A recent nj1015.com headline stated that as New Jerseyans, we felt more positive about the future as we headed into 2015.

How about feeling more positive about OURSELVES, too?

The New Year is a time for reflection. About the past...and our hopes for the future. As we head into that future, how about "resolving" to be more "positive" in our daily lives?

I've been working on being (more) positive in my thoughts, and actions...and have been doing some reading on the topic. Here are some of the things that I have discovered.

Stress, at work and at home, can cause us to lash out at ourselves, and others. "Duh," you say. But, what if we used our inner thoughts constructively, rather than destructively?

Experts say we need more "self compassion" to be more optimistic, to be able to focus on the positive. With self-compassion, we'll handle stress better, and not be so quick to beat up on ourselves (and those around us) for what we can't control.

Our overall world view is based upon genetics, our life experiences, and how we interpret those experiences. We can't change our genes, or past experience, but we can change how we interpret future situations.

Here's a quick exercise that can help you see the positive around you:

Start writing down the positive and negative things that happen in your day.

For every negative on your list, write 4 positive things...no matter how small they seem. This simple exercise will train your brain to see the positive events in your life. Try it...I am. Experts say you'll be surprised how your outlook can change for the better in just 30 days!

Find small ways to be "kind" to yourself:

Put a positive note on your bathroom mirror...or your refrigerator...in your lunch (if you brown bag it)...on your steering wheel (more "positivity" could help cut down on our Jersey road rage). Include a positive thought in your daily "to-do list," or appointments schedule, on your smartphone.

I also like to include an uplifting quote...be it from a book, a movie...

Replace my name with yours...and be the BEST YOU! (Craig Allen photo).

...or a kind reminder from a friend.

Raise your "self-worth."

Think good thoughts...talk nicely to yourself...as you are about to begin a meeting, or start a presentation. In my case, the presentation is a radio show...

Find music that makes you happy...like "Jersey's Favorite Hits."  This is not just a self-serving statement. Whether it's in phone conversations, or via social media, you guys tell me how you smile "when the music comes out to play."

Finding a  (more) positive outlook can be as easy as that...smile!

True story. Last summer I was broadcasting live from a public event, and about halfway through the show, I noticed a woman standing out on the fringes of the crowd. She had been there for some time, and was rather intently watching what I was doing. After one of my "live breaks," she walked up to me and said: "I thought so."

As I gave her a rather confused look, she explained that she is in media sales, and a long time listener. She said that she could "hear the smile" in my voice, and had to come out to the broadcast to see if she was right! After a nice conversation, she left "the big yellow tent" with a smile on her face!

See...something as simple as a SMILE can change more than just YOUR inner attitude!

Injecting (more) positive thoughts into your life each day will be felt not only by you...but it will spread to those around you! Think of it as a positive...chain reaction.

So...smile...remind yourself how really unique and wonderful you are...and face each day with your chin up, ready to tackle whatever comes your way, in a positive manner. It will make all the difference!

"Have a nice day" (and many years to come)!