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How to Make a Better New Year’s Resolution in February

Linda Swindling, JD, CSP is the creator of the popular Passports to Success book series.  And today, I’m privileged to have her as my guest blogger!  Given that today is February 17, she asks the very significant question: How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? Good question, Linda!

How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? It’s February 17 now and according to research, around 75% of us abandoned our resolutions by January 14th. When you set appropriate goals you have a better chance of being successful and realizing those results. As a leader, you may need to help others set realistic goals to increase their chance of success. For instance, huge goals like wanting to lose 100 pounds or saving half your paycheck can make you feel frustrated. Even though one of the Passports to Success I’ve written is called “Reach Your Goals”, I still find the hardest part of goal setting is getting started.Use these 4 words to get started:

I want to …

  1. Become
  2. Improve
  3. Conquer
  4. Commit to

For example: In 2011 I want to …

  • Become…more organized.
  • Improve… my education.
  • Conquer…smoking.
  • Commit to…volunteering more often.

Keep in mind the following when setting your goals for the rest of 2011:

  • Know your personal mission.  Just like a business has a company mission, your personal mission describes your purpose and calling. To know your mission ask yourself: What inspires me the most? Would I do it for free? What comes effortlessly? What will I regret not doing?
  • There are 2 types of goal setters: Strategic and Linear. Strategic goal setters must have a desired ending in mind to get started – they “Think Big.” Linear goal setters use one goal as a stepping stone to the next goal – they “Think Small.”
  • How can you “Think Big?” Big goals inspire transformation and are emotionally compelling. Ask yourself these questions to think big: What makes you anxious or nervous when you think about doing it? If you were fearless what would you try? If you had no limits what would you do?
  • How can you “Think Small?” In some cases big goals are intimidating and can discourage your efforts. To think small ask yourself: What small step can I take today to move in the right direction? What is something easy I can do right now?
  • How do you stay motivated to keep your goals? First, publicize your goals by sharing them with people you trust. Select people you know, preferably not your spouse or partner, who will hold you accountable. Second, identify the roadblocks. Roadblocks might be procrastination, burn out, time or failing. Third, ask yourself what the worst case scenario is and what would really happen if you failed.
  • Know the #1 way to keep motivated. Apathy and lack of commitment are the top “derailers” to achieving your goals. Stay positive. Expect to achieve your goals. Celebrate big and small accomplishments.

So … have you kept your New Year’s resolutions?  What are you going to do to revive and re-focus?

You can reach Linda at or (214) 536-6666, or visit her website at

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