CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Here it comes -- a fresh, clean slate that's yours to create.
The new year -- 365 brand-new days, 12 delicious months, 52 amazing weeks. An opportunity to take lessons learned from the past year and move forward.
And what a year it's been. From a long and exhausting political season to natural disasters to random violence in schools and shopping malls.
Of course, there have been plenty of positive things. It's just that we enter this new year on a somber note.
And the lens we choose has everything to do with how we view our world, internally and externally. With the increasing challenges around us, it's crucial we're aware of what comes into our consciousness.
Pay attention to the information you take in, and the credence you give it. We're continually bombarded with messages from the media and from others in our lives. It's up to each of us to sift through and discover what holds value for us and what doesn't.
Maybe you need to set some boundaries on the amount of negativity you allow into your life in the coming year whether that comes from a complaining relative or friend or too much time in front of the TV or computer.
You always have a choice. You can hang up the phone, walk away or turn off the electronics. A lot of us get sucked into negative situations before we even know it.
It's been said that 70 percent of what we hear is negative -- yikes! How 'bout fortifying yourself with an emergency toolbox? Keep some positive reading material close at hand. Cue up a favorite piece of music or YouTube episode. Take a walk. Pet the dog. Call a friend.
Simple things can help flip a switch to jump-start your system. Often, that switch is an internal one, fueled by our own negative self talk:
Filtering: Do you magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out the positive ones? Say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and felt great. But you forgot one minor step. That night you focus only on your oversight -- and forget about everything else.
Personalizing: When something bad occurs, do you automatically blame yourself? For example, you hear an evening out with friends has been canceled, and you assume it's because nobody wants to be around you.