Anchors Aweigh!

Have you ever tried to run carrying a lot of extra weight on your body?  It doesn’t take too long before your energy starts winding down and you begin to slow down your pace just to keep from falling on your face.

The same thing happens to us mentally and emotionally when we carry too many “anchors” in life.  An anchor is any thing that causes unnecessary stress or burden in our day to day routine, such as smoking, drinking, gambling, over eating, TV binge watching, extra marital affairs, and drug use.  There are probably many more I could list but I feel these are the most common.

Each of these types of anchors causes one to lose motivation, ambition, confidence, respect for one’s self, a lower self esteem, and the list goes on and on.   Those vices which are usually triggered by stress from work or home life, end up causing more stress in the long run.  As you drop these anchors one by one, you will notice that you can mentally and emotionally “run” faster, and your overall daily stressors reduce to nearly zero.  If you are involved in the last two anchors mentioned, I would highly suggest you drop those first, as they could potentially be the most destructive to not only your life, but to the lives of your loved ones as well, ie. spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers, teammates, etc.

I myself was being dragged down by the first five anchors, and have for the most part dropped all of them in the past two years.  I cannot accurately nor abundantly describe to you enough how much better my life has a gotten and how much better I feel overall after having done that.  Those things that I thought were helping me to reduce my stress and enjoy life were actually doing the opposite in an insidious manner.

What got me to notice these anchors was a certain chapter in Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich”.  Once my eyes were open to these vices, I made it a point to do my best to drop these one at a time.   Since dropping these anchors, in the past two years I have dropped about 40 pounds, exercise daily now for at least 30 minutes before work, daily meditate 5-20 minutes, read on average one book a week, have a noticeable increase in energy and a reduction in what I can describe only as brain fog or those notorious senior moments.

But how?  How did I just stop these habits?  It wasn’t easy and would be lying if I said I did not feel the urge to have a smoke once in awhile, especially when I see others smoking.  Or go out binge drinking with friends from work (which still happens if we have an official company party).  But the main thing is that these vices no longer have a controlling effect in my life.  I basically made a choice that I would be in control, and not let a stick of tobacco tell me what to do.  That and through reading constantly I kept running into excerpts that would list all the horrible side effects of smoking.  The one passage that really got me to quit was that smoking supposedly increases your chances of a stroke by something like 50%! Which scares the crap out of me to think about even as I write this.

There are good sources out there on the interwebs that deal with kicking bad habits and how to prevent relapses. Steve Pavlina’s blog is a great one for starters. Tim Ferris’ blog is another one I return to time and again. Once you release these anchors and feel what life is like without them, you’ll wonder why in the world you ever started in the first place. Quitting habits with friends or coworkers is another good way to make sure you stay on course. Encouraging each other as you struggle will help prevent you from the evil thought of “just this one time won’t hurt” self talk that could put you back into the habit again.

Another good practice that helps in dropping anchors is through mindfulness meditation. Not only is it a great stress reducer, but mindfulness meditation can help in identifying areas in your life that need tending to. Marriage related, work related, or just simply slowing down to notice life. I recommend Tara Brach’s website and guided meditation podcast as a good starter. I was not aware of how difficult it could be to quiet the firehose of thoughts that run through our minds daily.

So if you have anchors dragging you down, consider letting them go one by one. See if you notice a change for the better. See if you can run a little faster so to speak in your daily life. One thing is certain, others will notice a change in you. If you have difficulty in quitting some of these habits, don’t get too discouraged. Just try and try again. You will eventually get there. It takes patience and perseverance. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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