How Waking Up At 5 AM Is Changing My Life

    Every day started in the same rushed and chaotic manner. I snoozed my well-intentioned alarm clock once, then twice...ok, I admit, 3 times. In the moment I believed those 27 snoozed minutes were benefiting me, but in reality 27 minutes of fragmented sleep were not setting my mornings up for success. 

    I rise later than anticipated. I give thanks for dry shampoo because I don’t have time to shower. I curse myself for not showering the night before, and try to recall the reason for not doing so without success. I’ve mastered the art of applying my makeup in about 4 minutes, and I choose to wear the first thing I see in my closet (probably a black sweater with jeans). 

    Up until now, everything has been on my timeline, but as soon as I wake my 5 year old daughter, Tessa, she will dictate the remaining course of the morning. Inevitably she will want to sleep 5 more minutes. I reluctantly agree and use the time to make our lunches. The clock on my stove taunts me: “You have to leave in 20 minutes.” 

    In these 20 minutes I have to feed my daughter, dress her, do her hair, pack her school bag, pack my purse, feed the cat, get out the door without forgetting anything, and then be further delayed by the frost which has accumulated on my car overnight. Sound familiar?

    In December 2019, it felt like each consecutive morning was getting more and more hectic and I was carrying this energy with me throughout the day. My anxiety levels were increasing, I was exhausted, my productivity was decreasing at work and at home, and I could feel my mental health declining. 

    Changes needed to be made. 

    Here is how it all happened:

    The Sign from the Universe

    I have always suspected that reorganizing the chaos I experienced in my day to day life could be remedied with a solid routine. Much to my own resistance I also realized that this routine would likely have to take place early in the morning. 

    I have attempted to wake early in the past, but continued to fall victim to my snooze button. I believe I lacked success for two reasons: 

    1. I hadn’t reached my breaking point. My willingness to change wasn’t strong enough. Sure, I was frustrated, and knew a change was needed, but I didn’t quite want it badly enough

    2. I didn’t have proper guidance on how to implement a routine. 

    It was the third week of December 2019 when I finally reached my breaking point and the chaos overwhelmed me. On this one particular day my partner, Ian, and I were having a rare phone conversation. I was recapping my day and articulated that I couldn’t keep going the way I was. Christmas vacation was upon us, and I told him come January I would have to start doing things different. 

    I wanted my day to unfold with grace and ease, and my mission was to figure out how by 2020. I suspect, I said to him, that creating a solid morning routine will have to be part of the process. 

    It was in this moment that I surrendered my well being to the care of the universe. Of course, I didn't realize it at the time. In retrospect, the words I spoke to Ian were a prayer... a signal to the greater powers that be asking them to do for me what I could not do for myself. 

    About two hours later, I found myself mindlessly browsing through instastories. And then, on the screen of my phone appeared a picture of the book The 5AM Club by Robin Sharma

    The 5 AM Club

    I don’t believe it was an accident that I discovered The 5AM Club that night.  A prayer had been answered. I had been given guidance and the exact tool I needed to improve the quality of my mornings. 

    I purchased the book and began reading it immediately. I’ve read many “self help” books, but none like this one. 

    Unlike most books of this genre, I was not reading the author’s authoritative voice making recommendations to me. I was reading a fictional story about 2 people, just like me, seeking to enhance their lives and unexpectedly discovering a mentor to guide them. The characters have no names because they represent every one of us.

    “own your morning, elevate your life.”  

    -Robin Sharma

    Scientific research is presented to reinforce the idea that getting up early is beneficial, and a specific formula for what to do when you wake is provided. This is called the 20/20/20 formula: 20 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of planning/contemplation, 20 minutes of personal development. 

    As I read this book I became more and more inspired, I came to fear waking at 5 AM less, and I knew I now possessed the tools to make a major change. I articulated my intentions and desires for the new year on January 1st, 2020. This is what I wrote:

    I really want to be a morning person, and start my day off right. Everyday. I want to have quality “me time” to dedicate to my mind, body & spirit. I want to eliminate the chaos from my mornings, and instead carry a sense of grace and ease with me all day. 

    I know accomplishing this will bring me joy because I will be proud of myself when I manifest what I have described above. The productivity, organization, and commitment to this practice has the ability to set a more joyful tone for my entire day. I will eliminate guilt. I will connect more fully with my highest self by breaking through my fears of “I can’t,” “I don’t have time,” and “I should have.”

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