CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa - As we approach the New Year, many see it as way to begin again. The first day of the new year marks the beginning of a new journey, to make a resolution that will be life-altering or to forget the past year’s mistakes and shortcoming and forge ahead. While this may work for some, it can be misleading.<br /> <br /> While it is okay to use the new year as a springboard for self-improvement, we should not let it be the deciding factor in continuing this trend all year. For example, if your goal is to lose weight during the next year, and you start a diet or join a gym, but in February, you realize that it is not working, you should not wait until next year to start again. Your goal remains the same, but the way you achieve it can change. <br /> <br /> Instead of giving up when things get difficult or interest is lost, you can use the next day to try something different, a new day to begin again.<br /> <br /> Maybe your resolution is to become more of a citizen of the world by means of traveling or volunteering. Remember to start small and help others as you can. If you can only give two hours a week to your chosen organization or can only go on local mission trips, do not be discouraged. Who knows; maybe continuing to volunteer or travel will open new doors to new opportunities. The volunteer efforts you make, no matter how small they are, could plant the seeds of compassion in others. By inspiring others to action, you accomplish your goal of being an effective world citizen. A simple trip to a different location can net you a contact that helps get you to other more unique locations. You never know what the next new day will bring.<br /> <br /> Lastly, while the new year may offer a new start for some, we should not forget the past year’s faults; they make us who we are today. Each day we learn something new and make mistakes, but we must be careful to not forget, but also not dwell, on them. They should be used as stepping-stones for improvement in your future endeavors. It has been said that “the biggest difference between who you are today and who you were yesterday is the lessons learned between that time.” Every new day offers a chance to grow, as does the new year. <br /> <br /> I encourage you to treat every new day as if it is New Year’s Day. We should continually develop new resolutions, find solutions to them throughout the year, and remain optimistic. <br /> <br /> Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Semper Fidelis!<br /> <br /> Melton is the content production chief with the Okinawa Marine newspaper.