Anchoring can be used to help you create good habits.

Anchoring is when something – a trigger or stimulus – becomes associated with a state of mind or feeling.

When you experience that thing again, it triggers the same feeling.

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Anchoring good habits

Anchoring can help you make good habits

Anchoring and Pavlov’s dog

This post follows on from my blogs on priming.

Anchoring is another way to leverage the mind-body connection.

The most famous example is “Pavlov’s dog”.

Psychologist Ivan Pavlov won the Nobel prise for Psychology and Medicine in 1904 and is viewed as the founder of modern behaviour psychology.

Yet, Pavlov discovered classical conditioning by accident whilst studying salivation in dogs.

He found that if he provided an additional stimulus, such as the sound of a bell or the flash of a light, each time he fed a dog, the dog associated that stimulus with food and salivated.

Once the sound of the bell was anchored to being fed, ringing the bell resulted in the dog salivating even when there was no food.

Habits are a form of anchoring

You can view habits as a form of anchoring.

As an example, if you react to stress by eating chocolate, then chocolate becomes anchored with that emotion.

This means that when you feel stress, you feel like eating chocolate.

Advertising companies play on this behavioural conditioning, even in situations where the product that they want to place has little or no relationship to the thing that they want to link it to.

Take, for example, the drink Guinness and rugby.

Advertisers have managed to link this alcoholic drink to this professional sport, so that when people watch the sport they want to drink a pint.

Once you start to drink it whilst watching the sport, you can soon find that watching it is not complete without a drink.

It is very clever and very manipulative.

So much for good habits!

Anchoring and your environment

How can you use anchoring in a positive way?

One simple way it to add things to your environment that to trigger you to take a positive action.

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, used this idea to help him learn an instrument by changing his environment.

He put his guitar and music stand in the centre of his living rooms, so that it was easy to have a quick play every time he entered the room.

Think about how you can change your environment to make it more conducive to doing forming positive habits.

Positive anchors

Anchoring can be used to take control of your emotional responses, because it is a fabulous way to create a positive state of mind and therefore feeling.

You can do this by anchoring an action to a positive state of mind when you have the feeling.

You can then replay the action to recall that state of mind when you need it.

I use an NLP technique called the Ring of Power to get into a powerful, positive frame of mind.

I use it before I go into a situation where I need extra confidence, energy or other positive emotions.

It you would like to find out more about the Ring of Power, contact us or come to the next IMPACT Goal workshop:

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