It’s a new year and that means new beginnings. Whether you are joining everyone at the gym and getting yourself in physical shape or focusing on your mental health to get yourself in emotional shape, the year of 2017 should be all about you. I think I speak for everyone when I say that the experiences we had in 2016 helped us learn a lot of lessons that we should carry into the new year. Here are some of the lessons that I have learned this past year.

1. Learn to love yourself.

I definitely learned to love and appreciate myself more in 2016. I had always had low self-esteem, but I think this past year was the year that I really fell in love with myself. It wasn’t always easy, and there were days when I would look into the mirror and see my imperfections a little more than usual, but I always tried to point out the good I saw as well. I live by the quote “Get up, dress up, show up, and never ever give up” and I can’t tell you how many times I recited that to myself in the mirror each morning. Pep talks with yourself can really boost your mood and help you have a better outlook that day, so I encourage you to try it.

2. Find your true friends and hold on tight to them.

This was a tough one for me. I came from a very small high school, that was full of cliques. People would be friends with people one day, and then hate them the next. Once I graduated and moved to my college town, the people who were never meant to stay in my life slowly started to drift away. However, the people that were meant to be in my life very quickly showed up. At first, I hurt over the loss of my friendships, but then I realized how toxic they were and how blessed I was with the friends I have now. I truly believe that you find your true friends while in college who are meant to be in your life forever. In 2017, find out who truly cares for you and your well being and do not let them go. If they do not motivate you, build you up, and celebrate your achievements, then walk away.

3. Let go of anyone who is causing you pain.

This kind of goes with number 2, but if you have a significant other who is also very toxic, please walk away. I went through a very bad breakup in 2016, and one of my hardest lessons was learning to let go. If the special person in your life is not giving you the same effort that you are back, then tell them goodbye. You do not need anyone in your life who is not going to appreciate what they have. It will hurt, but in the end, you’ll be glad you left when you did.

4. Listen to your mother.

This was another big lesson that I learned. The saying, “mother knows best” is so incredibly true. Your mom can pick out a fake friend or a bad relationship way before you do. Moms know us better than we think, and when we take the time to stop and actually listen to what they have to say, we can realize that they’re actually right.

5. Listen to your friends.

Just like your mom, your friends also know what is best for you. I had a toxic person come into my life towards the end of 2016, and all my friends warned me about him. However, I didn’t listen because I did not see what they saw. Now, looking back, I wish I would have paid attention to what they said because it would have saved me a lot of heartbreak. Your friends know you just as well as you know them, and they know who is best for you when you are looking for a significant other. If they tell you that something just isn’t right about the boy you introduced them to, do not ignore it. Pay attention, and you just might see that they are right.

6. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

You’d be amazed at what you can achieve when you step outside of your comfort zone and take chances. When I came to college, I promised myself that I’d do just that and since then, I have been given some wonderful opportunities and met some amazing people. The biggest fear people face is failing, however, when you push that thought aside and think of the many possibilities that could happen if you do succeed, you can accomplish so much. If you fail? Take it as a learning experience. Anything negative can be turned into a very positive situation, it’s just all about how you handle it.