Today is the first day of classes at Mountain State’s main campus in Beckley, WV. Even though I am not on site in Beckley, I am excited to see what the new school year will hold for MSU and our students.

I have written before about how I love new beginnings.

For me, the start of the school year is another opportunity to start fresh, a time of self reflection. How am I spending my time? Am I spending time on the things are truly meaningful to me? If not, what can I do to set aside time for activities that help me fulfill my most important priorities?

Here are two ideas I have to make this my best year ever.

I am going to stop complaining.

Complaining doesn’t solve the situation. In fact, complaining has a negative effect on me and on everyone who has to listen. So, instead I am going to consider what action I can take to change the situation. Usually, there are steps I can take to make things better. Rarely, my only choice is to endure patiently.

As often as possible, I am going to try to make someone’s day.

At this stage in my life, my real life sphere of influence is relatively small. My virtual sphere of influence is much farther reaching.

How can you make someone’s day?

If you pay attention, people will tell you or show you the things that bring them joy. My daughter Cami sleeps on the top bunk and she loves it when I climb up on her bed to talk and snuggle. My downstairs neighbor, who lives alone, often works late. Sometimes I wrap an extra serving of our home-cooked supper in foil and set it aside for when she comes home. My husband loves ice cream. If there is some in the freezer when he gets home, he is extra happy. Bonus smiles if I take the time to actually make some ice cream.

Positive words, spoken or written, smiles, acts of service: these are things I can do to make a huge difference in someone’s day.

You may interact with hundreds or thousands of people each day through your leadership in your organization. Or maybe, like mine, your sphere of influence is significantly smaller. Whether you are interacting with many people or just a few, what you do matters. Start with your spouse, your children, your next door neighbor, or the person who sits next to you at the office. Consider what you might do influence the people in your life in a positive way.

I will share more ideas about how to have your best year ever in a future post so if you have some ideas, please share them in the comments. I’ll be glad to give you credit for them.

For now, choose one of these: Cut out the complaining. Do what you can to make someone’s day special. And don’t forget to come back and let me know what effect your new choices have on your life — and the lives of the people around you.

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.