If You Can Count to 5, You Can Change Your Life

by Megan Taylor

I bet you’ve heard this before: “everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear”, did you know that there’s actually a ton of truth in that statement? Take a moment and think about the things you want in your life. What do you dream about? Where does your mind go when you just let it wander? What are the things you hold back from saying, doing, or pursuing in your life? Now, take a moment and consider the commonality that stops you from doing, dreaming, and working towards those things. It all boils down to fear. Fear of failing, fear of saying or doing something others might find to be dumb, fear of letting others down. This fear is paralyzing, it cripples you from the inside out and forces you into the safety net where your dreams and goals are simply that, dreams that won’t ever be realized or acted upon.

I’m going to let you in on my secret weapon for combatting fear, for putting dreams and goals into action, and for living life to the fullest. You ready for it? Here it is: 5,4,3,2,1, GO.

You might think I'm crazy, and you may be right, but this little countdown trick called the “5 second rule” is a game changer. I’m serious! I have spent 90% of my life living in fear. I was hiding in this shell of a normal life with a 9-5 job where I cleaned the house and did the dishes because that’s what, as a woman, I am supposed to do, and if I just stayed in that safety net, everything would be ok. I hated my job, felt that I had no voice, was unhappy with how I looked and felt, and was slowly destroying myself from the inside out with the negative self-talk and self-destructive mindset. I didn’t feel empowered to ask for things I wanted, I didn’t have any goals I was working towards, and I wasn’t happy in my own skin. Then, one day, I happened upon an interview on the School of Greatness podcast between Lewis Howes and Mel Robbins and it changed my life. Mel started by saying that “our thoughts are either the killers of our dreams or our biggest cheerleaders”; I paused the interview and thought for a good ten minutes about my self-talk and realized how destructive and unproductive it was. The things you say in your mind become your reality so by continually telling yourself “you’re fat”, “you aren’t good enough”, “you probably can’t achieve that”, those words will slowly become your truth.

Mel’s “five second rule” is focused on changing your life 5 seconds at a time. You can change your life in 5 seconds by taking those moments where you are scared to speak up in a meeting, confront your spouse about something that is bothering you, change the self-talk in your mind, or really any other decision where you lean into the fear and do that thing that scares you instead of backing into the safety net and doing or saying nothing. These small, five second moments will grow and evolve and strengthen until your confidence develops. By discovering your truth, by leaning into fear, you become the person you want to be and you allow yourself to make choices on how you want to live instead of allowing fear to run your life. By “hearing your truth and speaking it no matter how your voice shakes”, you take ownership of your life and open the doors to endless possibilities.

How do you start? You 5,4,3,2,1 and go! The next time you are faced with something that makes you uncomfortable, instead of going into that autopilot mode you change the gear into drive and count backward in your head, 5,4,3,2,1, and then you move. You aren’t going to feel like doing it, you’ll probably start sweating, and you may even feel a little nauseous, but the point is that you are doing it. You are moving into the fear, you are conquering self-doubt, and more importantly, you are proving that you are worthy of your dreams. You only have one life so lean into the things that scare you, go for it, and prove to yourself that you can accomplish the dreams and goals you’ve set for yourself.

I started using the five second rule three months ago and I can honestly say that I am a changed woman. When negative self-talk creeps up I 5,4,3,2,1 and switch my mindset to something more positive, when there is something at work that I want to achieve I 5,4,3,2,1 and ask the question, or start the project, or initiate the change to make that goal happen. This rule can be applied to any area of your life: work, school, parenting, self-care, friendships, romantic relationships, business decisions, literally anywhere that you are forced to make decisions, this rule can be applied. Whenever you feel that instinct to act, you need to lean into it and move towards that instinct. It may sound like a simple rule but it does not mean that it is an easy rule! It’s easy to continue with your job instead of asking your boss for a promotion, it’s easy to roll over and go to sleep instead of asking your spouse to be intimate with you, it’s easy to tell yourself you look fat in that new dress you just bought instead of being confident in the hard work you’ve put in at the gym, and it’s easy to let life pass you by instead of putting in the work to make your dreams a reality. Life really could be an easy walk in the park, but is that really going to satisfy you at the end of the day? The worst thing that could happen is someone says “no”. That’s it! Your job won’t disappear because you go out on a limb and ask for a raise, your spouse won’t divorce you because you ask them to be intimate with you, your friends won’t make fun of you for looking amazing in a dress even if you don’t quite believe you can pull it off. The world will not end and the sun will come up tomorrow. You simply need to get out of your head long enough to move into the scary, uncertain territory of something new. You do that by going 5,4,3,2,1 MOVE.

Everything you’ve ever wanted really is on the other side of fear and the awesome part is now you know how to get to the other side. Check out Mel Robbin’s book “The Five Second Rule” and her interview on the School of Greatness podcast here and start changing your life today.

Find Your Happy Medium

By Lacey Cleland

Body image. Gosh, isn’t it just the worst possible thing to think about? There’s always something that you want to change about yourself. Something you wish you had…Something you wish you didn’t have. We get caught up in looking back at pictures or lifestyles that we used to lead and wishing we had stuck to the plan. In some cases, we even go back to that routine wanting to get back to where we used to be. And then, when we finally get to what we think we want, the mind immediately starts concentrating on what’s next. The, “yeah, okay I accomplished my goal, but this could still be better,” along with the jealous dreams of, “why can’t I have (blank) like her/him?”

It’s exhausting.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the young age of 9 years old, which ignited my need for knowledge of food, macronutrients, and the body’s different integrated systems. I started dancing at the age of 2. Not just any dance, but ballet. I pursed dance all the way through college and graduated from Texas Christian University with a BFA in Ballet. It was a nightmare being a diabetic and existing in the community of, “the skinnier you are, the prettier you are and the prettier you danced.” My mind was skewed to think that the less I ate, the closer I’d be to making my ballerina dreams a full time reality. However, this mindset took a huge toll on my health. My frame is that of a natural athletic build. I put on muscle very easily and had thicker legs than the average ballerina. I’ve always had a bubble butt that I can thank my Dad for, I didn’t have the smallest waist, but it at least it was flat. My teachers always asked if I had been lifting weights because my shoulders and back were more defined than what was desired for the ballet world.

The day that mentality changed was when I showed up early for my work shift at Lifetime Fitness and decided to go upstairs and take a “Zumba” class. A class where women of all sizes and shapes were dancing to some really fun music, a smile on all of their faces, sweat dripping off their noses and chins, and they were “hootin’ and hollerin’” the entire hour. I felt right at home. A place where a bubble butt was EMBRACED and I didn’t have to dance for anyone but myself. I got certified shortly after, and began teaching. The day I graduated from TCU was the last day I wanted to put on tights, a leotard, and ballet shoes, ever again. I never wanted to be judged and compared like that.

I wish I could say that my mentality stuck. I began teaching 12-15 Zumba classes a week, lost a lot of weight, met the man of my dreams, and I thought life was perfect. I received my Personal Training Certification from NASM and was promoted to Master Trainer with 24 Hour Fitness. I could teach others and have them experience what I had with my own journey. Why was I still not satisfied? Why did I still not feel comfortable with how I looked? I was a size 2, 135 pounds at 5’7”, loved my job, loved my boyfriend (who later became my husband), why, why, why? I then decided that I would get breast augmentation. Maybe that would help? Nope. Thus came the challenge of getting my body to its peak physique. I decided that I would compete in a bikini competition.

I wish that when I had made that decision that someone would have taken me by my shoulders and shook me and told me, “No.” (Disclaimer) I am in no way dogging on bikini competitions. However, for someone whose mental health about body image was not there, it was one of my worst and best decisions. I began meal-prepping, counting every calorie, gram of carb, protein, and fat, drinking a gallon of water a day, 2 hours of working out every day, on top of balancing my clients, my fitness classes, and my marriage. I slowly attained the 6 pack abs, the diamonds in my shoulders, the perfect glute-hamstring tie in, a 24-inch waist, and I was 148 pounds at 13% body fat. It still wasn’t good enough.

I woke up 4 weeks out from my competition day and decided, “I’m done.” I knew something was still missing and needed to figure out what it was. I almost lost my marriage completely because I fell into a world of image and body physique. I poured all of my time and attention into it rather than my husband and our life together. No one is going to care if I once HAD a six-pack, or how many trophies I won because I strutted my stuff around on a stage for judges to pick me apart. Fast forward a year later, and the biggest change and what I did need to find is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Finally realizing that I am perfect just the way I am, for Him, and no one else.

I want to encourage you to find your true “why” for your journey to a healthier you. If it is one that involves a competition, please know that no matter how “healthy” your approach is, it is, and will always be, extreme. If it simply involves losing weight or attaining a certain body for yourself, please know that there is a happy-medium. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in comparing yourself to pictures of those on social media.

God created you in His own image. If you sit in front of a mirror and pick yourself apart, you are picking Him apart and telling Him that He made a mistake with how He made you. He didn’t create us to be overweight, addicted to food, and unable to physically live through this life. He calls us to take care of ourselves emotionally and physically. A healthy nutrition and exercise program helps in accomplishing both of those things.

My happy medium now exists from 150-160 pounds at 22-25% body fat. The 10-pound buffer that I give myself is to enjoy vacations, date-nights with my husband, and memories with friends and family, without feeling like I need to beat myself up at the gym the next day. My mental battle is one that I admittedly fight every day. Currently, I am in and out of doctors’ appointments because we are talking about starting a family. I am now suffering the consequences for my extreme lifestyle a year ago. My hormones are completely off the charts in some areas, my nervous system is shot because of strict dieting and over-training, and my reproductive system is a rollercoaster of highs and lows because of my period stopping during my bikini prep from my body fat getting so low.

Healthy looks different on everyone. Find your happy medium: where health and LIFE actually exist.

Lacey Cleland was born in Dallas, TX where she grew up and graduated from Plano West Senior High School. She went on to attend Texas Christian University where received a BFA in Ballet. Lacey now lives in Fort Worth, TX with her husband and three dogs. She specializes in teaching Zumba, Cardio Dance, and Bbarreless group fitness classes at 24 Hour Fitness in Lake Worth, TX. In addition, Lacey is also a certified Master Trainer and enjoys working closely with her clients to accomplish their goals.


Health and Fitness for Moms

by Mary Kathryn Jensen

Mom guilt.

ALL moms feel it at one point or another. The feeling that we’re not doing the best job, that we’ve made a wrong decision for our children, or the most dreaded: that we’ve somehow placed our own needs in front of theirs.

Mom guilt is normal and natural, but we have to be careful because it can hold us back from truly taking care of ourselves. As a mom, I’m learning that in order to be at my best physically and emotionally, I have to make sure that I’m taking care of ME. Yes, I said it. Making my health and fitness a non-negotiable has a tremendous positive impact on not only my life, but on my kids’ lives as well. We as moms are major role models and influences for our families, and setting a healthy foundation for our children is one of the best things that we can do. But how do we make healthy living a priority when our lives are non-stop and crazy busy? Won’t exercising make us MORE tired? I have some tips and advice to share with you.


PLAN. Planning is KEY. Make time on the weekend to plan meals and schedule workouts for the week ahead. Planning healthy meals will help you save both time and money. New to meal planning or perhaps don’t even know what I’m talking about? Pinterest is a great resource tool, and there is a wealth of information available online to help you get started. You may also have a friend or two with experience who would love to offer some pointers. When you schedule your workouts like you would appointments, you’re more likely to commit to them. Remember: your workout time is YOUR time to relieve stress, increase your strength and energy, and show your body some love. Exercising boosts your mood, and contrary to what you may think, really does increase your overall energy level.


WORKOUT AT HOME. A gym membership is wonderful, but working out at home may be what you need if time, money, and childcare are factors hindering your fitness time. There are many ways to get an amazing and beneficial workout right in your own living room!! I personally workout at home during naptime or once my children are in bed for the night, but the best part about home workouts is that you can find a time that works for YOU. Perhaps you have older children or a spouse that wants to join in as well!!


BE KITCHEN READY. Now is the perfect time to give your kitchen and pantry a spring cleaning. Throw out foods with artificial ingredients, preservatives, and ones that are loaded with refined sugars and flours. Make sure that your shopping list contains plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Most grocery stores, even big health food stores, now have digital coupons and apps that help you save money on healthy items. Have clean eating snacks on hand that are quick and easy for the whole family.

SUPPORT & ACCOUNTABILITY. These are truly key to health and fitness success. Having people to support you and hold you accountable makes such a big difference!! You can find groups like this online, in your community, or you can even start your own with friends and neighbors. Once you determine what you need, there are resources out there to help you regardless of location, schedule, or income.


SET THE EXAMPLE. Be a healthy role model for your kids. You have the power to show them that being healthy isn’t about obsessing over weight or looks. It’s not about the latest fad diet or depriving yourself. It’s about a lifestyle. It’s about taking care of the one body that you have to live with. More than ever, our children need positive reinforcement about body image. 

So throw out the mom guilt, and throw on a pair of workout shoes. Make a plan, set firm goals (not vague “I want to lose weight” ones), and get moving. Spring is coming, and there’s still plenty of time to make this your healthiest year yet!


Mary Kathryn Jensen is an online health and fitness coach, a ballet teacher, and busy mom of two. She has a passion for nutrition and educating people about the importance of clean eating. As a mom and fitness coach, her goal is to empower ALL moms to be healthy, feel confident, and have more energy!!