The clock strikes midnight and the room goes wild. Boys, girls, grandparents, neighbors; all hugging in celebration of the New Year. You hear plans to lose that extra weight or vows to finally stop procrastinating. People are making predictions that they will meet the love of their life, get that desired job or the perfect SAT score they need for their dream school. Everyone is setting expectations for the year ahead but for many, those expectations may not be met.

Just because you may not have gotten that acceptance letter or seen that desired number on the scale, it does not mean you have failed. Just because you may be ending the year without a significant other does not mean you have failed. Just because you are excited for the clock to strike midnight on New Year’s Eve does not mean you should try and forget everything that happened in those last twelve months. Why? You did not fail.

Every year and every person experiences hardships, lows, and disappointments. If there is anything I have learned during my short 18 years on this earth, it is that life is what you make it. It is your job to see that God has a plan when he sends you another “no” from some school you deemed to be “perfect”. It is up to you to enjoy those extra calories you’re eating when you order that slice of chocolate cake instead of going to the gym. It is important you find comfort and happiness in being alone. It is your responsibility to make hard times into good times.

So my piece of advice to you as we enter into another year filled with ups and downs, find the good. Turn a bad situation into something amazing. Stop focusing on losing that weight and focus more on those you surround yourself with. A rejection or a breakup can only make you feel as bad as you let it. Use these next twelve months to grow, to learn, and to become a version of yourself that you are happy with. Don’t stop setting expectations, but stop blaming yourself if they do not all come true.

As we reset the clock and embark on another year, celebrate with those you love because you have been given a new set of 365 days for you to enjoy and learn from. Don’t waste them.