Accountability – this is the secret ingredient. There are 2 types of forces in life – Push and Pull. Push takes more willpower (which is limited), Pull appears to take less willpower. Having an accountability tool is the best pull power tool that I know of and it has made all the difference to me in achieving my goals.
Accountability to others makes me wakeup early, I am driven to record that fact I wakeup early, to report to my accountability buddies. The tool my buddies (2 located in kiwi land) and I use is a tool called Slack real-time messaging (kind of ironic especially when we are talking about waking up at 5.00AM). We have a chat channel called 5AM_club, we are committed to check-in at 5.00AM every morning (NZ is 2 hours ahead).
Without this tool, I don’t think I would have been able to create the 5AM habit.
4. What and Why to do at 5.00AM
There are certain activities that will will make waking up at 5.00AM easier as time goes on. Activities that will contribute to the physiology of your willpower to get up at 5.00AM include:
- Good sleep the night before
- Types of food
To make 5.00AM wakeup you have to sleep early. I choose to sleep at 10.00-10.30PM. The tool I use is a simple calendar reminder on my iPad (which goes off at 9.00PM) to tell me to start wrapping up the day. Just before I go to bed my routine is to setup my alarms, make sure the volume is high and my iPad is charging. I place the iPad strategically on a table next to me, far enough so I have to stretch without accidentally falling out of bed.
1. 4:45AM wakeup – and check-in with my accountability buddies.
2. 5:00AM wakeup – get out of bed, feet hits the floor
3. 6.30AM – Exercise
4. 7.30AM – Plan the day
You have to make sure you have enough sleep for the 5AM to become a habit. A lot of ambitious people will try to cut down their sleep in an attempt to get more done. This might seem to be working but it is only sustainable for a short period of time. Ariana Huffington had a great recount of how the lack of sleep almost cost her life and has researched and adopted a better lifestyle and an even more successful Ariana (I did not think this was possible). Do yourself a favour and look it up “Thrive by Ariana Huffington” and follow the advice of the world’s most successful Media Entrepreneur.
I have had to change my views on exercise to make this work. In my twenties, I used to be gym junkie, in fact I was training to become a gym instructor at one stage of my life. But now I am much older and have time commitments, which are not solely my own, so going to the gym is hindrance to getting things done. So my approach now is very simple – Just exercise for 22 minutes (incl getting started) and make sure you crank up the intensity to at least a 7 or 8/10 for the remaining 20minutes.
Why 20 mins ?
1. There is absolutely no excuse with not having enough time with this timeframe – you woke up at 5.00AM you should have another 1-2 hours so 20mins : No Excuse!
2. There have been countless studies to show that 20mins is all you need to get aerobically fit.
3. There are countless programs on Youtube on 20minute routines –including HIIT, Tabata training, calisthenics, crossfit and MMA like workouts.
4. If you take an approach of functional fitness of exercise using your own weight or something as simple as a dumbbell, resistance band and a chinup bar. You can build an awesome physique (if this is you thing) at home.
The trick is to make the exercise component a habit, get it done and dusted as part of the morning routine. No Psyching yourself up, no “getting ready” – just put on tshirt and shorts and go.
The first time I came across the concept of “fitness as a habit” was through a story of the 1 pushup habit. The short version is that the person challenged himself to perform 1 pushup everytime he got out of bed. The habit soon kicked in and before he knew he was performing 30+ push ups religiously. Never ever missing the exercise. In fact once the habit was formed he never looked back.
I am guilty – It is a habit that I have yet to form consistently (sill learning to stack this). I have started to practise Yoga in the morning and end with a meditation session. I find my biggest challenge with mediation as a singular exercise is falling asleep.
But to calm one’s mind and centre themselves is so important for the goals of the 5AM club – to get more done, to feel alive.
I find that this guided mediation guide works very well – Check out Vishen’s 6 phase meditation.
I will work on this aspect of my life and blog about it
Having good consistent diet will increase obviously increase your energy level and make the 5.00AM club easier. I have always been quite good with my diet and that is because I am a good cook. I enjoying cooking, love Asian food and its mix of veges and protein. Because I am not measuring it I actually cannot comment – something I need to work on.
I will be sure to blog about this on my journey