*affiliate links I’m not going to sugar coat it at all. 2017 was the hardest year of my adult life. It really, truly was. I was not sorry to see it go and I have been looking forward to this fresh start for months now. I’ve got big plans, big goals, and big changes in the works and it’s so needed in my life. That being said, as rough as 2017 was, I can’t deny the beautiful things I was able to accomplish and experience in between the sorrows and trials. Plus, in order to really move forward with 2018 and to feel like I’m ready to move forward, I need to take a look back at 2017, make some evaluations, and let go of some of the heartaches. It can be a little rough, but I think it’s definitely needed in order for me to truly feel like I have that fresh start for this new year. Going through these new year reflection questions has really helped me evaluate where I’ve been and where I want to go and it’s allowed me to make some solid plans for 2018!
Favorite Memories from this year?
- We bought our first house after a crazy three-month house hunting adventure!
- Adding another puppy to our family, our sweet Goldendoodle, Teddy
- Dubbing it the “Year of the Concert” and seeing John Bellion, Twenty-One Pilots, Bastille, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Muse & Imagine Dragons
- Making a huge decision to change companies and start a new job in July!
- Spending a long weekend in Park City, UT to celebrate Dustin’s birthday
- Hosting our first Christmas in our home for my family of 10!
What went well this year?
It took me a while to figure out what really went well this year because 2017 was so overshadowed by the bad things that happened to my little family and how it affected me personally. Something that did go well, though, was my performance at my job and being able to become a valuable part of my team and office. Even though 2017 was rough all around, I am really proud of myself for not letting it affect my job performance and for being able to keep up on my responsibilities at the office.
Blog-wise, I feel like there were two things that went really well for me: I was able to collaborate with a lot of other local bloggers in the SLC area and actually gained some pretty amazing friendships out of those collaborations. Second of all, I finally feel like I got Pinterest working for me in a way that it’s never worked for me before. I bought the Pinteresting Strategies eBook from Mommy on Purpose and was able to triple my blog traffic within a month of implementing the strategies. I’ve never had that kind of success before and it came at a time where I was seriously considering stopping blogging, so I’m grateful for the boost of confidence it gave me. (And I highly recommend the eBook to my blogging friends – it seriously is game-changing.)
What did not go well?
Well, there was a lot that did not go well that was completely out of my control: Dustin’s emergency surgery, the health complications that followed, and our miscarriage. And going through all of those things really affected every other aspect of my life, like my health, my motivation, and my drive. I stopped taking care of myself, I stopped fighting for my goals and dreams, and there were days where I seriously felt like I had nothing going for me. I slept a LOT and watched a LOT of Netflix. I didn’t accomplish ANY of the goals I had set for my blog in 2017 and I didn’t accomplish ANY of the goals I had set for myself personally in 2017. I feel like a barely survived what it threw at me, and I really want to work on setting myself up for more success in the new year.
Blog-wise, I feel like pretty much nothing else went really right this year for me. I gave up on a lot of my goals and lost my passion for blogging in the midst of all the chaos and sadness we were dealing with. I didn’t post consistently, I had no strategies, I had no plan, and I contemplated giving up several times. However, I got through that and feel like I have a solid plan in place for 2018!
What do I want to differently in 2018?
I have a post on this coming in the next two days, but I really want 2018 the year that I focus on myself. I had a realization a few months ago that I have been completely stagnant in my own personal development. I am always working hard on learning more about blogging, or trying to better myself at my corporate job, but I haven’t done anything to improve ME as a person.
I’ve started listening to some amazing podcasts and watching some Ted Talks at the beginning of November and they have really helped me re-evaluate myself, where I am, and what changes I can make to become someone better. I’m really excited to continue this journey in 2018 and to really focus on improving myself.
When did I feel most exhausted and drained?
- When blogging felt like a chore and I was super stressed out about not being able to keep up with my blogging friends
- Having my weekends booked back to back to back with traveling, church commitments, social outings, etc.
- Not holding myself to a strict sleeping schedule and not getting enough rest
When did I feel most in my element?
- Creating new processes at my job that made huge improvements to the way my office runs
- Getting together with blogging friends and teaching them some of the lessons I’ve learned in branding and Pinterest
- Executing a makeup look idea perfectly on myself
- Listening to self-development Podcasts and applying them to my life and seeing positive change
What is one thing I’m most proud of from 2017?
One thing that I’m really proud of and happy with the progress with is my photography business that I do on the side. I don’t do any advertising (I rely on word of mouth, pretty much) and I have no plans to make it a full-time thing anytime soon, but this year I booked the most shoots ever, including my first wedding, several engagement sessions, and several big family portraits! I’ve booked enough to confidently raise my rates and I’ve really seen some great growth in the shots I’m producing and editing. I’m really proud of myself for achieving this in 2017, especially because this wasn’t even something on my goal or resolution list.
What purchase turned out to be the best purchase of the year?
My new Macbook Pro, hands down. It was such a huge purchase for me and one that was a long time coming. I knew that if I wanted to take my blog and photography to the next level, I needed an upgrade in the computer department that would actually run Lightroom and iMovie. I’m also really proud of myself for being able to afford this computer all by myself!
What day would you live over again from this year?
The day we saw Twenty-One Pilots at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It was easily one of my favorite nights of 2017 – it was before anything awful happened in 2017, we had found out that the offer on our house had been accepted, the venue was amazing and the concert seriously was out of this world. We had general admission seats (so we stood super close to the stage) and were able to really feel like we were PART of something so much bigger while we were singing along. It was amazing.
What Advice Would You Have Given Yourself on January 1st, 2017?
You will survive all that comes your way and it’s okay to take some time to rest from everything and everyone. And if you need help, it’s okay to ask for it.
What is the most important lesson you learned in 2017?
That I am stronger than I think and that I am capable of doing hard things. I used to think that I “did my time” because I had cancer when I was 16. I survived that hard thing, so I kind of expected (and hoped) that the rest of my life would be a little more smooth sailing. I know, I know, that’s a pretty ridiculous thought process, but it was a coping mechanism I used to help me deal with the trauma of being sick. And after going through our miscarriage, I really struggled. I didn’t understand why I had to go through another hard thing and I didn’t know how I was going to survive it because I had already used all my “surviving” up when I was sick.
But I did survive those first few months. I’m continuing to survive that pain and those scars today. And I’m learning that I may have to survive more down the road, but that I CAN do it.
I feel like 2017 has woken me up to a lot of things that I have been asleep for. I’ve felt a huge awakening in wanting to fight for myself and my happiness again, after a year that shut my hopes and dreams down. I feel like I’m finding a new strength and fight in me and I can’t wait to follow it and see where it leads me.
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How was 2017 for you? What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?
And also, a huge, huge thank you to those of you who have stuck with me, who respond to me, who send me messages, who leave me comments, who have been praying for me, and who have supported me here. You are the best. I can’t express enough how much your love and support means to me and how it’s literally changed my life.