciate you being here and I do totally believe that this is the beginning of a completely new chapter in my professional life, and my personal life. I think you are all here for a reason, and so I truly hope that you got what you came for. And now I hope you go out there and you go to war against those negative thoughts, and you push yourself to try, because you deserve it.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers. 


  • Use Mel Robbins’ five-second rule to stop negative thoughts and change your life for the better.
  • De-escalate anxiety and agitation.
  • Create mental scripts that help you overcome typical situations that get you into trouble and prevent you from acting.
  • Overcome your mental blocks and change the way you think about things.


Are you plagued by the imposter syndrome—thinking that your accomplishments aren’t real and that you’re secretly a fraud and a failure? Do you have crippling anxiety and bad habits that are ruining your chances of achieving your goals? Does your low self-esteem and negative past experience influence your thought patterns? Do you fall into the trap of self-pity that keeps you from seeing positive outcomes? If so, you’re definitely not alone.

If you want to get over these persistent, sometimes agonizing problems so you can gain a new perspective and make real, positive changes in your life, this course can help you do it. Mel Robbins is one of the most sought-after motivational instructors in the world. She’s been trusted by global brands to design and deliver life-changing, interactive experiences that inspire change, challenge thinking, encourage self-love, and accelerate personal and professional growth.

This class will help you:

  • Understand the science behind how self-doubt effects you.
  • Learn and discover ways to overcome self-doubt and have fewer negative emotions.
  • Build your self-esteem and competency skills.
  • Shed your irrational fears, stop undervaluing yourself, and quiet the inner critic.
  • Get out of your comfort zone, quiet the negative voices, and stop practicing habits of hesitation.
  • Stop hiding, being hypercritical, and feeling helpless so you can move forward and discover the path to achieve your creative endeavors.

Mel will give you concrete, actionable advice and steps you can practice to help you stop living with the constant worry that plagues and cripples your daily life. By showing you how to overcome self-doubt and build self-confidence, Mel will help you build the confidence you need to realize your dreams, whether it’s starting your own business, losing those 15 pounds that are weighing you down, or finding true love from a partner. After this class, you’ll better understand your patterns, what to do to break unhealthy habits, act with courage, self-compassion, and overcome self-doubt so you can get what you want out of life.


  • People from all walks of life, even successful people, who want to overcome the self-doubt and the fear of failure that is holding them back and preventing them from accomplishing their dreams.
  • Those who want to gain more self-confidence so they can go after what they’re worth in their career.
  • People who want to develop stronger, deeper and more meaningful relationships and be their best self.


Michal Levi

Let me start by saying I bought a book of hers and could not get through it. I just tuned in live today out of curiosity.. with low expectations. BUT WOW. THIS WAS FANTASTIC! As someone who teaches professionally (and has won teaching awards), I have to say I was in AWE of what a great teacher she was. Also, while she is not a licensed therapist, which some have complained about, she is so gifted in this area. WOW she has a talent! Watching her with individuals from the audience was moving, informative and inspirational! UTTERLY AWESOME! Truly glad I took the time just in case there was any value to it. THERE WAS IN FACT A LOT OF VALUE! Thanks Mel! Hey, I may even try to pick up that book of yours again. BRAVO!

Go2 Norway

Wow! The science-behind-typical-human-behaviors that fuel self-doubt AND clear ways to understand how to acknowledge those, and move into confidence-through-action. Easy and interesting ways to remember the points! Marvelous presenter skills -- a real model, and inspiration. Actual coaching sessions within the class to make it real. Mel is totally herself, and vulnerabilities become her strength in real-time, which class participants also lived out in real-time as well. Very memorable. And, the explanation of anxiety as a high energy state matching excitement more than calm was significant, as well as the myths about confidence (such as confidence is not about a personality; rather, action). Well organized, made sense, and I will integrate multiple parts daily! THANKS, MEL!!!

Wild Flower Murals

I'm training to be a life coach and have been a public muralist for years. I've been researching creativity, self initiated empowerment and positive psychology from various angles for many years- in hopes to make it accessible to many. I initially came across Mel's book and was wholly impressed by how effective yet simple the 5-4-3-2-1 book was. I am so glad I took this course, it is the best of the best of the best!!!