Our typical experience is that one day rolls into the next, one-month rolls into the next, we blink our eyes and we’re staring down the barrel of another New Year’s Day saying: where the heck did the time go? While shopping recently, this advertisement on one of the products in the store caught my attention: “The tan will fade but the memories will last forever”! Honestly some of our family’s summers have faded faster than the tan lines, so when I read the science behind how to create these unforgettable memories I was thrilled. This information came from Chip and Dan Heath who wrote the amazing book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” and have released their new book “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact” that lays out what you need to know about making the most of every day moments. Here are some tips these authors suggest and which we encourage clients to practice:
1) Create Moments of Elevation or high energy At the core of a moment of elevation are the 3 S’s: sensory, stakes, and script. These can add to any event to make it more special.
Engaging the Senses: Parties. Sporting events. Road trips. What do they have in common? These experiences create energy and help us feel engaged, joyful, amazed, motivated. If you feel the need to pull out a camera, it’s probably a moment of elevation.
Raise the stakes: Competing in a sporting event is more exciting than watching one. In fact, betting on a sporting event makes watching one more entertaining. If there’s something to gain or lose, you’ll be paying attention.
Break the script: Don’t do the usual thing. Don’t just get coffee or have dinner. Boring. Take your default and flip it on its head. Defy expectations and strategically surprise people. The Heath brothers write, “The most memorable periods of our lives are when we break the script.” Activating the senses, raising the stakes and breaking the script more intensely makes moments stand out. As a review, our senses include sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing, movement and balance. Anything that activates one or more of these is a highly enriching and healing experience.
2) Celebrate Moments of Pride A graduation party. The ceremony where you received your black belt. Or when the licensing board stamped your results as “Passing”. You want to commemorate achievements. When you have your skill noticed by others, you can puff your chest out and take a second to feel really good about yourself. And this is not a “nice o have.” Research shows we need to feel this power of success!
Carolyn Wiley of Roosevelt University reviewed four similar studies of employee motivation conducted in 1946, 1980, 1986 and 1992. Across the studies, only one factor was cited every time as among the top two motivators: “full appreciation of work done.” According to one survey the Heath brothers found, the #1 reason people leave their jobs is “a lack of praise and recognition.” So, take the time to appreciate what you’ve accomplished, express appreciation to others and let others celebrate with you.
3) Build Moments of Connection Vacations. Reunions. Holidays. The times that connect us with others where we feel all kinds of warm fuzzies. These are the moments when some of the most powerful memories are formed. Struggling together made people closer. Wait!! I’m supposed to be grateful for challenges and struggles!? Well…yes! Problem solving, finding resolution, getting through the storm, discovering what we are made of form very strong connections.
When you want to just veg and watch a movie, play a board game or go do something active instead. Discover what you’re capable of, how easy it is to connect with those around you. Don’t just think outside the box, EXPERIENCE outside the box!