We fall victim to over-weighing initial information as a reference point for future decisions.
We are constantly over influenced by a reference, aka “anchor”, for future judgments.
Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky first coined the term. Today, most of us are all aware of the bias and you can delve more into the research and its effects in “Thinking Fast and Slow” as Kahneman dedicated a full chapter to the concept.
It’s a staple in sales/discounts/promotions. How often have you justified a purchase or felt as if you won a negotiation solely based on what the initial price or terms were? I presume that feeling would substantially diminish if you knew the real value of what you paid or committed to (some advice – anchor first).
We must adjust information to reality. We should consider choices based on their value and begin from zero. Do not let someone’s inflated price of a product/service/decision/idea soak in.
We do this with exercising and it is counterintuitive.
We believe that setting that anchor – is it 10? Lucky guess – will affect our effort to achieve it. This may work when first embarking the fitness train, but how about a few weeks in when that anchor should be a floor, not a ceiling?
It’s a negotiation with ourselves. We anchor based on some pundit’s advice or yesterday’s rep amount and if we attain that goal, we feel that sense of accomplishment. But ask yourselves “could I have done a few more” and if so why did you stop?
As long as you are truly honest with yourself about “how hard” you are working, no anchor will help and many times it stops you from exceeding where you were a few weeks ago.
Before an exercise, do not set an anchor. Focus on the present moment and push yourself to the limit.
Do this day in and day out in all aspects of your life and the rewards are boundless.
Be cognizant of what anchoring is and what it does. Subconsciously it may be hindering you from reaching your true potential and/or may be making you pay a price that is nowhere near its true value.