Normally, I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolution time. It invites the most heartfelt, seasonal commitments that dry up with the sun as Spring rolls around. Commitments that are easily forgotten, because they weren’t really yours to begin with — they belonged to the New Year, and to the societal pressure to do something drastic that it seems like everyone else is doing anyway, so hey why not.

But I’ve been reading The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath, and it has made me rethink what constitutes an effective resolution, which is in its own way a potentially powerful defining moment. And it has less to do with whether it is New Years related, and more to do with how the resolution or moment is structured.

In the book, Defining Moments have 4 key components: Elevation, Insight, Pride, and Connection. Let’s delve a little bit into what each of those mean, and how they relate to an effective New Year’s Resolution:

Moments of Elevation build peaks and break the script. This happens in that elated instant when you make the initial decision to go on a diet, throw away all the junk food in your kitchen, do an intense workout, or take a shot of steroids right in the butt cheek. (Okay maybe skip the last one). Your heart rate goes up, you experience a wave of emotion and even physical pain, you get an endorphin rush. It “breaks the script” of the funk you’re trying to break out of. It’s not normal and that’s the point!

Moments of Insight are those “aha!” moments where you discover something new that changes the way you think. Some examples for me are: finally running injury free after discovering POSE Running, curbing my sugar addiction after going sugar-free for 60 days (in 2009), my first CrossFit workout (obviously), and the first time I did an all barbell workout and had a profound “cardio” experience with it that changed my understanding of what conditioning is.

The authors call this “tripping over the truth,” and that is a great metaphor because when it happens it feels like “well, duh,” as the information was right in front of you all along, you just had to trip over it. The “tripping” over it part is not that simple however, because it requires access to knowledge and thinking that we often cannot provide for ourselves. It requires a third party, and one who possesses a key perspective and piece of wisdom that you lack. This could be delivered via a skilled coach, teacher, mentor, or therapist. The “trip” is how they set you up to discover and own this truth for yourself, which, if you’ve seen the movie Inception, is a key ingredient for making real change happen in our otherwise stubborn minds.

Moments of Pride are those when we are recognized by others, accomplish significant milestones, and practice courage in the face of adversity. Like graduating from college and beaming with pride as your mom takes a photograph of you with your diploma on stage. Or that moment when you prove all your haters wrong, except more frequent and small like bread crumbs on the path to success.

An important facet of this is that it is a highly social experience. We are hard-wired for likes. When someone likes us and recognizes us, we feel good. When a bunch of people do it, we feel amazing. Simple!

Moments of Connection create shared meaning and deepen ties. Friends that laugh together, cry together, and struggle together… partner workout anyone?!

Okay, now looking at those 4 components that are necessary for creating powerful, Defining Moments, how many do your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions satisfy?

If you set a weight loss goal and started a diet yesterday, you probably got a Moment of Elevation just from starting something bold and new, so there’s one! If you got a friend or family member to go in on it with you, you have some Moments of Connection in the making. Two!

But do you have Moments of Pride waiting for you halfway between now and when you reach your goal? What about one week from now? What is something that you are most certainly going to accomplish 7 days from now that you will be recognized for by others? Who is going to take your picture, pin it on the wall, and rave about your work ethic? This is super important for your success, especially early on in the process.

And is there anyone there to help set you up to “trip over the truth” and experience Moments of Insight that will empower you to own your success? Who do you actually trust to deliver you to this truth?

I gotta tell you, odds are you are only partly fulfilling these requirements, even on the first two that you might have a head start on already. It takes a pretty well-thought out system to hit all four elements. You probably need social support with some friends and classmates who also put some skin in the game, and a good coach to help you trip over the truth. Otherwise you’ll just be trippin’. You wouldn’t expect anything less for your children: that’s why you send them to a good school with good teachers, instead of having them set New Year’s Resolutions and then wishing them luck.

Hope you can join us at our “School of Fitness” in 2018. We’ll be waiting with The Elevation, The Insight, The Pride, and The Connection!

Mauricio Leal

CrossFit Cypher Owner