Though it’s been a record-breaking cold and stormy January, you may still be holding on to high hopes for a great new year, even working toward your new goals. Statistically though, that is a hard thing for almost half of Americans to do.

If you did set a New Year’s resolution or two, according to a study this month by Statistics Brain, only 68.4 percent of you stuck with it for two weeks, and only 58.4 percent of you will stick with it past this month.

And then there is Blue Monday. It’s the third Monday of the new year — and apparently is the most depressing day of the year. The sadness stems in part from from the dreary weather, Christmas credit card bills and failed resolutions. Whether one buys into Blue Monday or not, it’s true that January couldn’t hurt from an extra dose of positivity.

Here are a few suggestions to create positivity throughout even just the end of the day, especially through the rest of the winter:

Positivity tip 1: Seek out yellow

Color psychology suggest that different colors are capable of evoking different moods. And though our moods and actions are determined by a number of different factors, the color yellow can help to lift our spirits, our self-esteem, even our confidence.

So if you’re feel down, add a splash of yellow to your life. Better yet, if you do have a resolution you’re still working on, try to implement the color yellow to make it more enjoyable. Though, there can be too much of a good thing: Excessive amounts of yellow can stimulate frustration or anxiety.

Positivity Tip 2: Pump up the music

A study done a few years back at the University of Michigan showed that listening to upbeat music can help you improve your mood — but I bet you already knew that.

Most of us already know from personal experience just how quickly listening to upbeat songs can transform our sad or stressed attitude and help us feel so much better. This is just a nice reminder that a dance party in the kitchen can go a long way — and not just for us, but our children too.

Celeste Knights is a mom of three living just outside of Spokane, Washington. Using music is one of her favorite ways to recover from a tense morning with her kids.

“On the drive to school I do a ‘1-2-3 Dance Party.’ I turn the music down low, count to three, and at three I blast the music and yell, ‘Dance party!’” Knights said. “Everyone dances in their seats. Then I repeat it until everyone is smiling and laughing. It snaps my daughter out of her bad mood every time.”

Positivity Tip 3: Step up gratitude

Having a grateful heart is a powerful way to ensure our positivity. But being grateful all the time is actually quite challenging. Paul Jenkins is a psychologist, author and speaker who helps others maintain their positivity.

Jenkins explains that often a poor attitude is due to our perception: “As your brain analyzes what is going on, if life isn’t going as you had imagined, then you would think it’s not so good.”

Jenkins suggest a different, reverse approach to gratitude. “Imagine what could have gone worse and be grateful for what you’ve got,” he explains, “because you can go either direction.”

Any book, article or blog post on positivity will also suggest you keep a gratitude list, writing three or so things down every day that you are grateful for. When life is hard we might tend to focus on the things that are easy to be grateful for, like a pretty sunset, warm home or healthy kids. Jenkins suggests we step up our game.

“Find something you are grateful about relating to something that is frustrating, or challenging, or painful,” he explains. “This powers up your brain to release a whole different set of chemicals and the chemistry is what determines what direction our brain is going to go next.”

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This article originally published as Nicole’s regular column on
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