(Unsplash/Marius Ciocirlan)

Maybe January 1 has loomed as nothing more than the continuation of the difficulties from the previous year. Maybe it's simply hard to believe that anything could ever be any different than the inevitable "way things are." Maybe you're used to letting circumstances shape your attitude.

No matter what's going on, no matter what your past experience has been, this new year is packed with potential. In fact, this could be your best year ever. Feel the optimism, drink in the anticipation, embrace the moment. It's a blank slate, a tabula rasa, a fresh beginning. There is every reason to feel good about the new year. Don't let cynicism about abandoned resolutions, broken promises and "it's never worked in the past" get in the way of what promises to be the starting point of something amazing. This coming new year absolutely could be something special. And here are five good reasons just to get started.

1. You are in the driver's seat: You're not a passive victim in this life. Launch this year proactively. The one who can make this a great year is you. Figure out five things you want to focus on this year. Write them down and put the list in a place where you can see it. Make sure you are working on those five every day.

2. Last year is something to build on: No matter what you have been through, there is always something to be learned, improvements to be made and positives to build upon. We can always move forward.

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3. Belief is a huge factor: Conventional wisdom declares that "seeing is believing." But the power of new eyes and a fresh start works on the principle that "believing is seeing!" We can step into this new year buoyed by not only determination but belief. You exist in this world with unique talent, viewpoint, and voice. It's time to believe in yourself.

4. Older and wiser:

We know stuff we didn't know 12 months ago. We have much more experience to draw on. Every day we learn more. Use that knowledge and continue to have a thirst for learning more.

5. You have a clean slate:

Don't underestimate the psychological value of every new year. It's like teeing off on a new round of golf. There are so many great shots out there to hit. The year, my friends, is ours for the taking.

What are you most excited about for the new year?

Derek Maul is the author of five books, a nationally recognized men's resource, a committed encourager and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life.

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