I believed the 5 a.m. membership was probably the most absurd factor ever. Then I attempted it
I was never a morning person, so the idea of volunteering at dawn sounded absurd – but what if it could help restore my self-esteem?
When my colleagues told me about “5 am Club” a few years ago, I found it absolutely ridiculous. The idea was: you wake up an hour before your spouse and children and use this distraction-free time to Focus on your personal wellbeing, with a mix of exercise, meditation, and reading or learning. The point is, you strengthen your mind, body, and soul for the day.
I got up at 6:30 a.m. during the week and that felt really early. And my personal wellbeing really wasn’t a priority as my family and career have lagged behind.
But the seeds were sown and I kept hearing about this “club”. I have learned that some very successful people are part of the club and these people say that they feel more energetic, focused, and productive as the day progresses. I’ve decided it couldn’t hurt to learn more about it, so I lost weight The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma to see what all the hype was about.
It definitely got me thinking. As a mother of a six-year-old and an eight-year-old, I recognized that with recognized a full time job, a man and a dog, I didn’t have much time to myself. For years I had relied on those precious hours at the end of the night when I parked in front of the television with a large glass of wine. But this time was not really relaxing for me. I was constantly feeling exhausted and even a little annoyed with my family and work because their needs were a higher priority.
When I was halfway through the book, I was convinced. I have decided.
My first attempt: Successful, but short-lived
First, I followed the routine exactly as described in the book: 20 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of meditation and journaling, and 20 minutes of study / reading. At first I felt fantastic – I noticed a significant increase in my energy and focus throughout the day and was definitely more productive. Also, I was proud of myself for getting out of bed so early that I honestly didn’t think I would go through with this as I’m not a morning person.
But how lots of new routines, it didn’t last forever. After just a few weeks, I started dreading the 5am alarm clock and hit the snooze function. The idea of dragging myself out of bed to workout just didn’t work for me. I slept in again in the mornings and rushed around to get everyone ready.
My second attempt: a change in routine
Then I heard of a woman who woke up at 5:30 a.m. every day to write a book. I wondered why I couldn’t customize a morning routine that would work for me. I had initially believed that in order to get the full benefit of the lesson, I had to follow the routine exactly as set out in Sharma’s book. But what’s the use of a routine that doesn’t motivate you to get up and reap the benefits?
I decided to try again, this time with a routine to look forward to. When my alarm went off, I drank a glass of water, meditated for 5 or 10 minutes, wrote a journal, exercised gratitude, studied / read in the meantime instead of starting exercise – which is what I like least drink a coffee, and then worked out. I kept the workouts fresh by changing them: some days I jogged, other days I did weights or blow music and danced. Some mornings I skip training entirely and spend more time reading. I also allowed myself to skip the weekend morning routine so I could stay up late on Friday or Saturday nights to hang out with my husband or make a Zoom call with friends. And if I was up at night with a sick child, I would turn off the alarm.
The results a year later
It has now been more than a year and I am proud to say that I am not only there, but have changed my life. I look forward to waking up at 5 a.m. every day. Two years ago I couldn’t have imagined these words would leave my lips. Me? Excited to wake up at 5 a.m. for any reason other than a flight to a sunny destination in the middle of winter ?! But the positive sides of joining the club are undeniable. I am stronger physically and mentally, and I am much calmer and more focused, especially when it comes to my upbringing. I no longer spend my evenings wishing my kids to fall asleep early so I can finally have some time to myself. I also feel less guilty about not being healthier for my children.
My new routine meant some other changes in my life. I’m going to sleep at 10 p.m. now, which means I can relax for the night around 9 p.m. a night owl), it’s just before my bedtime. I also get tired earlier each night than I used to, so anything that requires a lot of brain power needs to be done earlier in the day. After all, the evening before I have to be pretty sure that I have everything ready for the next morning so that it doesn’t eat up until my lesson.
It may sound ridiculous to parents of babies or toddlers to wake up earlier than your children. But at some point they sleep better and it becomes doable. So if you desperately need more alone time – whether it be exercising, meditating, writing a book, or just listening to a podcast while sipping your coffee undisturbed – you should join the club.
Shannon Talbot is a Toronto-based writer and health coach. Your wellness blog can be found Here.