Priming: Wake up with energy and motivation

I listen a lot to the Tim Ferriss show these days. I think he is a great interviewer, asking truly interesting questions to remarkable guests, and receiving valuable answers.

A week or so ago I listened to his interview with legendary self-help author and life coach Tony Robbins (who have coached lots of people including top athletes and US presidents). The whole interview is definitely worth a listen or two.

What I took away this time, and have started trying in my own life, is Robbins' technique of priming, which is a daily habit that will take up the first 10 minutes of your day. Priming boosts your motivation, energy, inspiration and mood to really kickstart (I hate that term with a passion, due to everyone's overuse, but in this sentence it actually felt appropriate :) your day! Priming is discussed 26 minutes into the first part of the interview, and below you have it in written form.

Breath walking

During a priming session Tony first begins by breathing in a simple but special pattern as described in The Hour of Power, at 1:10:30. This breathing pattern will stimulate your body to cleanse itself. When doing this for five minutes as described below, you will feel very different at the end of it. As I interpret Tony Robbins you should preferably do this while walking. He calls it "breath walking".

  1. Inhale four breaths in a row, in a fairly quick fashion, through your nose.
  2. Immediately exhale four breaths in a row, in the same tempo, through your mouth.
  3. Repeat the inhaling and exhaling 30 times without interruption and then breath normally for a little while.
  4. Repeat step 1-3 above three times. Ie. the whole exercise is 30 x 3 complete breaths.


You should do at least 10 minutes of priming. Tony Robbins mentions he often spends more time than that, but 10 minutes is his minimum. Every day, no matter what.

If you don't have 10 minutes, you don't have a life.

Priming is different from meditation. Tony Robbins always does the breath walking described above before he does priming. I haven't tried breath walking myself yet, but maybe I'll add it later.

Priming is simply these three mental exercises:

1. Feel grateful

Practice gratefulness. Feel thankful for at least three things in your life, one of them being something very simple like the warmth of the sun on your face, or the freshness of the air you are breathing.

It is crucial to really feel thankful, and not only think it. As you feel grateful throughout your whole soul, you kill any negative emotions, as it is impossible for our brain to feel them together with gratefulness.

2. Inner presence

The second three minutes you focus on feeling an inner presence in yourself. I interpret this as you should imagine an inner presence or energy that heals and strengthens everything inside your body, your mind, your emotions and finances etc. Feel how this energy solves everything that needs to be solved in your life.

You don't need to believe in a god or any other kind of mysticism to do this (I certainly don't) – view it as a mental exercise to reach a blissful mental state.

3. Make things happen

The last three minutes you focus on three things you want to make happen. I tend to use this to broadly plan my day, and visualize the three most important things I want to accomplish during the day, doing so with an amazingly blissful feeling in my body still lingering from the previous steps.

I feel that this third step makes my mind associate good feelings with the work I will do during the day, which I have experienced makes me far more motivated to do it, even if it would be work I am not normally fond of doing.

After doing the above three steps for 10 minutes, I feel super strong energy, motivation and an urge just to get started with my day!

I recommend you to try it as well. It has utterly turned around some mornings where I woke up feeling lazy and unmotivated.

Thank you Brian Solis for the header photo of Anthony Robbins, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Micael Widell

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