Many people will agree that 2016 was a roller coaster year. We suffered some major losses - the death of many celebrities and one of the worst elections of our lives *eye roll*. We can't deny that there were major wins too. I sipped Lemonade with Yonce and basked in Black Girl Magic. 

I've seen so many Facebook status that read "2017 is my year" but it can't be "your year" if you're not happy. These three steps below will guarantee happiness in 2017. 

Smile More. Laugh More. 

Smiling is healing for the heart, the mind and the body. Surround yourself with people and experiences that make you smile, laugh and bring you joy. Smiling is contagious, so when you smile, not only will you feel better inside, others will respond positively too. Laughter just feels GOOD but it also increases blood pressure, sending oxygen throughout our bodies AND helps you burn calories. Now that I know this, I'll be laughing every chance I get! 

Treat Yourself Personally and Professionally!

Whether it's your career or extracurricular activities, make sure that your day is filled with activities that you enjoy. When you wake up, you'll have something to look forward to. Take some time each day to do something nice for yourself. Treat yourself to lunch, take a long, relaxing bath or simply spend a few extra minutes on your appearance. You will subconsciously put yourself in a better mood.

Count Your Blessings

Be grateful for what you have and what you don't have. Don't compare yourself to anyone else but yourself. Think about how far you've come from where you were. In most cases, you've come a long way. Focus on yourself, your blessings and the progress that YOU are making, no one else. We are blessed beyond measure! We just have to take time out of our busy days to realize it and our days will be brighter. 

Reflecting on 2016, despite the ups and downs, I was HAPPY. The first step that led to my happiness was LOVING MYSELF first. My smile was bigger, my laugh was louder and my attitude shifted to gratefulness for everything I was blessed with. I loved myself enough to make changes physically, mentally and emotionally to make sure I was happy and it paid off. 

Love yourself or you'll never be happy

-A