Are you making any Resolutions for 2012? Have you set personal improvement goals for the new year? You should.

If you ask any club officers for suggestions, they will have several standard recommendations: earn your next communications award; earn your next leadership award; recruit more members; become a club officer and go to officer training.

Of course they would. These are very good challenges. They help you to improve. They take some effort to accomplish. They also will help your club to earn points towards becoming a “President’s Distinguished club.”

I have some different proposals that may help make your Toastmasters experience more fun and rewarding. By the way – any of these can be applied to your workplace, civic or professional associations, church and even family life. Make a commitment to do one or more.

1. Start a Writer’s Journal: Start to keep notes of the observations, ideas and words that inspire you, or fill in those awkward holes. Buy a notebook. Or, create an electronic WORD document (or Spreadsheet), or even email file.

In a short time you will find your own treasure chest of material for speeches, stories and presentations, even Table Topics.

Your specific resolution would be, “start a writer’s journal and have at least (100) entries by the end of the year.”

2. Become a Member Guide: Being a mentor for the first time can be intimidating. You may prefer to go slow. Instead, decide to help newer members and guests to fulfill their roles. Sit with someone being Timer, AH Counter or Grammarian the first time. Tutor a first time evaluator or Toastmaster. Explain

In no time you will recognize how much you do not know. By trying to teach someone else, you see a different perspective. You will want to have the answers for whatever questions you may be asked.

Your specific resolution would be, “by the end of the year, help at least twelve (one per month) members complete meeting roles or rehearse a speech.”

3. Compete in a Contest: Take the real “trial by fire.” Competing does not mean walking up to the front when your name is called. It takes time, planning and practice. Dedicate yourself to doing well. Do more research. It takes more time to prepare a good contest speech, or for a strong evaluation or Table Topics response. YES – you can prepare for an evaluation or Table Topics contest.

If you are not a Toastmaster, find another challenge with a deadline and judging. Whatever your favorite hobby, there is competition. You may prefer to submit an entry in a writing or poetry contest. Go for it.

Your specific resolution would be, “to have competed in at least one contest by the end of the year.”


Do something for your personal and professional life. Commit to your resolutions. It is not too late to get started.

As you continue to work at these goals, you find more satisfaction, and want to do more. You realize the true meaning to the words, “and have fun doing it.”


Author's Bio: 

Fred Haley, published author and speaker, has been a member of Toastmasters for over 12 years. Fred has earned two Distinguished Toastmasters awards. His web site, is “Every Toastmaster’s First Stop For Advice And Resources.” Fred publishes a monthly ToastMentor newsletter. Contact Fred at