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The 5 AM Club – My Personal Experience

The 5 AM Club – I am finally writing this post! I think this is one of the most sought after Blogspot! From the moment I shared I was reading this book on my Instagram stories, I received dozens of requests to write a detailed post about my thoughts on the book.  It has been two months since I joined the club and it is time for me to share my thoughts here on the habits that this book aims to impart to its readers.

Books, ladies, books

One of the most important {and exciting!} decisions I’ve made toward the end of 2019 was to start reading books. It’s pretty funny since I was never really a bookworm, when I was younger my dad would try to push me to read more, but I always got away with it somehow. There was a short period before I started my blog when I read some English books, and self-development books, but ever since I started the blog I have always made excuses to others, and myself,  that I don’t have time to read books because I’m constantly reading articles online {to study and specialize in the field}.

So my new year resolution was to read at least one page a day. Meaning, make the minimal first step – baby steps. “I may not have time to read”, I said to myself, “but I can definitely dedicate 3 minutes a day to reading, can’t I?” So not only am I sticking to my decision, I’m no longer reading only one page a day, I’ve read seven books in the past month. 

I began sharing excerpts and quotes from the books I was reading since the beginning of the year, for the fun of it, and also because I know it could inspire my followers. I quickly discovered what a high demand there was for this type of content, although different than what I’d usually share,  and decided to share my thoughts and experience of the books I’m reading in a broader way, by creating a sort of book club 🤓

Some of the books really stirred up a conversation after I posted stories about them, one of them being the best-seller  “The 5 AM Club” by author and spiritual guide, Robin Sharma.

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life | מועדון החמש בבוקר רובין שארמה

The 5 AM Club - What It is and What’s All the Hype About

From the moment I began reading it, and implementing the habits suggested in the book, I received dozens of requests to write a detailed post about my personal experience and what I think and feel about this read. Clearly, I could have written a post right after I was done reading, but I felt I needed to allow myself enough time to truly understand if The 5 AM Club is a passing fad or if it can actually be implemented into our life and generate real change. 

Today, two months in “the club”, I feel ready to share with you my personal experience of The 5 AM Club here, on the pages of my blog 😊

But before I do, if you haven’t read the book yet, or heard of it here’s a short intro…

The 5 AM Club introduces a routine known as the 20/20/20 formula, and it splits the first hour of the morning into three parts – the first 20 minutes are devoted to movement, the next 20 minutes are devoted to contemplation, and the final 20 minutes are devoted to growth. I don't want to go into too much detail about the techniques presented in the book, because you really can’t get much out of them without reading the book, but the book basically explains how to make the most of each of these time frames.

I decided to base this post on excerpts from my diary, written over the last two month during the 20 minutes devoted to contemplation. {And yeah, the fact that I keep a diary is still strange even to me… I think the only other time I tried it was in middle school and didn’t last long 🙃}.

Dear Diary… {My 5 AM Club Trial}

“They say the first step of every journey is the hardest to take, but I do believe that as hard as it may be – sometimes the one-hundredth step {more or less, right?} could really be the hardest step we have to take on our journey. 

Time has taught me that sometimes we are so motivated to take the first step, which pushes us and makes it easier to begin as hard as a first step could be. With that being said, it is quite often that the 20th, 50th or 100th step is, in fact, most challenging to take. It’s pretty simple, with time, the motivation and excitement of starting something new run low because things begin to repeat themselves and become a habit, so we are no longer driven to walk the path we chose. This is why true strength is not only taking the first step – rather keeping to it. Even when anticipation and motivation seem to have gone, and things feel pretty repetitive… that is exactly the point where our true power is measured. Once you cross that point – amazing things can happen!” 

I wrote this on the first morning I joined the club, in a special diary dedicated to thoughts I had during the morning contemplation challenge. The challenge was my attempt to stick to my decision to take on the habits and methods presented in the book, for 60 days.

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life | מועדון החמש בבוקר רובין שארמה

“During my 5 AM challenge, I decided that for the first 20 minutes focused on movement I can do stretches, dance, or just jump in place – any sort of movement would be better than nothing for my body, which is not used to any type of exercise, so baby steps are better than no steps at all. I knew that I’d improve as time goes by.”  

My biggest fear in taking this challenge upon myself was the part of the morning routine dedicated to the movement. I was never the sporty type, although I did get seriously into TRX for a while, but after I had an infection in my hand about two years ago, I completely stopped doing any form of exercise… So while I thought waking at 5 AM would be a breeze {spoiler – I was wrong!} and that I’d have no problem sticking to the activities the 20/20/20 formula involves, I was mostly concerned about the time spent in movement {which is meant to include exercise, sweating, and deep breathing}. Only after a couple of days of practicing Aerobics and power exercising in my living room {with the help of various YouTube videos} did I realize that if I kept this up – not only would I not last – but I also might hurt myself. So I decided to go slow, and dedicate the first 20 minutes of my day to stretching properly – which is the choice I could have made. After a brief search on YouTube, I found Ami Wong‘s excellent channel, which is filled with short exercise classes in various styles. I usually begin my day with her great stretching class, although sometimes I want to change it up and try other beginner workout sessions she has on her channel. I have to say that when I told my family and friends that instead of working out I do stretches, I got lots of eye-rolling in return {which I was getting anyway for choosing to wake up at 5 AM}, and it wasn’t easy. I felt as if I was cheating the system but I had to listen to my body and what I believed would be most helpful in the long run. Eventually, it turned out to be an excellent decision and I feel like these stretches did miracles to my body. {My mom even mentioned I am standing straighter these days, so I’m sure I have the morning stretching to thank💪}.

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life | מועדון החמש בבוקר רובין שארמה

“The 5 AM Club challenge is not at all simple, I think it’s mostly due to the state of mind. The mind has a hard time grasping that it’s time to wake up even though everyone is still asleep, and the fact that it’s not an obligation – meaning there’s no demanding reason like an early flight, or work – makes it easy to say “maybe I’ll let it go today… I’m not in the mood to wake up before everyone else. Besides, it’s winter, and it’s already 5:35 and it’s still dark outside.” The thought of waking up at 5 AM is the hardest. The only way to overcome it is to stop thinking and just wake up. Like a machine. Once you get out of bed, you can turn your thoughts back on. The first days had me up at 4:45! I felt full of energy and got so much work done by 10 AM. But as time went by, the excitement levels got lower, and early rising became a serious obstacle in completing the challenge. Another thing that didn’t help was that I was finding it hard to fall asleep early, so my lack of sleep was beginning to catch up with me.”

I wrote this about a week in. Even though I thought the easiest part would be waking up early, I quickly discovered that I am not the morning person I thought I was 🙃As the days went by, and the words from the book began to have less of an impact on me, it became harder to pull myself out of bed. It was then that I learned that going to bed early was also easier said than done. I realized that a big part of my life takes place in the late evening. Whether it was my difficulty to let go of night-time screen time or social gatherings that go late into the night {in the club, “late night” begins at 9 PM}. In short, even though I was rising early pretty easily at first {sometimes even before my alarm clock – set for 4:45 AM}, as days went by and I sacrificed more and more sleep hours, I felt exhausted and unmotivated.

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life | מועדון החמש בבוקר רובין שארמה

“It’s not all or nothing. I can afford to be more flexible without feeling like I’m totally off track. I decided to get up a little bit later and do the routine, or parts of it, and it’s not the end of the world. After all, if I’m up at 5 but I’m too exhausted, then it’s not worth it. I have the privilege to wake up at a later hour, and still do the routine, so why should I be so hard on myself? I mean, yeah, it felt pretty amazing to get up so early and get so much done before noon, but with time I began feeling the loss of sleep hours which is totally not the point and not worth it. I would get up, do my routine, but then had no desire to do anything else, I was too exhausted. Beforehand, I was used to getting out of bed later, not before 9 Am, so in any case, this was an improvement.”

Later on, I decided to implement the 5 AM routine at a later hour of the day. After all, I’m a freelancer, which means my days begin and end whenever I want. So I tried one week at 6 AM, then the next at 7 AM, and after that at 8 AM. As of now, I start my day between 7 and 7:30 and feel like it’s the right time for my body to rise {at least during winter}. I’m aware that most people, whether you’re an employee or a mother, or both, are less flexible with their mornings… In that case, I recommend that you try and make time for the routine at 5 AM if you can {might also be easier for you to fall asleep earlier, which will make it easier to wake up} If that doesn’t work – you can always try the routine at an easier hour on the weekends {think of it like a bi-weekly class} at least that’s what I would do 😉

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life | מועדון החמש בבוקר רובין שארמה

“I’m really enjoying the habits that make up this morning routine. The 20/20/20 formula is like a meditation session, and just like when practicing meditation, you have to be persistent even if you’re not perfect at it. What do I mean? Think of it this way – our goal when we meditate is to connect with ourselves through breathing exercises and emptying our minds. Not thinking about the past or future, being present, here and now. Not easy. As humans, we almost never truly live in the present, We’re always either pondering the past, planning or worrying about the future, and what’s funny is that even though we exist in the present – we never actually succeed at being present. Even when you’re on a trip, for example, we often compare to a previous destination we traveled to, or fantasize about the next, before this trip comes to an end. So when meditating, you gotta practice – a lot – to reach a state of mind when you can really let your thoughts go and focus on the present. If anyone who attempted meditation would quit after a few weeks saying “well, I can’t do this right, I keep finding myself back in the past or thinking irrelevant thoughts during my practice, this is not for me” –  no one would ever be able to meditate! It takes practice, as it does not come naturally to us even though it is so healthy and helpful to us. In my opinion, the 20/20/20 formula is no different. At first, you’re no wiz at it, you ‘tumble’ at times, and still, you have to let it go and accept that although you didn’t do it perfectly this time around, your practice will improve with time. The same way we accept our passing thoughts during meditation, and we are not upset at ourselves for thinking them, we don’t fight the thoughts – we let them go and focus on the here and the now through our breathing.”

I happen to like all of the routines of the 20/20/20 formula {some took me longer to love than others} but the morning meditation is by far a keeper. I’ve practiced meditation in the past {when I had a hard time relocation to Eilat, before I started my blog, and when I couldn’t sleep at night} but thanks to the 5 AM routine I’ve really managed to make it a habit. I spend 10 minutes practicing meditation {almost} each morning, and it really helps me start my day on the right foot. By the way, I sometimes fall asleep meditating {it’s like listening to a bedtime story, and luckily Daniel doesn’t mind 🙈😅} I use the Headspace app, it’s great! {It may not be free, but it’s worth every penny!}

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life | מועדון החמש בבוקר רובין שארמה

“Flexibility. I think that must be the deepest lesson I’ve learned so far this year. It’s amazing how such a shift in one’s state of mind can be made in such a short time. It’s like Daniel always says about me – I’m all black-and-white, no compromises, no “in-between”, it’s got to be perfect and precisely how I want it to be. A characteristic that has its benefits – I don’t give up on what’s important to me, I stand my ground and don’t quit until I reach the perfect result. Although it has its faults as well, at times I'm so sure I’m right I become closed to any opinions or suggestions that are different than my line of thought. Some advice might be better than others, but it’s important to stay open-minded and not be stuck on something for no good reason. My “black and white” nature served me until recently in things I was doing, if I wasn’t doing them right, better not to be doing them at all. Better to give up. This was the way I saw things for a long time. The thing is, I was ignoring the most beautiful thing all along, progress. You can’t expect to take on a new habit or ability and be 100% at it from the start. It takes time to get used to, incorporating the habit or ability in a way that it eventually comes naturally to you. When I think about it, the only field I’ve become more flexible in recently is my brand – Hedonistit, and the business I’ve built around it. I had a hard time at first, especially the beginning, coping with all the imperfections, and things not going according to my plans, and yes there were times when I thought of calling it quits “because if it’s not perfect I’m better off going in another direction”. Luckily, I stuck to it, and I keep on developing and improving. 

So why am I saying I’ve learned to be more flexible in the past two months? Because I managed to ignore both inner and outer voices undermining my choice to try the 5 AM Club, especially at the times when I was nowhere near being picture-perfect according to the “rules”. I decided that since I made this choice, even if I got one thing right in my routine – it was an improvement, and was worth it. 

The old me would have stopped as soon as I wasn’t doing it perfectly by the book. I was all about the all or nothing. If I would have missed it once, or stretched the rules too far, it was suddenly not worth it. Recently though, I’ve become more lenient with myself, if I used to see giving up as a weakness, today I see it in a different light. According to the harsh perspective I had before, the moment I stopped waking up at 5 would be the moment I missed out on the whole point of the challenge. It’s funny because when my sister heard I was waking up at 7 instead of 5, she said to me “don’t make it known that you woke up later, it doesn’t sound good”. Daniel also made fun of me here and there, saying it doesn’t count if I wake up at 7.

But when you think about it – it really doesn't have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to get up at 5  every single day including weekends. You can start slow, miss a few beats, and strive to improve on a daily basis.  Even if that means waking up at 7 and completing the routine on a morning when you had a really hard time waking up. A small victory is a victory after all. It ain’t perfect or “by the book”, but an effort was made to get better, reach further, and it's still considered getting out of your comfort zone. So yes, I’ve been up to this challenge for almost two months now {missing a day here and there} and I’m happy to be sticking to it one way or another. It may not be perfect but it’s a lot better than I was when I first started out, and that smells perfect to me.”

I think the most important thing I gained from reading this book was the change in my way of thinking and the ability to be more flexible. True, that’s not really in the book… the book actually states how important it is to keep to the routine and stick to it. But since I was so connected with the idea behind the 20/20/20 routine, I realized that if I want to be able to implement it in the long run, I need to adapt it to my lifestyle and do so gradually. So I decided to let go of my “all or nothing” way of looking at things, and keep moving forward even if that means bending the rules a little bit.

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life | מועדון החמש בבוקר רובין שארמה

“I’ve been practicing the 5 AM morning routine for over two months now. I do it on and off, try different hours of the day, different styles and exercise methods, and I am trying to understand if this is all even worth it. What is it about this technique that makes me want to go on with it, one way or another? 

On the one hand, there is the challenge itself, Meaning I started something and so I’ll stick to it. Why? Because that’s the way I am. I don’t give up easily and I’m not one to quit so fast. But there’s really more to it. If I only had to do it to prove something to myself, I would probably last no more than a month. But that’s not what happened. There are further reasons that kept me going. 

First of all, the concept of this routine, although I allow myself to be flexible about certain things it presents, it really does help me do important things, things that I wanted to get to regardless of the 5 AM Club, like stretching {never really had time for it}, meditation, reading, and writing this diary… It’s not that I wanted so badly to write this kind of diary and didn’t get to it for reasons like time or anything else you can whip out of the pool of excuses, it didn’t even come to mind until the activity I took upon myself in the recent months helped me understand how meaningful it is to spend a certain amount of time a day writing freely {even when there’s not much  to write about and you just go with flow}.

The third and final reason, which is probably the best proof that we become open to things that are right for at the right time, is my decision to invest in a concept known as “self-care” this year. This book and the ideas it introduces created the perfect base for me to start activating my new agenda and implementing it into my daily routine.”

This is the last excerpt concerning the 5 AM Club written in my diary, and I think it pretty much sums up my experience ✌️

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life | מועדון החמש בבוקר רובין שארמה

So Here Are My Two Cents About the 5 AM Club…

I think it’s a great book, full of excellent insight, and I pretty much think everyone should read it at least once in their lifetime. The book has a lot more to offer than the 20/20/20 formula I mentioned in this post. It is full of ideas and other tools {some of which I took upon myself} that really can enrich our lives. When it comes to entering the 5 AM Club? Well, I guess it can’t hurt to try – worst-case scenario, you miss a few hours of sleep 😉 and as you probably see from the glimpse into my diary, in just two months I personally gained so much from being part of the club, so I’m really glad I took upon the challenge!

 

What do you think about The 5 AM Club? Did you read the book? Leave me a comment below!

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