I tried Tony Robbins’ morning routine for a week and this is what I learned.
Picture a chirpy Italian lady wrapped up in a robe is energetically moving her hands up and down, breathing loudly at 7 a.m. in the morning.
No, this is not a cheap B-movie power move.
This has been me for the past seven days, rhythmically breathing, visualizing, and practicing gratitude as taught by self-development master Tony Robbins.
My platonic relationship with Tony Robbins started over 8 years ago when I would march out in nature listening to his audio-cassette program.
I can safely say, at the time it changed my life. It prompted me to leave my job and start my solo career and thriving business.
Since then, I think I have slowly developed a much less vocal admiration, yet I have come back to Tony time and time again when in need of help and guidance.
Last month, I was recording a podcast for our very own show when my guest recalled his morning routine for me. He mentioned he started following Tony Robbins’ priming routine.
Obviously, I recognized my old pal Tony straight away, and I asked him to share it with me. I am no stranger to morning rituals.
Indeed, creating a morning ritual is the perfect way to start your day.
What is priming anyway?
One way to define priming is “the act of taking time to adjust your thoughts and emotions so you can live your life in your peak state.” This is a principle well-known in psychology, involving repetition, emotions, and perception (among other things).
Priming is aiming at mastering your emotions as it prompts you to take a breath and control your thoughts through specific exercises. So far, so good.
Priming takes into account the principles of NLP and what Tony Robbins fans would know as better thoughts/feelings.
A lot of priming is due to the questions we ask ourselves during the day, especially first thing in the morning.
In a fascinating Harvard research paper, a short questionnaire that included either a question about gender or ethnicity was taken to measure the math test scores of Asian American women.
Those who were asked to identify their ethnicity scored 11% higher than those who were asked to identify their gender and 5% higher than the control group (who didn’t have a question about their gender or ethnicity before the test).
This is just to prove the impact of our thoughts on our overall performance.
Since every day we need to perform in life, setting ourselves up for success seems the most logical thing to do.
Tony Robbins’ priming routine
So there I am, ready to follow Tony’s voice through the next 15 minutes. This is a breakdown of my priming routine.
I start by sitting down, my hands up in the air.
I then start vigorously pushing the hands down, up and down again, breathing what yogis may know as the fire breath.
Fast breathing in and out, for three sets of ten. This wakes my body and brain up, as well as energizing me — yes, I feel rather silly whilst I do this bit.
According to Ayurveda, your mind and breath mirror each other. A quiet mind leads to a quiet breath.
When you learn to regulate your breath, you can influence both your physical and emotional states.
Research also shows that changing breathing patterns restores balance to your stress response system like reducing anxiety and depression.
After this, it’s time to think about three things I am grateful for. Instead of writing them down, I visualize them with my eyes closed, taking time to relive each moment (a very important step).
I personally decided to focus on things that happened to me in the past 24 hours, however big or small they may be.
Many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories.
When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores.
This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.
Now comes the part that’s like a blessing or a prayer. Tony talks you through a colored light coming down and filling your body, healing anything that needs to be healed — body, thoughts, emotions, feelings.
After this healing light goes through and strengthens you, Tony asks you to send all the energy you’ve gotten through your healing and strengthening out to others.
“Visualization is effective as it bypasses our logical (or illogical) mind by tapping into a global sense of ourselves and our emotions. It allows us to remember emotions, or to promote an emotional state connected to certain contexts.” — Dr. Michel Mennesson, MD, Psychiatrist at Newport Academy
Last but not least, think about three outcomes or goals that you want to achieve today (or this week). Once again, you are asked to step into each one of them.
What would achieving them feel like?
Place yourself in that position of achievement and celebrate that feeling of completion.
Priming my mornings
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” — Tony Robbins
Is priming for everyone? Probably not.
Yet, it’s a powerful tool to create structure and positive drive in your mornings. Yes, I felt rather silly at first, but you know what? At the end of my 15 minutes, I felt recharged, inspired and uplifted.
Adding movement and breathing work definitely helps me waking up and getting ready to start my morning practice.
All it takes, really, is 15 minutes.