Mel wants you to high 5 yourself every morning. Here’s why.
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Today’s Dear Melissa and Friends features a very special guest indeed… Melissa’s BFF (but only inside her head), Mel Robbins.

Mel is one of the leading voices in personal development and transformation and an international bestselling author. Her groundbreaking work on behavior change is used by healthcare professionals, veterans' organizations, and the world's leading brands to inspire people to be more confident, effective, and fulfilled. Mel makes a real difference in people's lives by teaching them to believe in themselves and inspiring them to take the actions that will change their lives. 

Today she’ll be answering your questions on health and habits with tips straight out of her upcoming book,
The High 5 Habit.

When it comes to taking on a new healthy habit, how do you deal with self-doubt? What if you no longer trust yourself to follow through based on historical evidence?

First, for mood: The High 5 Habit. As cheesy as it sounds, I want you to stand in front of the mirror every morning and get intentional; look yourself in the eye and promise, "Today, I'm going to show up for myself, no matter what." And then seal that promise with a high five in the mirror. Standing in front of a mirror, and raising your hand in celebration, is an act of defiance against self-doubt, and neurologically, it changes you.

Your brain gets a drip of dopamine with every high five because you've got a lifetime of positive associations with giving high fives to other people. That's why you feel more motivated, confident, and celebrated when you high five yourself. Every morning, after you brush your teeth, make this High 5 Habit a ritual, and self-doubt has no chance of stopping you.

You don't need to believe me. You just need to do it for five days. It will take that long because you're going to resist it for the first few days (you fight it because you don't know how to celebrate yourself). Just do it. It's science-backed and it works––and if you want to know more, please, grab a copy of my new book, The High 5 Habit. You're going to love it.

Second, for action: The 5 Second Rule. When you think about something you want to do, like walking away from the cookie jar, countdown 5-4-3-2-1. When you hit 1, immediately take action—put down the slice of bread, send that difficult text, or pull on your exercise shorts. By counting backward, you move from thought to action and take control.

I seem self-confident, but I self-sabotage my efforts in the Whole30 and other healthy habits. What's that about?

Old habits are hard to break because they're hardwired into your subconscious. You may not realize this, but you've developed coping mechanisms for every uncomfortable emotion. When you feel frustrated, lonely, bored, angry, and insecure, you probably feed those emotions or mentally check out.

That's why you need to consistently practice the new behavior when you get triggered. Counting 5-4-3-2-1 will interrupt the old pattern and give you a moment of control to insert a different response. The High 5 Habit works even deeper because it silences the negative critic in your head and helps you start to tap into the confidence that you need to build healthy habits.

And, based on research, the most important part of behavior change is being kind to yourself along the way. If you have a tough day, don't throw Whole30 out the window. Brush it off. Be kind to yourself. How do you do that? Say hello to The High 5 Habit. When you look at yourself in the mirror, raise your hand, and high five yourself, because you're doing your best, and that deserves celebration. Use the High 5 Habit to empower yourself, especially after you've broken a promise. You'll feel more motivated to focus on the Whole30 again.

How do you stay the course with habits you know are in your best interest when things get stressful?

Take the thinking out of it. Make your evening routine and your morning routine your best friends. A successful day begins the night before. Take an hour as you're winding down your day and think about what will set you up to succeed tomorrow. Here are three things I do:

1. Set the alarm intentionally. Some days it might need to be 30 minutes earlier. Some days it could be 30 minutes later. Give your body what it needs.

2. Set traps. If you are committed to exercising, for example, lay out your exercise clothes on the floor the night before to take the thinking out of it. When you see them in your closet in the morning, you literally cannot ignore the fact that you need to pull them on.

3. Find a friend. Studies prove change is easier with others. Set up a text chain with someone—nothing is more inspiring than getting a quick selfie video from a friend who's also trying to stick to Whole30, even if they are complaining about it in their video to you. Their example will give you the inspiration to stick to your promises. And, you'll inspire them too when you send them a note, "I'm so sick of drinking water instead of soda," it'll make them laugh and remind them why they started in the first place.

And if you can't think of anybody to get on a text chain with, do it with me. I've got a free five-day challenge called The High 5 Challenge that gives you the tools, coaching, and community you need to break through the self-doubt and make these behavior changes permanent.

My days are busy with work/school/kids. What are your best options for affordable and easy self-care?

First, let's reframe self-care. It's not massages and facials. It is self-love––just literally taking care of your physical and emotional needs. The most essential emotional needs you have as a human being are to be seen, heard, and validated. Right now, you feel emotionally fried because none of these needs are being met. When you start to validate yourself, you will become energized and confident.

Here are four things that I do to take care of myself. Some of these I've already said, but I'm repeating myself because they are grounded science, and they work.

1. I get out of bed when the alarm rings. I tend to feel most anxious in the morning. Lying in bed and marinating in fear is self-imposed self-destruction. Instead, I use 5-4-3-2-1 to get up and get going, and once I get going, I find that I can keep going.

2. Then, I high five my heart. I put my hands on my heart and say, "I'm okay, I'm safe, I'm loved." And I repeat it until I feel my nervous system calm down. Part of self-care is knowing how to manage your stress to regulate your nervous system.

3. Next, I begin my day with a high five in the mirror. Again, the first few days, it feels weird, but as you make it a ritual, you'll feel the energy of celebration, the boost of dopamine, and the conviction that comes from knowing that you have your own back.
It makes me feel validated and supported—the most empowering feelings on the planet. I've spent my whole life waiting for others to make me feel validated and supported. And so have you. You cheer for everyone else in your life. You support them, and that's great, but you need to do it for yourself. So tomorrow morning, high five yourself in the mirror.

4. I make thoughtful food choices. Food is medicine. Food is fuel. Food is a form of self-care, and when you are mindful about the kind of food you consume, you feel better and are motivated to make better choices in other areas of your life.

How do I get back on track after falling behind in a healthy habit? I struggle with this the most.

Let me tell you what you don't do:

  1. Don't beat yourself up.
  2. Don't tell yourself, "There I go again, screwing things up."
  3. Don't make yourself wrong.

And by all means, don't bail on the Whole30.

Research shows that being kind to yourself has the greatest impact on your happiness and life satisfaction. This is one of the reasons why I love The High 5 Habit. Most of us make the mistake of believing that we only deserve a high five when we're winning. The fact is it's in those moments when you fall behind or when you break a promise that you need encouragement more than ever.

So on those mornings in particular, where you're waking up knowing that yesterday you didn't follow through––you had the donut, you didn't go to the gym, you snapped at your kids––that's the morning you need to really see yourself and acknowledge that this is hard. And then high five yourself and celebrate the fact that here you are, showing up again.

With that type of encouragement and support from yourself, you will be back on track. And don't forget, I got you covered—especially if you're struggling—get your butt in the free and super inspiring High 5 Challenge. I will hold your hand for five days and teach you how to stick to the changes you want to make by supporting and celebrating yourself every step of the way.

I did the Whole30 last January, and it's no joke. It's also extraordinarily rewarding. You can do it, and I would love to cheer you on. I'll see you in the High 5 Challenge.

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