Anchor those good feelings

So New Year and potentially a whole new set of goals and targets for the year ahead? Have you ever considered what state you need to be in in order to achieve those goals? Do you need confidence, energy, inspiration, focus, determination or calm? Well whatever it is the way you have been conditioned you probably have never thought of these as immediately attainable but rather something that you should earn or pursue, i.e. Happiness? The problem here is that as long as you are pursuing it you haven’t got it!! So why not have the good feelings now?

The feelings that you will get when you have achieved your goals you can have now and use them as useful resources in the present by a process known as anchoring.An anchor is an external stimulus that elicits an internal response, remember Pavlov and his salivating dogs? For example a picture of a loved one (external stimulus) may make you feel warm inside and happy (internal response), where as a snake or spider may make you fearful and anxious. Either way these are known as anchors. We all have many habitual anchors that we are blissfully unaware of and these anchors will influence how you feel on a day to day basis. You can create your own anchor using a favourite piece of music, a unique phrase you say to yourself, a picture of a loved one, a fond memory a clenched fist or whatever is unique to you. So whatever good feelings you want you can have them NOW, yes NOW!!

Once you have decided on the state that you want and the anchor you want to use you can marry the two together.

Think of your desired state. OK say it is motivation for exercise, allow yourself to remember a time when you were immensely motivated, a time when you could do anything. Remember this does not have to be related to your goal. So if you wanted to be motivated to exercise you could think of a work situation when you were motivated. If you can’t think of a time imagine what you would be like if you were motivated.

As you remember your desired state do it associated, that is remembering the event as is you were looking through your own eyes. Also make the picture in your minds eye big, colourful, bright, moving, 3D, loud with surround sound. Basically engage your senses as if you are reliving the experience again, seeing what you saw at the time, hearing what you heard and feeling what you felt.

Once you feel as though the feeling of being motivated is as intense as it was when you initially experienced it, FIRE your ANCHOR!! Clench your fist, play your motivating tune, pinch your ear, say your phrase or look at your picture.

Well done your brain has now made an association between your anchor and the state of being motivated. The more you practice this then the stronger the association will become. Then when you need to feel motivated simply fire your anchor and off you go!!

Look out for Elite sportsmen and women at the top of their game using this process. Lewis Hamilton (Ear Pinch on podium) and Tiger Woods (Golf Club Twirl after a great shot) both fire their anchors when at the top of their game thus reinforcing good feelings.

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