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Now that we’ve all come to grips with arguably the most painful year ever — 2016 — let’s break down three ways to win in 2017, because failure just isn’t an option.

Change your mindset: Bump what ya didn’t accomplish in 2016. Instead, take note of all the blessings currently surrounding you. It’s all about practicing a little gratitude in 2017. In fact, research shows that being thankful, rather than green with envy throughout the year, may have tremendous benefits on your quality of life – i.e. psychological, physical, and mental strength, among other things.

For instance, take a 2104 study published in Emotion, in which researchers suggest that a sunny disposition is the key to opening new doors. In other words, using your manners (“Thank you”), holding the door for a stranger, even acknowledging other’s contributions can lead to endless opportunities. After all, who doesn’t want to feel valued? Meanwhile, a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences saw that grateful people experienced fewer aches and pains and reported overall great well-being than others.

Set goals: While we’re not necessarily dream-board enthusiasts, regularly jotting down your goals is a must — whether you’re working towards buying a new home, jump-starting a business, or even going back to school. After all, how can one expect to hit their mark if they haven’t taken the time to set it? In case that’s not enough to get the juices flowing, according to a Virginia Tech University study, people who regularly write down their goals earn nine times more over their lifetime than people who don’t. Oddly enough, the same findings revealed that 80 percent of Americans admitted they neglect to set goals. While this goes hand-in-hand with writing down your goals, you must also track them. Take note of activities related to your goals to help keep you accountable, or grab an accountability partner to keep you from falling off the beaten path.

Get organized: With tax time closing in on us, now would be the perfect time to get your finances in order. The internet is filled to the brim with expert advice on how to begin a (realistic) budget and stick to it, saving (even during hard times), raising your credit score and so much more. A great place to begin? We pretty much love anything Tonya Rapley of My Fab Finance, Tiffany Aliche, better known as “The Budgetnista,” and Patrice C. Washington, author of Real Money Answers for Every Woman has to offer.

Here’s a creative money saving (and making) tip to keep in the back of your mind as you spring clean: “Go online and get to listing some of your unwanted stuff that you think someone will buy and watch your trash magically turn into cold, hard cash,” Washington told UpScale Magazine in 2013. “Use websites like ebay.com, craigslist.com and etsy.com. But don’t be lazy. Your chances of making quick sales greatly increase when you put a little thought and time into creating your listings. Start out with catchy and descriptive headlines to get a prospective buyer’s attention. Do your research and write an in-depth description of what you’re selling,” she added.

Happy New Year!

R. Hawkins

Humble with a hint of Muhammad Ali…