Heroic Moment: How to Be a Hero, a New Year's Resolution Guaranteed to Succeed


At this time of year, millions of people cast their eyes forward to visions of happier, healthier, and better selves through annual New Year's Resolutions. Some of the most popular resolutions will be to drink less alcohol, to eat healthy food, to get a better education or job, or to get fit and lose weight. Experts say that the majority of those people, maybe as many as 78%, will fail.

What if one small change in the way we think could make us the better versions of ourselves that we want to be?

In many people's New Year's Resolutions, they project an action or outcome they want to achieve one year into the future. "Beginning January 1st, I will eat less fast food."

Others may suggest SMART goals, such as "I will go to the gym for at least 30 minutes three times per week."

What is the biggest key to success?

According to recent research, it starts with who you are, or at least, who you think you are.

If, for example, one person wants to be more involved in community service. (A noble goal.) On the other hand, a second person believes he is civic-minded or a service-oriented person. Christopher J. Bryan's research suggests the second person is more likely to actually engage in community service. For the first person, it is a desirable goal. For the second person, it is a part of his identity and he is more likely to align his behaviors with that identity.

This also is the beauty behind the Heroic Imagination Project. Instead of only teaching people how to be heroic, they also encourage people to envision themselves as "heroes-in-training", becoming more likely to actually engage in heroic acts.

Who will you be this New Year?