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Bailey Pace

And suddenly it was December. The final month of the year. Everything is merry and bright. Because in retrospect, we deserve a final hurrah after the year we have had. Goodbye, Prince. Goodbye, David Bowie. Goodbye, Alan Rickman. I feel like almost everyone can agree that 2016 has been a doozy. So with eager hearts and hopeful outlooks we scream goodbye to 2016. And we welcome 2017. 2017 needs to be better than 2016. With bar already so low, I do not foresee this being a problem. However, there are things you can do to improve your outlook on the New Year and create your own happy reality.

1. Take Things with a Grain of Salt – People around you will be pledging to drop fifty pounds before Valentine’s Day. Resolutions like these are unreasonable and rarely lasting. So take a step back and let that situation play out.

2. Try to stay in the Moment – Sometimes can feel like you are just trying to make it through the holidays to the New Year. But try to stop for a moment and look around you. Appreciate the goodness around you. And in the middle of the best moments, try to capture mental pictures. That helps during the rough times.

3. Catch Negative Thoughts – Sometimes our thoughts become more and more negative. This can happen without us even realizing. When you catch yourself beginning to think that way, interrupt yourself. You can do that by having a mantra or quote and repeating that in your head. Or you can make yourself think three positive thoughts for every negative thought. Both of these options serve the same purpose and can really improve your outlook.

4. Lift up Those around You – Be the light you want to see in the world. When you make other people feel good, you will feel good too. And then you will be surrounded by happy people that want to spend time with you.

5. Be Ready for Rough Waters – Not every moment in a day can be picture perfect. And that is okay. Be prepared for that. But during those rough times, remember all the great moments. Hold on to those. Because clouds rarely last long. And the stronger storms lose a lot of their bluster pretty quickly. You can handle that. I believe in you.

Whether or not your 2016 was a good year for you, 2017 can be a great year. You cannot control what will happen during the year, but you can control how you let it affect you. Stay strong. Stay hopeful. And have a Happy New Year!

– Bailey Pace. Hashtag #84, December 2016.

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HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks.