there was this one morning where um i walked into the bathroom and i was standing in my underwear brushing my teeth in front of the mirror and i looked up at the mirror and my first thought was uh i noticed that my jowls were starting to look like saddle bags on a pack horse at the grand canyon and uh i had like these crazy lines by my eyes and my neck was really like kind of saggy and one boob was hanging lower than the other and my gray hair was coming in and i and as soon as i started


kind of critiquing my thoughts or my looks and appearance then my mind rich started going [ __ ] i didn't get that email back to that person and i got that presentation i need to do and my god did that speech just cancel again what the [ __ ] am i gonna look down and the dog needs to be walked and then i think i got a zoom call in nine minutes like i gotta get my [ __ ] and before i knew it my whole mood was low i felt overwhelmed i had taken myself down mentally i just wanted somebody to walk in and be like mal you it's gonna be okay like you got this girl like it's lift your head up you can handle this


i don't know what came over me rich this is pathetic but standing there in my underwear in front of my bathroom sink i raise my hand and high five my reflection and i cracked a smile because it's so [ __ ] corny i even thought of that guy stuart smiley from the snl skips remember that i'm nice i'm kind people like me went on with my day that was it snapped a photo though no not that one oh not that one not the first time and then i kept doing it i did it probably


for a week or two and here's the weird thing about it i started when i woke up after doing this high five your own reflection in the mirror thing i actually started to feel like i was looking forward to it and here's why you know i've spent a lifetime just like you standing in front of the mirror and what i realize now is that when i'm standing in front of a mirror i'm either critiquing or picking myself apart or i'm ignoring myself and when you start to high-five your own reflection


it starts to build a partnership within you with yourself when you walk into the bathroom and you see your reflection and you've been greeting it it's like seeing another person it's the strangest thing you start to realize how often you [ __ ] ignore or destroy yourself when you see yourself or beat yourself up and here's what's also crazy you have a lifetime positive association with high-fiving other people sure as a runner as a racer you have gotten so many high-fives rich what does a high-five say to you when somebody gives you one


you feel seen you feel appreciated you feel energized by it and it's a it's an exchange of energy it's not the same and you talk about this in the book it's not the same as like self-talk because there's a participation involved in it there's like a communion yes back to it yeah and you know if you think about it you're so good at celebrating seeing and cheering for other people in your life you playing birthday parties you reach out to people when you're worried about them you help out colleagues you cheer for your favorite sports teams you high-five people like rich as they're running races past you


you buy people's merchandise you do all kinds of stuff for other people but nobody's taught you how to do it for yourself in fact the reason why it feels [ __ ] weird to high-five your own reflection is because you've been taught to do the opposite why is the default to just beat ourselves down like that i mean it is crazy we would never treat anyone else in our lives especially the people we care about the way that we treat ourselves in terms of the self-talk or the narrative or the critique or the you know the the the kind of harshness with which we you know judge


our appearances our behavior the way we you know think back on things that we said the other day and just are horrified by our own selves and it's i don't know if it's everybody everybody most people except for buddhists i mean i think that they're like like if you're a big practicing buddhist that's a monk right that's like just why can't the default be the good things though well i know why is it why i don't know why there's a there's cognitive bias there's a there's a bias towards negativity uh and it's a protection mechanism that's a default from evolution that if you remember the bad [ __ ] you're more likely


to spot it when it happens in the future so you can avoid it and here's where i think it begins i believe my theory is that it begins two places either you or that could be both actually you either learned the pattern of beating yourself up because you had parents or caregivers that were hard on themselves or hard on you and so as a child you absorb that pattern and you now repeat it and you don't even realize it so those moments are like oh my god i sound just like my dad or my mom that is an example of a pattern that you've absorbed so


particularly for women we've watched our mothers be critical about their appearance we've watched our mothers ignore and criticize themselves in the mirror and so we learn that from our caregivers so that's one place the second place that we learn it is when the drive in your life becomes fitting in fitting into groups in elementary middle high school college your neighborhood that feels safe when you fit in when you feel like you don't belong you immediately go into a protection mechanism and i believe a lot of the negative self-talk is a sorting hat type of mentality that we do to ourselves


going i can't be with those people i can't be with those people it's safe to be with those people and you start to see yourself and the world around you as places where you belong in places where you don't and part of the criticism as [ __ ] up as it sounds that we engage in all the time is don't be too big don't be too loud don't show yourself too much don't have blue hair don't do this other people won't like you it starts as a way to protect yourself from being rejected but the truth is you develop a habit of rejecting yourself right meanwhile you're further divorcing yourself from who you truly are because you're not giving yourself permission to be

Key Themes, Chapters & Summary

Key Themes

  • The Habit of Self-Criticism

  • Procrastination as a Stress Response

  • Introducing the High-Five Habit

  • Creating Positive Self-Associations

  • Overcoming Negative Self-Talk


  • Exploring Self-Criticism

  • Linking Stress and Procrastination

  • The Power of the High-Five Habit

  • Building Positive Self-Reflection

  • Breaking Free from Negative Self-Talk


The podcast transcript titled "Before You Waste Another Year of Your Life, Watch This" features Mel Robbins, a renowned motivational speaker, exploring the deep-seated habits of self-criticism and procrastination. Robbins provides a profound analysis of why we often find ourselves stuck in negative self-talk and procrastination, and offers transformative techniques for breaking free from these patterns.

Self-Criticism and Its Roots:

The discussion opens with Robbins reflecting on a personal moment of self-criticism while looking in the mirror. This leads to a broader conversation about the pervasive habit of self-criticism many of us experience. Robbins suggests that this habit often originates from learned behaviors in childhood, either from caregivers who were hard on themselves or us, or from societal pressures to conform and fit in.

Procrastination as a Response to Stress:

Robbins links procrastination to the stress caused by self-criticism and negative self-talk. She points out that procrastination is not just about being lazy or unproductive but is often a stress response. When we criticize ourselves, we increase our stress levels, leading to procrastination as a coping mechanism.

The High-Five Habit:

A significant focus of the podcast is Robbins' introduction of the "High-Five Habit." This technique involves physically high-fiving one's reflection in the mirror. According to Robbins, this act creates a positive association in the brain, as high-fiving has traditionally been a gesture of celebration and encouragement. By high-fiving ourselves, we can start to rewire our brain's response to our reflection, replacing criticism with encouragement and support.

Impact of Positive Associations:

Robbins emphasizes the importance of positive associations with self-affirming actions. She explains that just as we have a lifetime of associations with high-fiving others, we can create similar associations with ourselves. This practice can help shift our mindset from self-rejection to self-acceptance and encouragement.

Breaking the Cycle of Negative Self-Talk:

Throughout the conversation, Robbins stresses the need to break the cycle of negative self-talk. She points out that this negative internal dialogue not only undermines our confidence and self-esteem but also keeps us trapped in a cycle of stress and procrastination. By actively working to change our response to ourselves, we can start to develop a more positive and productive relationship with our own thoughts and actions.

In summary, "Before You Waste Another Year of Your Life, Watch This" offers insightful and practical advice for anyone struggling with self-criticism and procrastination. Mel Robbins' approach, centered around the High-Five Habit, provides a unique and powerful tool for transforming how we see and treat ourselves, ultimately leading to a more positive and fulfilling life.