Anchoring a habit means to make it specific enough that you know WHERE and WHEN you are going to do the habit. In Atomic Habits, James Clear calls it habit stacking, but I think anchoring is a more visual word. It gives the image of connecting something new with something established.
Anchoring looks like tihs:
After I [something you almost always do], I will [new habit].
Here are some examples:
- After I eat breakfast in the morning, I wil stretch for 5 minutes. - After I brush my teeth at night, I will meditate for 10 minutes. - After I get home from work, I will start cooking dinner.
So how do you choose an anchor?
The first part of each example above is the ‘anchor’. It should be something that you do regularly, and it should also match how often you’re aiming to do the habit.
If you have a daily habit, your anchor should be something done daily. if you want to start a weekly Sunday habit, you could try to fin an anchor that you only do on Sunday. This might be difficult, so you could use another way of making it specific, called implementation intention.
It looks like this:
At [date/time] and [location], I will [new habit].
- On Sunday at 10AM in my living room, I will write my weekly journal. - When I come home from work on Monday to Friday at 6PM, I will put on my running shoes (and go for a run). - On Mondays and Thursdays at 6PM in the kitchen, I will do meal prep.
To make it even more clear, you could schedule these events in your calendar so that a notification pops up 10 minutes before these events.
Why does this help? It reduces the ambiguity of starting a new habit. It allows you to visualize yourself doing it.
Try it out and let us know how it works for you 🙂
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