It's the first week of the bright and shiny new year, which means everyone is feeling optimistic. I am not exempt from this feeling. It feels as though I have every opportunity to make anything happen! I've thought about what I'd like to work on this year, and I've come up with a few things that I think might improve my mindset and my life in the coming year. They're all simple changes we can all make to help make 2017 a great year (because let's be honest, 2016 sucked.)

1. The $5 Challenge:

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I feel like I'm constantly trying to convert my finances into something that doesn't resemble a train wreck or a barren desert. I came across this idea and thought to myself "I might be able to do that.". The idea of the challenge is every time you come across a $5 bill you set it aside and save it. I've decided to do the same with $1 bills as well. You save the money all year and at the end of the year, in theory, you have saved with very little effort or planning. Here's to actually having a saving in 2017!

2. Appreciate every day, not just the great ones:

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We tend to look back at our year and only see the BIG things that happened, and we forget that some really nice SMALL things happened as well. I think that maybe if we focus on the wonder in every day, we will be happier people. On that note, I took a mason jar, and every day I write down something positive that happened. (It could be as little as I ate pizza for lunch and it was good.) You can either choose to keep them sealed away until the end of the year and read them, or crack open your blessing jar when you're having a particularly hard time remembering the good in the world. It's a small way to remind yourself that life is full of blessings if we pay attention.

3. Don't eat like crap:

I'm in my 30s, which for those of you who don't know, means my metabolism has slowed to a turtles pace. I've come to learn that I can't eat whatever I want. Everything I eat affects my body at this point. I've decided that this year, I will make an effort to actually pay attention to what I eat and how it affects me, instead of just eating to eat. I want to eat with purpose and use ingredients that will fuel me and my passion for cooking. Does this mean that I'm on a crash diet and completely changing the things I eat? No. What am I, an idiot? It just means that instead of eating a half a pizza, maybe I'll eat a piece of pizza with a salad or some sort of vegetable. I'll moderate the amount of garbage I allow myself to have, and perhaps introduce some things that will aid my body instead of causing it to crash.

2017 is a blank slate, and I for one, hope that it's a time in my life that I can look back on fondly and thank myself for making a few simple changes that helped my mind, body and pocket book. Here's to a less than terrible year!