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It seems that the consensus from the vast majority of people I talk to is that the year 2016, as a whole, was pretty rotten.

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Whether it be the ongoing crises in various parts of the world, the tragic deaths of numerous iconic legends such as Prince and David Bowie, or the uproar stemming from the U.S. election, we all seemed to have several metaphorical tough pills to swallow this year.

This hardship also seemed to ripple into many of our personal lives, as never before have I crossed paths with so many individuals battling anxiety, depression, and stress, among many other challenging experiences.

Yet here we are in late December, having survived another year of this journey that we call life.

Whether or not it feels like it to you right now, it’s a gift to be here. And no matter how difficult 2016 was to work through, I can guarantee that it also offered you a number of wonderful experiences.

Hoping to help you tap into that positivity, here are 5 quick things that you can do today to end 2016 on a high note and start 2017 on the right foot:

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1. Invest in You

With Christmas barely in the rearview mirror, chances are you recently spent a great deal of your hard earned money on the friends, family, and loved ones in your life. While that is certainly a wonderful thing to do, and I’m sure in most cases they reciprocated this gesture, the bottom line is that no one knows you as well as you know yourself.

Even though money may be tight, why not open your wallet one last time this year to give yourself something that will brighten your future? Whether it be a personal development book, an online course, or a juice cleanse, do something for yourself that will raise the value of your personal stock.

2. Gratitude

In my opinion, being grateful is one of the simplest yet most powerful hacks to positively alter your mood in a hurry. And the best part is, it’s completely free.

Whether or not you feel like it, take some time right now to list off 10 things you are grateful for in life. Seem impossible? Start really simple. You can be grateful to be alive, to have a roof over your head, to have eaten food recently, or to have laughed while watching Home Alone for the 35th time yesterday.

If you actually take the time to do this, I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the positive impact it will have on your mood, even if only for a fleeting second.

Want to take it to the next level? Start and end every day for the remainder of 2016 by listing off 10 things you are thankful for.

3. Cut the Criticism

Just yesterday, while in the car with my mom on the way home from a family gathering, I found myself criticizing an individual I am close with. At the mind level the criticism seems fully warranted, but deep down I couldn’t help but feel repulsed by my tone and decision to vent with blame.

It only seemed fitting that later that night I decided to re-read a chapter from one of my favourite books, How to Win Friends & Influence People. The chapter I happened to read iterated the importance of removing non-constructive criticism from your vocabulary and replacing it with empathy and forgiveness.

If you feel as if someone wronged you in 2016, take the time to think about what could have led them to do that from their perspective and forgive them for it, regardless of whether you choose to affiliate with them moving forward or not.

4. Complete a Year in Review

In my teenage years I would annually make a number of my friends laugh by creating a year in review video. This 4-5 minute video would feature a montage of my top 5 favourite songs, movies, video games, and female celebrities of that year.

While I’m certainly not suggesting you create a video of this nature, I am suggesting that you take the time to reflect on the best of 2016. For me, this involves simply taking some quiet time where I write down everything I accomplished or experienced throughout the year.

Despite having done this for several years now, I still always find myself pleasantly surprised by how much I achieved that I otherwise would have forgotten about.

5. Have Some Fun

Just because 2016 has been tough on you thus far doesn’t mean you are incapable of having fun with what is left of it. Make a point of doing something that you absolutely love to do between now and December 31st.

Whether it be going dancing, rock climbing, bowling, or taking a long walk in nature, make doing something fun as mandatory as eating and breathing.

Do you struggle with anxiety? In early 2017, I will be launching an online course filled with all of the tools and techniques I used to conquer anxiety. Sign up to be one of the first to find out about the course’s release.

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