Anchoring Habits and Goals

Thoughts + Decisions + Behaviors + Habits = You

We all have habits that we created over time. Whether it is a good habit or a bad habit is your choice.

So we want to improve the quality of our lives. We want to achieve more, be more, get more, how do we change the long term pattern of behaviors that have been ingrained in our lives?

Bad habits are hard to break. Good habits are hard to make. A great way to begin to remove a bad habit and or create a new good habit is to anchor the habit.

One of the toughest ways to change our habits is to do something totally out of the normal for us. Have you ever tried going cold turkey on a diet? Or trying to cut out doing a bad habit just for the heck of it. I bet you could probably do it for a couple days or maybe even a couple of weeks but eventually you end up reverting back to your old ways and the bad habit wins again!

Whatever habit you have developed over the years is going to be very hard to break or very hard to create. Because of the fact we have done the habit hundreds if not thousands of times over and over. Our brain gravitates to whatever is familiar the more and longer you have done the habit in question the harder it is to replace it.

I have found the best way to change your habits is to anchor the habit with another existing habit.

How to Anchor a Habit?

When you anchor a habit you are taking the new habit and attaching it to another existing habit to ensure you remind yourself and execute the new habit.

One of my favorite examples is I have a female client, let’s call her Amy, and she is on a mission to get in the best shape of her life. She was in shape a few years ago and feeling great. One of the things she remembered when she was in great shape was that she could crank out 25 ‘real’ pushups in a row! As of today she cannot even do 4 pushups. She has let her life (school, work, family, etc…) take control and sacrificed her body and health in the process. She feels terrible about her current state of health and is ready to get back in shape! So she is working out again and eating healthy. But she wants to get those pushups back. So I taught her how to “Anchor the Habit”.

I ask her, “Amy do you take a shower every day?” She says, “Yes of course!” So what if every time you take a shower you have to complete 10 pushups, every time! Every time you turn on the shower and let the water heat up you drop down and do 10 pushups before you get in the shower. If you do that every time then as the weeks roll by you will get closer and closer to 10 ‘real’ pushups and eventually 10 pushups will be no problem so you can add more. Then as the months roll on you will continue to add more and more pushups which will result in not only 25 pushups but much much more. What if you did your pushups for over a year? How many do you think you could get?

Whether you trying to break your diet coke habit or add in some more workouts per week anchoring a habit keeps it very simple and very familiar for you. You are simply sneaking in a new habit with a current habit that you have already been doing.

Simple + Small steps + Consistently = New You

What are some bad habits you would like to break? Or good habits you would like to create? Can you think of a good habit to anchor it with? Share in the comments.