Many people were happy to say goodbye to 2016. We can only hope the negativity and fear that arose from a vicious election season, acts of terrorism and police shootings go with it.

If 2016 has taught us anything, it is that all we can change is ourselves and our own contributions to our town, our state and our country. And while this may seem small, it isn’t.

Make 2017 a new start. Listen more. Judge less. Don’t assume the worst of people. Believe that humanity is inherently good — because it is. Give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Think before you tweet or post comments on social media. Remember, the people you may be criticizing are just that, people. Many are your neighbors. Sometimes we will never see eye to eye, but that does not make us enemies. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Let’s communicate better. Let’s be clear, fair and complete when disseminating information. Let’s give people time to react. Let’s be skeptical of rumors.

Step forward and lend a hand. Wilton offers a wealth of volunteer opportunities for its residents of all ages. Volunteering — whether it be visiting someone who is homebound, helping out in school, or serving on a town committee — can be the glue that holds a community together. We get together, face to face, for our own good and each other’s. It works best when there are many, rather than a few. You never know who you might meet.

Think about where we don’t want to be, and make where we are going different. Look forward. We’re all in the same boat. If you’re not rowing, but instead criticizing your fellow passengers’ techniques, all you’re doing is standing still, or worse, keeping the boat going in the same circles.

Most importantly, don’t give up. Don’t agree with someone? Maybe we can meet each other halfway. Try to see things from another viewpoint. We don’t have to always agree, but if we at least understand one another, that is a step forward.

Make 2017 a year of positive change — in yourself — and in all of us.

Happy New Year.