How To Start Each Day: Priming Your Day For Success
I have always been interested in how motivational guru’s such as Tony Robbins get themselves into a peak state of psychology and physiology before walking onto the stage to give a seminar. I have always been interested in personal development and peak performance. As a teacher, I know the benefits of being in a peak state before walking into a classroom to give a lesson. One time, I was in a peak state as I had completed the strategies outlined in this article. The lesson flowed smoothly and I had rapport with my students, my lesson went according to plan. I explained the example problems to my students clearly and concisely and the room was alive with positivity. Another time I walked into the classroom after having a confrontational conversation with my department head regarding an issue with a student. I wasn’t in a peak state and the lesson was awful. I didn’t connect with my students, my lesson didn’t flow properly, my explanation of the example problems was poor which led to a series of questions from my students and the atmosphere in the room was negative. I learned a very valuable lesson that day which is that you have a choice – you are either in a peak state or you are not in a peak state. Which one do you think that I chose? I chose to always put myself into a peak state before teaching a lesson to a class of students. And this applies to anytime you are presenting to an audience – teaching, training or public speaking. Being in a peak state of physiology and psychology is key to your success!
Strategy 1: Motivational Videos
When I wake up in the morning believe it or not I am not always in the peak emotional state – being in a state of gratitude for the abundance in my life, grateful for my vocation of teaching and blessed to be healthy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Sometimes I wake up feeling tired, with my mind running through everything I need to accomplish during the day. When eating breakfast, the first strategy I use is to watch a motivational video on Youtube. Spend a few minutes and watch the Youtube video shown below and think about how it makes you feel about your life.
Did it make you feel energised and motivated to take on the challenges of the day? Did it allow you to become focused on what you need to do in order to achieve what you want to achieve by the end of the day? Did it put you into a peak psychological state? I spend a few minutes each week compiling a playlist of motivational videos on Youtube that I can watch on those mornings when am not in a peak state when I wake up.
Strategy 2: Breathing Rituals
After watching a motivational movie clip on Youtube I continue to prime my body and mind by completing a breathing ritual. This ritual increases the oxygen content in my blood which allows me to feel energised for the day.
There are many different ways of completing this exercise but they all have the same end result in that they increase the oxygen content in the blood. The routine that I complete each morning is based on a Tibetan Buddhist breathing ritual. You breathe in through the nose slowly until your lungs are full, hold your breath for a moment and then slowly exhale through your nose.
Another breathing ritual is known as the Stimulating Breath or the Bellows Breath. In this routine you inhale and exhale rapidly though your nose in short breaths so that your diaphragm moves quickly in and out like a pair of bellows. After you complete three breathing in an out cycles you breathe normally before your repeat the cycle again. Over time you can increase the time that you spend completing the routine until you can reach a full minute.
Tony Robbins does a similar breathing exercise to the Stimulating Breath based on the ancient yoga exercise of Kapalabhati Pranayama breathing. In this exercise, you are in the sitting position and inhale in shallow breaths until your lungs are full before exhaling your breath forcefully. The cycle is then repeated several times and concluded with a deep inhale followed by a deep exhale.
Strategy 3: Spiral Of Gratitude
After completing the breathing ritual I complete a spiral of gratitude which is a strategy taught by Tony Robbins in his seminars. It consists of making a mental note of what you are grateful for or what you could be grateful for in each area of your life. You start with yourself and then spiral outwards to your family, friends, vocation and environment.
When I complete the spiral of gratitude exercise I state what I am grateful for in terms of my physical health and mental and emotional wellbeing. Then I state what I am grateful for in the relationships that I have with my mother, father, sister and my dogs. I then state what I am grateful for in terms of my vocation and financial health. And finally I state what I am grateful for because I currently live in London.
For each area of gratitude I state three things that I am grateful for i.e. for my physical health and mental and emotional wellbeing. I find this to be a really useful technique because it is both portable and powerful. It is portable because I can complete this strategy when getting ready for or when commuting to work in the morning. It is powerful because it allows you to start your day from a position of gratitude which is a great emotional place in which to be in the morning.
Strategy 4: Visualise Your Day
The last strategy in my morning priming routine is visualisation practice. I divide my visualisation practice into three key areas – the past, present and the future.
I start this part of my morning routine by reviewing the previous day’s events and visualising any issues in my life as being resolved to my satisfaction. For example, if I have had a difficult conversation with a staff member or department head at work in the previous day I visualise that this situation has been resolved in a healthy way and that I have grown from the experience. Or if I feel negative emotion towards a family member or friend due to an unresolved issue or something said in the heat of the moment then I visualise that I have taken the steps necessary to resolve this situation. If I went for a run the previous evening and my muscles are sore the next day then I visualise my body being in peak physical state. Any thoughts, feelings or physical states stemming from past events that may hinder my day are resolved so I start each day with a clean slate.
I then visualise myself in the present as having the resources and skills necessary to take on the challenges of the day. I visualise myself having an abundance of energy when I am teaching my students. Also, having an endless supply of patience when I am working with them and having the words and explanations I need to explain a difficult concept with ease and gracefulness. Or, I visualise myself having the skill sets necessary to have conversations with fellow faculty members or department heads which are productive and generative in nature. I reinforce the strengths and skills that I have or that I need to have in order to overcome and learn from the challenges of the day and feel as if I have been successful at the end of the day.
Finally, I visualise myself in the future whether it be one day, one week or six months into the future. I visualise my life after I have followed through on my action plan for each area of my life. Whether it is having a successful day teaching my students, running a 15K along the Thames river or moving to the Cayman Islands and running a successful speaking and training company.
When I complete each step of this visualisation routine I create a movie in my mind that is a vivid as possible. I make sure that the movie is in colour, has sound and is from the first perspective. By doing this I visualise a past or future event or a set of resources I need in the present moment in such detail that it changes my psychology and puts me into a peak state.
The Four Strategies To Prime Your Day For Success
- Motivational Videos: Watch a motivational video to start your day. This exercise activates your belief system that you will conquer the challenges of the day and reframes your day into one of positive outcomes.
- Breathing: Complete a breathing exercise to oxygenate your blood and to become alert and ready to take on the challenges of the day. This exercise changes your state and helps you be in a receptive state of mind.
- Spiral of Gratitude: Complete a spiral of gratitude exercise where you make a mental list of three things that you are or could be grateful for in each area of your life. Start with yourself and then spiral outwards to your family, friends, vocation and environment.
- Visualisation: Complete a visualisation exercise where you visualise challenges in your past as being resolved, having the resources and skills in the present to overcome any challenges and your future being as you want it to be. This exercise allows your unconscious to resolve any past challenges and guides it to solving any future challenges.
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