Have you heard of the 5AM Club?
Based on an inspirational fiction book by @robinsharma, the story tells of the struggles of the characters, how they chance upon this opportunity to turn their lives around and learn the secrets of the 5AM club to operate at world-class.
I've heard of this book for a while but didn't get around to reading it till now. I like the useful advices in Robin Sharma's books ever since I started reading his "Monk who sold his Ferrari" series. They are self-help books written in fictional, third-person perspective which I find very engaging and relatable, as compared to the usual self-help books that address the readers directly.
The flowery language of the 5AM Club aside (which I find a tad too much), the contents resonated so much with me that I'm inspired to start my own 66 days challenge of the 5AM Club.
Why 66 days? According to the book, it takes 66 days for a habit to be ingrained to reach a point of automaticity, based on a research by University College London.
The main strategy of the 5AM Club is to harness the golden hour between 5 - 6am well through the 20/20/20 strategy.
The gist of that can be summarised by this beautiful quote from the book:
Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself. Own your morning. Elevate your life.
So, what's the 20/20/20 strategy?
To put it simply, it's dividing your golden hour into 3 pockets of 20 minutes each.
Pocket #1: MOVE - move your body through intense exercise so that you sweat. This wakes up the body and primes it to optimal mode to operate the rest of the day.
Pocket #2: REFLECT - meditate and reflect through the use of gratitude practice and journaling, as well as scripting your blue-print of the day. This clarifies the brain and set intent and focus for the day ahead.
Pocket #3: GROW - ingest knowledge through books, audio, podcasts etc. Grow your knowledge and never stop learning.
There are also many (and I really mean a tonne!) other tactics and concepts shared in the book which one can adopt through the course of the day. I will slowly share them over my 66 days but that would mean rereading the books many times in order to familiarise myself with them!
Right now, I'm only picking one of them, known as the 90/90/1 method:
You focus the first 90 minutes of your work hours for 90 days on 1 single task.
Instead of diluting your focus and resources on many tasks, focus on the 1 task to grow mastery.
I've decided to dedicate this 90 minutes on drawing. To commit to growing my skills and at the same time, finish up all the motifs and video lessons purchased in the last 3 years because of #fomo 😂
Prior to this, I had already built the habit of waking up at 5ish since February. I basically do something similar to the 20/20/20 strategy. The only thing is I don't have a structure that I follow and usually start the day with journaling to brain dump my thoughts. My brain goes into overdrive the moment I wake up so the journaling really helps clarify my thoughts and plan my time.
It did help me to some extend but I still feel like I am floating around from day to day. I think the problem lies with me not having focus and overscheduling my days. I always end up feeling like a loser because I clearly can't finish 200 tasks in a single day.
Stop managing your time and start managing your focus.
This. Was. Totally. What. I. Needed. The technological age of Great Distraction is my greatest foe when partnered with procrastination. With a 200 tasks to-do list, who wouldn't be planning an exit at every possible turn of the day?
Now that I have decided to make public this challenge, I am totally scared - what if I fail? But I know, this fear is exactly the reason why I should be challenging myself.
More importantly, this is a promise I made to myself and I need to honour this for myself.
Failing to keep self-promises is one of the reasons so many of us don't love ourselves. Not following through on what we tell ourselves we'll do so destroys our sense of personal worth and dissolves our self-esteem. Keep behaving like that and the unconscious part of you will begin to believe you're not worth anything.
I'm not expecting perfection and definitely expecting a lot of disruptions. I shall document (as much as I can) on how I live my life with more intent (especially with the upcoming June holiday plans!) PS. This challenge is only for 5 days a week, weekends are for recovery!
You really must learn how to balance working intensely and brilliantly with deep rest and recovery so you can remain fresh and strong over a long career. As you do this, you won't blow out your gifts by hyperextending them, in the same way that some pro athletes blow out their knees - preventing them from ever playing again.
Some perks of this new habit are the fabulous views that Mother Nature has in store for all of us, if only we make time to be aware of them.
[DAY 1 UPDATES]
Off to a rough start when I snoozed a little and then couldn't find the TV remote to mirror my exercise app from the phone. While I started off later than scheduled, I did manage to complete all 3 pockets of the 20/20/20 strategy (albeit with some tweaking).
Pocket #1 was a good 30 minutes of Yoga and dancing (fantastic to dance at dawn, I know right 😂) as well as some mandatory stretch to ease my stiff body. I decided to change the 20 minutes to 30 minutes because I really needed that extra stretch.
Pocket #2 - Journaling after exercise. At 5am, it was really hard to exercise to the extent of working out a sweat. It really was a battle of the mind and body. But boy, was I sweating buckets as I sat down to journal.
Pocket #3 was dedicated to reading "In Love with the World" by Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk and meditation teacher. I decided to cut short to 10 minutes since my stretching overshot by 10 minutes.
Let some photos do the talking:
It was quite hard to survive by mid-day and I had to take a 15 minutes siesta. More lethargy set in than expected and I am not looking forward to the battle of the ZZZ monster in the coming days ahead.
I have also noted that I really should prep every single possible thing the night before so that the morning routine can be success. This means laying out my clothes, taking out my toiletries to wash up so that I don't disturb the rest of the sleeping family members, getting ready my bottle of water for hydration and making sure the TV remote control is where it should be! At this age, I really learn that success is by preparation, not by luck.
Lastly, I must remind to be kind to myself and encourage myself to not give up. Fingers cross!
“All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”
If any of you are keen on the book, it is available as an ebook on NLB's Libby App. If you are keen to join me in this 66 days challenge, I would more than love to have some company!
Leave me a comment, message or email me!