Britney's ex says his self-deprecating Super Bowl ad is the start of a whole new image

Kevin Federline says his self-deprecating Super Bowl ad is a sign of a “new Kevin” for 2007 – one who’s upbeat and determined to change his image.

“This is just the start of other things to come – ’07 is a completely life-changing experience for me,” Federline, 28, told PEOPLE at the shoot for the Nationwide Insurance commercial on Wednesday. “We’re only a few weeks in, and it’s already going in a whole another direction. I’m happy. Definitely happy.”

What’s his top priority? “Just changing my perception of myself in the public eye is number one,” he said. “I’m slowly and gradually doing that.”

Some may be surprised by the Nationwide spot, in which Federline goes from rap star to fry cook. (“Life comes at you fast,” is the slogan.) But Britney Spears’s soon-to-be ex says looking at the bright side is his style.

“I always look at everything positive no matter what,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life and had to overcome a lot of different situations. I learned at a young age it’s not good to be negative about everything. Life’s too short for that.”

He’s also planning to stay in the spotlight in 2007. “The music will always be there,” he said. “Clothing deals, we’re in negotiations with that. Some overseas stuff. Still going to do a little bit of the club appearances. This is just the perfect kickoff to the new year to me.”

And, of course, his kids – Kori, 4, and Kaleb, 2, his children with ex Shar Jackson, and Sean Preston, 1, and Jayden James, 4 months, with Spears – keep him busy. “I do have to go through the Dora, the Explorer stuff, I do that in the morning,” he said. “I do that with the kids.”

But it’s worth it: “The best thing about being a father is my children. That’s it. There’s nothing greater in life than that to me.”