Lincoln's MOOD survey uncovers the secrets of Americans who feel in control of their lives
21 December 2011

Nearly half of all Americans make a New Year’s resolution each year, but only a small fraction follow through. To increase your chances of successfully adopting a more optimistic outlook in 2012, consider taking control of your life with small, simple actions.

Lincoln Financial Group’s new MOOD (Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction) survey identified the secrets of optimistic and empowered people. The results revealed that those who take charge of their lives are more likely to have an optimistic outlook on life. In fact, according to the MOOD findings, 66 percent of Americans feel in control of their lives and believe their lives are headed in the right direction. So what is it about these optimistic people that eludes the rest of us?

It seems the secret is not about having more, but about doing more with what you have — be that resources, family or time — and engaging with those around you. For example, start the New Year by making more time for those you care most about. MOOD revealed that this is a key trait exhibited by Americans who feel in control. Start working this into your daily life by hosting family dinners, helping kids with homework, making time for friends and using social media to cultivate relationships. Another way to feel empowered and have a positive impact on those around you is to volunteer in your community.

"Grand resolutions, such as exercising an hour five days a week, are often unsustainable and can wind up making us feel very frustrated," said Jamie DePeau, Chief Marketing Officer at Lincoln Financial. "That’s why it’s so important to highlight that optimistic people often start small. Indeed, MOOD has shown us that these people take very specific actions to achieve success, often through small, daily behaviors. Simple steps such as balancing your checkbook or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can lower stress, lift your belief in your own potential, and eventually get you on the road to having an optimistic outlook on life."

So before making a resolution to clean out your entire garage or tackle overflowing piles of laundry in one fell swoop, consider the Top 7 behaviors of those who feel in control of their lives. According to MOOD, these Americans:

I. Cultivate relationships with friends and family and use social media to engage with those they care about
II. Volunteer in their communities and contribute to charitable organizations
III. Take quiet time to be alone and think
IV. Exercise
V. Spend time on a hobby
VI. Save a little money from each paycheck regardless of the amount and adhere to a budget
VII. Own a retirement account and financial products such as life insurance, annuities or educational savings accounts

"The great news is that you don’t necessarily need to make monumental changes to take charge of your life. A few simple steps can be empowering and put you in control of your destiny," adds DePeau. "Finances can feel overwhelming. Rather than making a lofty, and potentially unattainable, New Year’s goal, we are hoping to inspire Americans to adopt some of the principals of optimistic Americans, which include building savings and investing in their financial security as a whole."

Survey Methodology

The MOOD (Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction) of America survey results are based on a telephone poll conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies on November 4-8, 2011, among 803 adults 18 years of age and older across the United States. Respondents were contacted by phone via a live operator; their telephone numbers were selected using random-digit dial methods. The sample was weighted by age, Hispanic ethnicity and race. Demographic weighting targets are based on the 2010 U.S. Census figures for adults 18 years of age and older. View more details from the survey at

About Lincoln Financial Group

Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. With headquarters in the Philadelphia region, the companies of Lincoln Financial Group had assets under management of $153 billion as of September 30, 2011. Through its affiliated companies, Lincoln Financial Group offers: annuities; life, group life, disability and dental insurance; 401(k) and 403(b) plans; savings plans; and comprehensive financial planning and advisory services. For more information, including a copy of our most recent SEC reports containing our balance sheets, please visit


Media Contacts:
Ayele Ajavon