McDermott: Anchors Away!

Scott McDermott’s weekly inspirational fitness column

Two things to focus on this week. An anchor out front and an anchor out back.

Generally, when people think of an anchor, they think of a boat, and something to hold a thing in place. Excellent, let’s start there, but I want to see it from a different perspective. In actual boating, it is a good thing, it keeps you where you want to stay.

What about in life? What anchors do we have that hold us where we are, but not in a good way? Things like habits, or even so called friends or external conditions that keep us stuck. There are so many potential things in this category. Food is a big one. What foods get you? For me it’s sweets. Cake, Ice Cream, stuff like that. Perhaps for you it’s salty – like chips. While these things are delicious and fun, if you eat them all the time, you have an anchor holding you back. These can really get you if you have a habit of indulging late at night when will power is weakest. Some of these unsupportive habits are not so obvious, like a habit of going to work first and trying to fit in some exercise later, when there is time. If you are like me, that is pretty much a guarantee that the workout is toast. Work will always fill all of the time I have available, and there will always be something important to do. The workout is doomed.

People can be an anchor holding you back too. We all know those folks that are negative, complain when you don’t eat what they eat, or that you ‘work out too much’, etc. If you mention that you need to go to the gym or for a run, or class, they tell you that you need to relax, take a day off, have another beer, eat another donut and all of that. Anchor. I’m not saying you can’t be friends (or family), but recognize them for what they are… Holding you back.

Now let’s talk about the other kind of anchor – the one out front. This may be new to you (since I made it up). I like to picture an anchor that is installed in a gun, like an old school harpoon. It is located on the bow of my ship, and attached to it, is a long, coiled rubber rope. I fire the anchor way out front of where I am pointed and it makes a big splash and grabs on, then it starts to pull the boat towards that point.

Alright, you are on to my ploy, I am talking about goals again. What if you pictured goals as an anchor, tossed out into the future and pulling you along? It really does work as a strong mental tactic. These anchors out front could be things like a race or an event that you sign up for in advance. Something that pulls you forward and has a clock that ticks along urging you forward daily. Races do that for me for sure. The date is set and then I have no choice but to get ready. Another brilliant one in this regard is a Vision Board. This sounds a little more odd, but you might be seriously surprised at how well it works. My Wife and I have done several boards and we are constantly stunned at how effective they are.

Here’s how it works. You grab a whole bunch of your favourite magazines and some on maybe fringe topics or ones with lots of great photos. Vacation magazines, travel, homes, family life, sports you like, etc. Then you arrange for a nice chunk of time when you can go through them for a few hours and cut out images that you like. Don’t judge or restrict at this point, you can always toss the images later. Grab ones that have maybe a fit person that could be you, a happy family, a nice home, a vacation spot, or things like a boat or a bike or whatever. Happy people doing fun stuff, a new car, it doesn’t matter, you get to just grab what appeals to you. Then you get a big piece of poster board and a glue stick and start trimming and sticking the best photos on to the board. They don’t have to be in order, but they could be. They could be grouped or clustered into similar elements. Words, no words, up to you! Then you can hang it in your office, bedroom, kitchen or even just put it in the closet, it doesn’t matter.

This is where you need to trust me a little, because it will sound odd perhaps. By simply making this board, you have tossed that anchor out front of your boat, and it will start pulling you towards it, whether you remember it consciously or not. I have done maybe 5 or 6 vision boards, and sometimes they get buried and when I find them in a storage room, I am absolutely floored at how many things have come true while I wasn’t even aware.

So give it a shot, cut the back anchors off and toss the goal anchors out front. You have nothing to lose and all your dreams to gain!

Happy Training!


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