For those of you who don't know what the 5 AM Club is, it's 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 in intense exercise, 20 minutes reflecting on your goals and 20 minutes learning a new skill.
The rationale behind waking up at 5 am in the morning is so you won't have any distractions and to be more productive. At this hour, not many people are awake – which also means nothing new is happening on social media, your phone isn't constantly buzzing and work isn't for another few hours. This solitude allows you to really just accomplish what you set out to do.
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.
#1 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.
In the mornings, you would dread getting out of bed without enough sleep. Worst still, you may have no clue what to do with the extra time.
Adopting the 20/20/20s routine will only take up at 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 know what to do.
Doing 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 before you even get to meaningfully experience it.
Instead of forcing yourself to wake up at 5 am tomorrow, you could consider easing into the new routine by waking up 30 minutes earlier every few days to give yourself time to adjust and consider the most valuable ways to spend your free time each morning.
#2 Sleep earlier every night
The other major transition in your daily routine is having to clock in your seven hours of sleep each night. Working backwards, you need to go to bed at 10 pm if you still want to have enough sleep every day.
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.
Forcing yourself to wake up at 5 am each 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.
Similar to waking up 30 minutes earlier each morning, you should go to bed earlier each night. Denying your body enough sleep could be worse than any benefit you may get from waking up at 5 am each day to accomplish more or new things.
#3 Having a purpose
Often, if you don't 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 each morning. You need to have a grander vision for what you want to achieve with each of the things you do in the 20-minute spells.
Whether you go to the park for a jog or do some push-ups at home, you should ask yourself "what's your why?". This could be about wanting to live healthier or increasing your energy levels to play with your children.
Similarly, your 20-minute activities to plan for your future and learn a new skill should be about achieving a greater purpose – perhaps 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 grand vision in the long run.
AIA Vitality also comes in to encourage individuals to take small but important steps to living well. This includes staying active, eating well, checking your health and monitoring your stress levels.
#4 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 if it works for you, you should continue doing it. However, if doesn't quite work for you, there's no reason why you can't modify it to suit your preference or needs.
If you don't get up at 5 am, you could simply get up at 6 am or 7 am. If spending 20 minutes on exercise, planning for your future or learning a skill is too short, there's nothing to stop you from spending 40 minutes or an hour on an activity. There's no rule about how you can use your time to improve your lifestyle.
You don't need to do things in solitude as well. If you think this time is best served working out or charting a plan with your partner, then rope in the other person! This way, there's another person to motivate you to wake up earlier every day.
If you think you want to have breakfast with your young children before school, cycle to work or hit the gym, then it's perfectly fine as well.
Doing what serves you best and gives you the most of your time is the greatest motivation that will keep you waking up earlier and help you stay the course to improve your life.
Gaining 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 leg 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 finances and insurance in order.