It’s the time of year when everyone is excited about new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s a time for setting goals and reaching out to be your best. If you’re looking for some personal growth in 2016, then here are a couple of easy ideas that could lead you just where you want to be.

Don’t let yourself “hang out” in a negative place.   Now, I’m not talking about literally hanging out in negative places, although that wouldn’t be good either. But, I’m talking about not letting yourself dwell on the negative thoughts inside your mind.

Let’s face it, life happens and sometimes there is really hard, terrible stuff we have to deal with. But think about this: two people can go through the same bad experience and one can come out stronger and the other can be broken. How is that possible?

Usually, the difference between a person who recovers with resilience and one who folds and never recovers, is the way negative experience are processed in their own minds. Of course, there are life-altering events that can happen to a person that shakes them to their very core, and sometimes they need professional help and support to recover. But, for most of life’s ups and downs, a real change between the ears can do wonders for your personal growth.

One way to avoid staying in a negative place is to simply not allow yourself to do it. Accept what happened and then replace these feelings and thoughts with “bright spots,” the things in your life you are truly grateful for. Experts seem to agree that people who make a daily practice of gratitude are inherently happier.

Another proven way to expand your personal growth is to give to others. Giving makes you happier and will make you feel good. There are many ways you can incorporate giving into your life. Whether it’s helping an elderly neighbor clear their driveway of snow, taking cookies to a friend, cheering up a depressed friend with a text message or card, contributing to a family in need, giving to a favorite charity, or volunteering to help in an assisted living home or hospital. Giving, in any way, will help you to grow and be happier.