how to install a new habit

The 5 AM Club is a fictional story of 3 people — the billionaire Stone Riley, the entrepreneur and the artist, and a character called the Spellbinder who makes an extended cameo. At its core, it’s about how to win our mornings and make the most of our time and days by waking up at 5 am every day.

While the storytelling may or may not work for you, the information is invaluable. It’s essentially a total package of all the lessons, insights, ideas, formulas and frameworks that Robin Sharma mentions in his podcast and videos and much more, all put together in a coherent way for a better learning experience.

Sharma introduced ‘The 5 AM Club’ concept over twenty years ago, and this book is based on a revolutionary morning routine that has helped his clients maximize their productivity and performance, optimize their health and jumpstart their life.

From today through Thursday, I’ll be discussing the three key takeaways from The 5 AM Club. So, without further delay, let’s dive in.

Key Takeaway #1 – The Habit Installation Protocol

Installing a new habit basically comprises of three stages. The first stage is Destruction, the second stage is Installation and the third stage is Integration.

The entire process takes approximately 66 days. This is based on the research studies conducted at University College London. 

The first stage of creating any new habit Destruction is much like overcoming inertia. In order to change our previous patterns and rewire our brain, we need to put a lot of energy in the beginning. Mel Robbins refers to this as ‘activation energy’ in her book The 5 Second Rule

Destroying our old ways is similar to the launch of a rocket ship. The space shuttle uses a great amount of fuel in the sixty seconds after liftoff than it consumes over the entire orbit around Earth, the reason being it needs to overcome the powerful forces of gravity after it takes off and reach escape velocity. Once the momentum kicks in, the space shuttle glides easily. In a similar way, we need to overcome our deeply ingrained habits and the dominant states of action taking, and we need to battle our own forces of gravity until escape velocity kicks in and we are able to gather some momentum. 

The second stage is Installation that can also be referred to as the “messy middle”. It’s like we’re going through an internal renovation. Previous established foundations are further torn down so that the new better ones can be set up. It’s very likely to feel stressed out, overwhelmed, confused and frustrated during this stage. This is the stage where you’ll be battling your inner demons, but it’s necessary in order for you to win. In the words of the Spellbinder, ‘for you to upgrade to greatness you must undergo an annihilation of your weakness.’ This is the time for the true warrior within you to shine.

The third and final stage is Integration, when it all comes together. As you enter this stage, you’re more skilled and in better touch with your Higher Self. This is success time. All the hard work, sacrifice and suffering along with your grit and courage come together as the new habit that you’ve been working on integrates at a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual level. It becomes your new reality from now on. 

At around the sixty-six-day mark, it locks as an automatic routine, and that’s the Automaticity Point

A powerful point that we can learn from this framework is that all change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.

As we stay strong and relentless throughout the entire process, we’ll be able to build the habits that are necessary to achieve mastery and unlock our true potential.