2016 wasn't completely awful, but it was a pretty tough year in some aspects. However, there's still so much to be thankful for. Sometimes it's hard to remember all of the good things that have happened in a year, especially when it's been a more difficult year than others.

And this is why I'd like to invite you to do something special, something my family does every year to kick off the new year.

My husband Jay and I are memory hoarders. We should probably invest stock in a decorative box making company because we're forever buying cute boxes to store our memories. Concert and sporting good tickets, receipts from special dinner nights, leaves from that one time years ago that we went for a walk on a super beautiful trail. You get the point.

Since memories are so important to us, we thought it would be fun to make preserving day-to-day memories a family affair. And so was born our 'happiness jar.'

The concept of the happiness jar is simple. Each day, write something happy that happened that day on a piece of paper, fold it up and slip it into a jar. And then, on New Year's Eve 2017, open the jar, dump out the slips of paper and as a family, read what you wrote on them. It'll be a fun way to look back on your year, and also keep your happiness in check. Sometimes it's easy to get sucked into negativity, but no matter how tough life gets, if we're able to remind ourselves of the good things in our lives, it makes those rough patches a little easier to bear.

This is a really fun way to look back on the year, and also keep your happiness in check. Sometimes it's easy to get sucked into negativity, but no matter how tough life gets, if we're able to remind ourselves of the good things in our lives, it makes those rough patches a little easier to bear.

We dumped out our jar on New Year's Eve and started reading through the notes we'd jotted down. A lot of special moments were remembered, that's for sure. And, instead of being sad when I read our first entry of 2016, I smiled with hopefulness that 2017 will be the year our family gets what we've been dreaming of. Our first entry for 2016 read, "Today, we sat down and had a serious talk about expanding our family. We're ready!"  It didn't happen in 2016, but maybe it will in 2017!

Traci Taylor