3 Tips For Anchoring to Habit Change


I've got two letters for you.


That's what I wrote on my hand.

In an effort to lose the weight that somehow kept finding me, I joined Weight Watchers for the fifth time. But I had forgotten one thing. You can't lose weight just by joining. After each meeting was over, I quickly slipped back into my old habits... and those habits definitely didn't support my goal of losing weight. It was as if I had completely forgotten that I had any goal of losing weight.

So, my challenge became how to stay focused on my goals when I wasn't yet in the habit. To help me remember my goal, I did something I told my children never to do. Gulp!

To remind myself that I was a Weight Watchers member every day of the week, with every food choice I make, I wrote on myself.

In black permanent marker, I wrote the letters WW on my hand.

And it worked beautifully. It didn't work overnight, but eventually I changed some habits. Those letters reminded me of my ultimate goal and anchored me to my intentions.

Every time I unconsciously reached for something in my pantry, I would see the black "WW" on my hand, it reminded me that my goal was to lose weight. And I would ask myself, "What do you truly want?". When I answered honestly, the ultimate goal of losing weight always won out over the food in the pantry.

I didn't know it at the time, but I was practicing a technique called Anchoring. Interestingly, all of us practice anchoring when we take photos on a vacation or bring back souvenirs from a trip. Those items anchor us to the good time we had, help us rekindle the feelings we experienced, and somehow our momentos have the ability to virtually take us back to that special place in time.

This week I was meeting with a lovely young client of mine who chose to use a pretty radical anchor of her own. She decided to get her hair cut after our first session, to symbolize letting go of the past and embracing a fresh start.

I know many of us routinely get our hair cut. No big deal right? Well, she actually cut off more than 12 inches of her lush mane! She can't hide behind her curls anymore and she doesn't have to carry that extra weight on her shoulders. She admits it hasn't been easy to get used to the change, but she doesn't regret it one bit.

How's that for anchoring yourself to change?

So how can you anchor yourself to a healthy habit change?

Here are 3 Tips For Anchoring to Habit Change:

  1. Choose your goal.

  2. What will anchor you to that goal or action? (Is it something you can carry in your pocket? Is it an image in your mind? Or a favorite song?)

  3. Connect to the anchor frequently. (Touch the anchor throughout the day. Take time to picture what your goal looks like in your mind. Set your a timer to listen to your anchoring song throughout the day.)

Whether you choose to go simple and use two letters, or you choose to be bold and completely change your look, using Anchors is one way we can support ourselves and gain traction while we change habits.

Another way to gain traction is to work with a coach who specializes in just that. I’d like to talk with you, if you are ready for more energy and less stress. Contact me for a complimentary, no obligation Breakthrough Session, and we’ll create anchors and strategies to move you forward.