What Are Anchor Habits and How Can You Leverage Them?

People generally do well and stay on track when they are consistent and engaged in routine.


Shake up that routine and they may fall off track – making it harder and harder to reach their wellness goals. 

What contributes to a shakeup in routine is different from person to person, or in this case, client to client, and it’s our role as nutrition coach, to identify that contribution and lessen its impact. 

Ask your client, what is that one habit that needs to stay consistent for you to feel on track for the rest of the day?

For some, it’s being out of the normal workweek routine where they normally get a quick workout over their lunch break; for others, it’s waking at a certain time and taking in their trusted green smoothie to start their day; and for others still, it could be healthy sleep habits practiced before calling it a night.

However simple or complex, THAT is their anchor habit, and for some clients, it is absolutely essential in measuring success within a 24-hour period. 

Though we cannot always guarantee that anchor habit won’t be interrupted, we can help guide our clients through ensuring that anchor habit remains, in some form, to help keep them feeling motivated and on the right track!

Here are three steps to leveraging anchor habits:

The first step is to identify that anchor habit.....

For most people this will be easy- they KNOW what actions they can take to get motivated again. You may have to ask more questions for some clients to help them understand what works for them.

Start with what they enjoy about their day when they are “on track,” and move forward to what is easiest to add back into their routine. That is probably their anchor habit. If someone thinks it’s “easy” they have more than likely made it a priority without even knowing it.

The second step is to dig deeper.....

It is helpful to dig deeper into why that anchor habit is important to them.

Get examples of what a day might look like in the absence of that anchor habit.  Find out how it affects their mood, their interactions with others, and how they feel about themselves.

Sometimes people don’t realize how much these anchor habits affect our relationships and daily interactions.

The third step is to have them visualize.....

Walk through scenarios where an anchor habit may be interrupted and how it can be simulated. 

Here are some examples:

  • Walking on a treadmill inside first thing in the morning when bad weather persists and interrupts an outdoor walk.
  • Subbing a protein smoothie (easily transportable) for the usual freshly blended green smoothie first thing in the morning.
  • Taking part in the noon zoom workout hosted by your gym in place of going in person during COVID restrictions.
  • Listing all meals and snacks on a whiteboard + eating times to ensure your client stays on track while working from home.
  • Scheduling in workouts on Saturday and Sunday at the same times of day they would typically work our during the weekdays. 

Anchor habits give stability and consistency to your client’s day and can be instrumental in their success.

Take the time to find out which habit means the most to them OR work on developing a healthy anchor habit into their daily routine!

If you are an active HSN Client, share what anchor habits you identified on your next mentoring call- we’d love to hear them!

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