While 2016 was a difficult year for many of us, I do feel that it provided a lot of learning and growth opportunities. Whether we should have handled something better as a society or opened our hearts up to another’s point of view, there were chances at every turn. For me personally, I had many circumstances arise that I viewed as learning experiences. I thought I’d share the three big things I learned about myself and happiness in today’s post. After you read what I learned, I’d love to know what positive things you learned in 2016. Share your stories with me on Instagram or Facebook.

1. Not all good habits are easy to keep.

In late 2015, I’d written about how I was able to give up my addictions to Netflix and sugar but in 2016, those bad habits made every attempt at a comeback. I was able to easily stay away from them when I was living on my own, but once my husband came back from his time overseas, it was a completely different ball game. In Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before, she discusses how certain pairings can trigger us into good or bad habits. I’d learned that I pair food at home with watching TV and I equate watching Tv with my husband as quality time. As I’m sure you can imagine,  I started to eat a lot of crap food and get sucked back into my Netflix addiction. As the year progressed, I made some strides on cutting out the sugar to rarer occasions but TV became a constant. As I move into 2017, I’ve sat with my husband and made some adjustments to how we spend time. We now have a Tuesday date night to ensure quality time together and I will watch movies with him but not TV shows (those are my big binge downfall). In short, I’ve found my good habits that helped me be happy were not easy to keep with a new equation and I need to alter how I approach keeping them.

2. Turn down your backlight.

I know this one seems weird by I can’t stress it enough! I was getting terrible headaches every single day, to the point that I had one headache that lasted over 24 hours. After that doozy of a headache and the others that came every day for over 3 months, it was recommended to me by a coworker to try turning down the backlight on my computer. Holy smokes! Did it work! Now I turn down the backlight on my phone and computer to the lowest settings possible and I haven’t had a headache for over a month now. The point of all this? Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that make the biggest impact in our life, even if we don’t know it. So the next time things aren’t going your way, try taking a look the everyday things that could be hindering or helping you.

3. There is always something testing you.

In 2015, my husband went away for a year and a few months. I thought that would be the most difficult year of my life… and it was, until 2016. After my husband came home, I thought things would be easy breezy and I would be able to coast into a year where we spent more time together and had just an easy, happy life. Then work went haywire. I’ve worked in stressful situations or on stressful projects but a shift in management, an acquisition, and my perfectionist tendencies truly tested me in 2016. But what a learning opportunity it has been. The point is, even when you expect things to be smooth, they aren’t. There is always something testing you, pushing you to grow and be better. And it's those tests that lead you to be better, to be happier, and to keep exploring life.

Photo by Samual Scrimshaw