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The first month of 2011 is over…are you still committed to making this year better than the last? Don’t just get by this year—vow to really live! Follow this advice for your best year yet:

Don’t dwell: Let go of negative experiences and thoughts after you’ve gleaned from them everything you can. Learn, grow, and move on.

Focus inward:

“Those people at my job are getting on my last nerves!”

“He makes me so mad, I could scream!”

Have you caught yourself blurting similar statements? If you are consistently having problems with others, whether it’s in your workplace, in your home, in your church or out in public, perhaps it’s time that you ask yourself, “What could I be doing differently to detract from the stress in my life?” Perform a self-inventory; anything that’s not benefiting you or helping to make you a positive, healthy person, get rid of!

Cut ‘Em Off: Do you dread answering the phone when you see your nay-sayer friend’s number displayed? Don’t want to hang out with your sis-in-law because you can’t stand to hear her complaining about everything? There may be a good reason you’re subconsciously drawing away—negative, non-productive people will bring down your drive and enthusiasm. Sympathize with friends and family who may be going through, but don’t waste your time or energy on gripers who have taken up permanent residency in a world of negativity.

Be Grateful: Each day, take a few moments to reflect on the things you are grateful for. To really challenge yourself, think beyond material possessions, and mentally list the non-tangible blessings in your life: health, clarity of mind, and healthy relationships might start your list off right.

Remember to pull the positive from each day, and make 2011 a fantastic year!

S. Willis is an author, writing coach and a proud native Virginian. Her first children’s book, “The Little Adventures of Bella and DJ,” will be released this spring through Capital City Books (visit www.WordsByWillis.com to pre-order).