Ever heard about the 5 AM Club? It is a concept popularised by Robin Sharma where you get up at 5 am in the morning to complete a set of 20/20/20s – 20 minutes of intense exercise, 20 minutes to reflect on your goals and 20 minutes learning a new skill. The rationale for the early hours is simple: you won’t have any distractions and will be more productive. At this hour, not many people are awake, which also means that nothing new is happening on social media, your phone isn’t constant buzzing and work isn’t for another few hours. This solitude allows you to really just accomplish what you set out to do for the day.
Appreciating the concept is one thing, actually waking up at 5 am everyday can be challenging. Here are some practical steps you can take to become part of the 5 AM Club and start making positive changes in your life.
Start by waking up 30 minutes earlier each day
Even if you could wake up at 5 am for a few days, going “cold turkey” may not be a long term solution. This is because your mind and body may not be ready for such a drastic transition. As such, suddenly waking up at 5 am may cause you to dread getting out of bed without enough sleep. Worst still, you may have no clue what to do with the extra time.
Adopting the 20/20/20 routine will only take up an hour of your time. If you weren’t getting up at 6 am before, you’d be left with additional free time and potentially not knowing what to do and this might be setting yourself up for failure as you fall out of love with the idea of being part of the 5 AM Club even before you get to meaningfully experience it.
Instead of forcing yourself to wake up at 5 am tomorrow, consider easing into the new routine by waking up 30 minutes every few days to give yourself time to adjust and consider the most valuable ways to spend your free time each morning.
Sleep earlier every night
This sounds like a no-brainer but this is another major transition in your daily routine, besides clocking in your six to eight hours of sleep each night. Working backwards, you need to go to bed at 10 pm if you still want to have enough sleep everyday. Forcing yourself to wake up at 5 am every morning would very likely mean not having sufficient sleep the night before, as well as sacrificing a large part of your “winding down” time. Even if you went to bed early, your body clock may keep you awake in bed. On top of that, many of your daily distractions typically begin in the evenings, including eating supper, binge-watching Netflix or socialising with colleagues and friends.
Thus, similar to waking up 30 minutes earlier each morning, try going to bed earlier each night. Denying your body enough sleep could be worse than any benefits you may get from waking up at 5 am each day to accomplish more or new things.
Have a purpose
Often, if you do not have the motivation to continue doing the tasks you’ve set out to do on a daily basis, you would easily abandon it. This is why you need to carefully think ahead about more than just the task you want to complete in each of the 20-minute slots every morning. You need to have a grander vision of what you want to achieve with each of the things you go in those 20-minute spells.
Whether you’re going to the park for a jog or doing some push-ups at home, ask yourself, “What is my Why?”. It could be wanting to live healthier or to increase your energy levels to play with your children (or perhaps, grandchildren). Similarly, your 20-minute activity to plan for your future and learn a new skill should be about achieving a greater purpose – for example, landing the job you want; starting a family; securing your financial future or anything else. The tasks that you do should contribute towards achieving your vision in the long run.
Take small but important steps to live well and this includes staying active, eating well, checking your health and monitoring your stress levels. If you need some online encouragement, download apps such as AIA Vitality or sign up for our newsletter to keep your motivations high and get some useful tips too!
Modify the advice
The 20/20/20 way of spending an hour at 5 am is just one person’s recommendation. If you like it and it works for you, go ahead and continue doing so. However, if it doesn’t quite work for you, there’s no reason why you can’t modify it to suit your preferences and needs.
If you can’t get up at 5 am, simply wake up at 6 or 7 am. If spending 20 minutes is too short for each activity, there’s nothing stopping you from spending 40 minutes to an hour instead. There are no rules on how you can use your time to improve your lifestyle.
You don’t need to do these activities in solitude either! If you think this time is best served working out or to chart a plan with a partner, then rope in the other person. Or it can be as simple as wanting to have breakfast with your young children before school or cycling to work. This might actually motivate you to wake up earlier everyday too!
Doing what serves you best and gives you the most of your time is the greatest motivation that will keep you waking up early and stay the course to improving your life.
Gain more control in other areas of your life
As an additional benefit, waking up at 5 am also gives you sufficient time to get a lead up on your day. You can read the news, catch up on household chores, prepare a healthier breakfast or lunch, as well as dedicate some time to getting your personal finances in order. As the saying goes, “The early bird catches the worm” so we hope that these tips will help you gain more focus and achieve your goals in life!
Original article contributed by AIA Singapore and edited by The Wellness Insider.
Photos: Pixabay and Unsplash