It's now 2018, and you may be thinking about New Year's resolutions. According to behavior change researcher John Norcross of the University of Scranton, about half of the population makes resolutions each year, with the most popular being weight loss, improving finances, exercising and getting a new job.

This year, change things up and commit to a character-driven resolution. Think about who you want to "be" versus what you want to "do." This elevated mindset will help you become the best version of yourself as a leader. Here is the process:

1. What leadership character trait(s) do you want to be more of?

Ask yourself how you would like to be perceived as a leader. For instance do you want to be known as someone who is kind, approachable, resilient, focused, patient, bold, optimistic, integrity-driven, transparent, confident, courageous, self-aware, inspiring, forward-looking, committed, influential?

2. Why is this important to you?

Write down the reasons why you aspire to be a character-driven leader. As an example, if you want to be kinder, clarify what this means to you, for example, not being so hard on yourself and others when mistakes are made, or being more understanding of people's problems or being less judgmental of your coworkers. Then ask yourself, "What is it costing me if I don't improve?" Review these reasons daily to keep your desire strong.

3. Apply mental conditioning

Just like going to the gym to build muscles, consistent mental conditioning helps strengthen new behaviors. If you choose to be kinder, visualize what kindness is like when it radiates from you. For instance, when you think about an upcoming meeting, how will you be kinder to people with differing opinions when you disagree? Or how will you react with kindness and problem solving versus anger when someone drops the ball? This mental practice will help keep kindness in the forefront of your mind and available when needed.

4. Assess your progress with reflection

Research shows that self-reflection aids performance. At night before you sleep, assess what went well, what you learned and what you would do differently next time to be your best self. Over time, you will become more of the leader that you choose to be.

The most important resolution you can ever make is to resolve to "be" the best version of yourself.

Pam Solberg-Tapper, president of Coach for Success Inc., is a Duluth-based executive coach, professional speaker and seven-continents marathoner. You can contact her at, (218) 729-0772 or