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5AM Club: 66 Days Challenge [Week 5 Review]

Updated: Jun 26, 2022

With this weekly review, it really drives home the point that time passes by without you even noticing. With each realisation, it also reminded me that these time cannot return anymore.

This makes me want to live my life more intentionally and know myself better so that I can focus my attention on the things worth focusing on for the rest of my life.

Is this mid-life crisis? 🤣 Without further ado, let's see how Week 5 [Day 21 - 25] of my 66 Days challenge went~



My mind and body are still recovering from the massive disruptions from the last 2 weeks of travel and staycation.

Out of the 5 days, I only managed to wake up before 6am on 2 days.

Am I going to be hard on myself for this? Nah, it's the school holidays - I still get to enjoy my 1 hour of solitude even if I wake up at 6am.

This solitude that I enjoy first thing in the morning is like "coffee to my soul". We all know how crappy we become when deprived of our first cuppa of the day.

On one of the days I woke up at 5ish, the rest of the family were up shortly after me and I couldn't get my solitude hour to "fill my own cup".

Let me just say I got really snappy the entire day only to realise that this quiet moment to myself was so important in setting my day right.

This is when I realised it isn't so much about waking up at 5am anymore but getting this hour of solitude to nourish my mind and body before the rest of the world wakes up that is so vital to starting my day fresh and energised.

Pocket #1 - MOVE

I was really consistent with exercising the first thing I wake up, 5am or not. This week, I decided to tweak my exercise plans to focus on this 4 weeks "Core Play" programme by Karin Dimitrovova that I signed up online during Circuit Breaker in 2020. Obviously, I didn't finish the programme after signing up. The whole routine take me at least 30 minutes and sometimes I add on some flexibility drills (also from Karin, but from another programme) as I want to work on my middle splits goal. I will be introducing Karin's programmes in Part 2 of my exercise resources which I should be posting up next week.

Pocket #2 - REFLECT

This week, I intuitively chose to meditate right after exercising. It is a good way for me to reconnect with myself as I am always busy shuttling physically and mentally throughout the day.

To be honest, all of us tend to overlook the importance of connecting with ourself on a regular basis. How does reconnecting with myself look like? It is nothing fancy or mystical. To me, it is all about "arriving" at the present moment, where my mind and body are as one (with the judgement filter turned OFF).

It is extremely difficult to do so because I have a monkey mind that constantly goes into overdrive. If I can "arrive" for 1 second, I would consider it a success since my mind and body are constantly dislocated.

I am also looking at dedicating a blog post to share what I feel about meditation and the resources that have helped me take these baby steps. I used to say that I CANNOT meditate for nuts (pun intended, heh) but now, I think this is something I will really enjoy as I learn to be kinder and patient to myself.

Pocket #3 - GROW

I have started reading more often throughout the day, especially at the last 15 minutes before bedtime (reading makes me sleepy 🤣).

I realised I don't have much patience to read so early in the morning as I prefer to use the extra time to exercise and meditate. I am more than half done with "In Love with the World" by Mingyur Rinpoche and I know I am really taking a long time with this book.

⬅️Meanwhile, I discovered another fun book - "Keep Going - 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad" by Austin Kleon.

➡️I am also reading his other book called "Steal Like An Artist" - sounds so provocative right? I highly recommend these 2 books for anyone having a dry spell in creating or just not finding much inspirations in life at the moment. I have finished the "Keep Going" book and it's such a fun read!

My teenage daughter decided to "steal" my "Steal Like An Artist" book (who can resist the title!?) and just by reading a few chapters, she was so inspired to start the fan fiction project that she has been withholding for so long because of self-doubt and fear of judgement and guess what? She finally wrote them out and hit the "PUBLISH" button!

It really is heartening to know that my self-improvement journey can have a trickle down effect to my loved ones too.


[Overall Reflections]

Listening to my body and exercising more this week was a great thing to do.

The interesting thing about being stuck in a rut is that life will point you to the direction that you need to take, once you start doing something about it.

The key thing is to do something about it - TAKE THE FIRST STEP.

Many times, we fear judgement from others. As I age, I realised the only judgement that I get is from myself. Nobody else will care more about me than, well, me.

And so, life has now pointed me to this - reset my physical space to reset my mind space.

Currently, I am on a slow project to declutter my house. It has been filled with clutter again. My job is to say goodbye to the visual clutter (I call them physical noise!) and give everything else that stays a "home" to return to.

In my previous "konmari" project back in 2016, it made such a huge impact to my life that it led me to spend less time searching for things and more time looking for things that enrich me. This, of course, eventually led me to pastel art and that in turn, led me to starting Heart In Hand Atelier.

It all started from the first step I took in a desperate attempt to escape from the rut that I trapped myself in.

Thanks to this 5am Club challenge, it has also led me to try out meditation. In my last post, I mentioned about joining a meditation class at a monastery near my place. I have attended 3 lessons so far and this week, I decided to start meditating on my own on a daily basis.

I feel so much calmer and regulated throughout the day. Although it is still too early to say that I have made a permanent change, I do recognise the little changes in me these days. I feel bigger than my to-do task and take time during the course of the day to take mindful breaths to regulate myself, through the help of an app that has a "Bell of Mindfulness" function.

I am rather excited at these changes slowly happening as I live my life with more intentions.

I hope this inspires you to take your first step in whatever your mind or body tells you to.

Don't think so much. Just do it.

Before I end off this point, I'll like to share snippets of my favourite chapter from Austin Kleon's "Keep Going":

“Pay attention to what you pay attention to”
"Your attention is one of the most valuable things you possess, which is why everyone wants to steal it from you. First, you must protect it, and then you must point it in the right direction
If you want to change your life, change what you pay attention to. – Austin Kleon

So simple yet so deep and philosophical.

Now, take a moment to think - what will you change to pay attention to?

See you at my Week 6 (Day 25 - 30) challenge update next week~

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