Photo By Hillary Ehlen
You might currently be drifting in and out to sea with the tide, floating on that boat of struggling to find that ideal balance in your life regarding work-life balance, health, happiness and fulfillment. This is because you aren’t being intentional with the habits you’ve created in your life. According to Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit,” which I highly recommend to every client I work with, roughly 40% of your daily life is an unconscious habit. Pretty crazy to think that almost half of your life is lived mindlessly and unintentionally!
This is where daily anchors come in. Anchors are the daily and deliberate habits you must build into your routine to get you off the hamster wheel you’re currently on and moving toward greater health and happiness. To reach a high level of success and performance, you must be very deliberate about the daily habits and behaviors you create for yourself. There’s no magical or instant formula to success. It’s these routines and their compounding effect over time that will yield the results you’ve been looking for. Here are a few daily anchors I recommend starting with:
Intention & Feeling
Think about when you work up this morning. What were the first thoughts and feelings that started sprinting through your brain? Stress? Anxiety? Maybe it was a daily list the size of my typical Costco receipt? Your highest performers in life and business are very intentional about willing themselves into desired feelings. Whether it’s a work meeting, a workout or the beginning of the day, your body will automatically cue and trigger specific emotions. You can take full control of these emotions, however, by consciously determining the feeling that follows them.
Taking Action: Practice focusing your thoughts on exactly how you want to feel before, during and after your day or particular events. For example, if you’re finding yourself stressed and overwhelmed first thing in the morning or before a presentation at work, focus your thoughts upon waking or beforehand and visualize yourself succeeding, creating a positive vibe for others around you and crushing the goals in front of you.
In improving any area of your life, you must be very self-aware and willing to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your successes and failures. When you lie down in bed each night, do you automatically start thinking about tomorrow and what’s next? To make progress, be it your health, weight, career or relationships in your life, you need to regularly reflect on where you can improve instead of immediately thinking forward to the next step. Confidence in their abilities is what makes your highest performers so successful, yet they are also very open and willing to dissect them to advance their skills.
Taking Action: Swallow your pride and ask yourself those tough questions throughout and at the end of each day? Where did I struggle and why? Why did I succeed? How can I improve? What will I do differently? Then form a strategic plan to capitalize on where you’ve struggled and where you have the opportunity for even more growth.
Learning & Growth
We all have that friend or know somebody that’s hit that proverbial midlife crisis. They go buy a motorcycle, divorce their spouse or start trying to live the life of a 20-year-old out of the blue, right?! One will start to look for answers in their life when they’ve become stuck in their identity due to lack of self-growth and development. If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we all have an innate craving to develop ourselves as humans and can quickly become lost after 15-20 years of putting so much focus on kids and career rather than ourselves.
Taking Action: One of my personal favorite times of the day is the 30-45 minutes each night where I read. Make a point to schedule time each day for self-development and learning. With an endless amount of personal development books, podcasts and resources around you,emphasize not only growing your strengths further but improving areas you struggle in as well.
No doubt, this is one of those underrated daily habits that may be holding you back in multiple ways. Not only is getting at least a good seven to eight hours of sleep a night going to allow your body to optimally function at a high level physiologically, but it will also provide you with a renewed mental energy you’ve probably been lacking. Getting enough quality sleep will increase your motivation, memory and especially your willpower. As you move forward through a typical day, every decision you make burns a little bit from your willpower and motivational gas tank. If you don’t’ have enough energy, physical or mental, your resolve will quickly disappear like a snowman in the March sun.
Taking Action: Program your alarm or reminder function on your phone to go off when you want to begin your nightly routine. This will trigger you into the habit of getting to bed at an optimal time.
Balance & Calendar
One main reason your progress is inconsistent and bobbing back and forth like a buoy is that you’re failing to prioritize the items in your life that keep you balanced and happy. You’re probably scheduling work items, heading to your weekly civic organization’s meeting and worrying about dusting the blinds in your house ahead of the real things that matter to you like your family, health, faith and taking time to relax. Want to increase your performance? Simplify and prioritize.
Taking Action: Begin by identifying what is most important to you in life and what you truly value. Think about what truly excites you. Build those items into your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly calendar first. Then schedule all the other responsibilities within your life around them.
Pearson’s Law states, When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates. Like any high-performing business that tracks numerous metrics concerning success and revenue, you must personally be tracking the steps along the climb to a goal if you’re ever going to reach the mountaintop.
Taking Action: Lay out the goals you have for specific areas of your life. Start with categories such as personal, health/wellness and family. Identify the daily habits you need to consistently practice to get closer toward the overall goals you’ve set. Make it black and white by tracking these in a document based on whether or not you performed them for the day. For example, did you workout for the day? Did you make an hour or two of time for your spouse? Did you drink 100 oz of water today?
It’s easy to stray off the path if you don’t consciously focus on creating deliberate habits, or anchors, that will grow and develop you, as well as provide fulfillment and happiness. Be deliberate and live a life of your choosing, refusing to let your environment determine your life’s outcome. Ultimately, this life is about owning your journey and the life you’ve created for yourself.