How should you start the New Year? Fill your life with optimism. How should you start and end each day. With optimism.

Optimism will keep you going and make life more enjoyable. This doesn’t mean everything that happens is good. It’s more about keeping the big picture in mind, having faith that good things will happen. And recognizing that many good things are happening right now.

We have to ignore the setbacks and keep moving forward, expecting that good things will happen. Counting our loses and obsessing over why certain things happen will prevent us from seeing good things that are right under our nose.

We’re capable of creating a positive state of mind for ourselves. But we have to stay away from negative influences. When we’re around other people we are entering their world — their perception of reality. That perception may be quite different from our own.

We have no choice but to be optimistic. The alternative offers us no advantage. Pessimism is not a viable option. There’s plenty of reason to be pessimistic. But there’s also plenty of reason to be optimistic. Being optimistic starts with appreciating what you have. Everyone has something to be grateful for, especially you!

Start by taking a few uninterrupted moments to list your blessings. Don’t just count them. List Them. Write them down. Keep adding to The List every day. Then, start and end each day by reading your list. Memorize it. Focus on it. Be grateful for it. Then, watch it expand.

Raymond Bechard

Raymond Bechard is an Author, Producer and Human Rights Advocate. For over 25 years he has worked to provide justice, tolerance and equality to people around the world.

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