2017 The Year of Quality

Quotes for 2017 to get you motivated. See more on The Fresh Exchange

To this day one of my favorite things is a new notebook. The fresh pages of possibility. The clean slate. The opportunity to begin anew. I love it more than anything else and whenever a new year arrives I look at it just as similarly as those fresh pages of a new notebook. 2017 feels just like a new notebook. Crisp and unmarked all on the exterior and full of pages just waiting to be written. Some may be covered in rainbows and some the ink will run from tears that were shed, there is no doubt, but now they are blank and ready to be written. Now, is the time to decide what will be the theme of those pages. What will be the lessons we hope to learn? How will we grow? Who do we hope to be on the other side when the last page is turned? More importantly, will we be okay if we do not become that person and instead find ourselves someone else? No matter what, now is the time to set ourselves on a path and direction.

Long ago, Mike and I threw out the idea of resolutions. Instead, every year Mike and I sit and reflect on the last year of our life and then soon there after choose a word or a theme for the next year. Last year, 2016 was the year of patience. We knew how much life would change and we challenged ourselves throughout the year to learn to be patient and to slow ourselves enough to find pleasure and satisfaction in the moment we were in. We also knew we would be learning so many new things as new parents and that would take not only patience with ourselves, but patience with each other, Hayes, and anyone else in our lives. Everything would change and the only way we knew we could survive was to learn and understand the word of patience in every way that year or at least try our hardest to. In retrospect, I feel my soul has slowed and calmed through this last year because of focusing on that word all year. My longing to go and expect immediacy in things has shifted greatly compared to how I felt in much of my 20’s. Maybe that happens with age or maybe that happens as a parent, but removing myself from the ever-churning amount of media and focusing instead on what is right in front of me more than ever I have found so much more comfort in where I am at in life in the moment. That feeling of contentment is something I couldn’t be more thankful to have learned in 2016. You can read more about our reflections on the last year here.

So as we enter 2017 and all its newness we are dubbing this our year of quality. Becoming new parents allowed a lot of things to fall through the cracks for us. From ourselves to our work to relationships and more. Sure it clarified much of our life, but it also left us feeling many times like we were treading water more than anything else. I learned to survive there but I wouldn’t say that I thrived especially as a creative in this environment. There are many ways we plan to focus on being our best this year, but first we are working on defining our own meaning of what quality means for us. In the past when I think of the word quality I think of it as being synonymous with perfection. This left me feeling that quality was unattainable because perfection was never my thing. I am always rough around the edges, undone in some way, and I thrive on embracing that rather than fighting it. But in the last month I have begun to redefine what quality means in my work and my life instead of allowing it to be defined by some worldly perception. Quality now for me has come to mean doing my very best whenever, wherever, and however I can. This means less may be produced not out of a lack of hustle, but instead out of a desire to ensure I have done the best I could do. Out of the practice of doing my best my hope is that not only greater work will surface but a greater version of myself. I spent this last year gaining my footing in my new role as a mother and creative at the same time and continually trying to find some perfect balance, which only left me coming up short over and over again. I tried to keep too many plates spinning without relaxing enough to give myself time to practice being my best self, my best creative self, my best physical self, my best emotional self, etc. This year, I plan to practice quality over quantity.  Each day will have a different bar as to what is my best, but as long as my best is done, I know it was my greatest here now and in this moment. That is my greatest hope for this year, to end each day knowing my highest quality was done for that day.

2016 taught me so much about how less is more in every way and when we have less to pull us away we have more space and time to give to what we want to be great at. As things are added into our lives we must edit our lives that much more to create dedicated space to be our best selves in our life.

That said, the blog will be one of many areas of doing my best this year. I have promised myself to push to continually create quality things I believe in every day and for it to be my best and only my best. That said, there may be quieter days here in order to accommodate my best work being done. It is easy as a blogger to feel the pressure to create content on a daily basis to keep your space fresh and moving forward, but this last year there were moments I felt obligated more than passionate to create something and that isn’t why I blog. I never want to create out of obligation because I always find myself disappointed with the work created as it is never my best and it tends to lack heart. I always want to be creating content that is passionate and creative. This year I hope to be doing just that.

Obviously quality is a word that permiates many aspects of life beyond work and I am finding that creating clear schedules, boundaries, and rules to life are more important than ever to ensuring that quality has the space to happen. From fitting in workouts, eating well, being present as a mother, being present as a wife, and making a point to spend time with friends. These are all important pieces to this year. I plan to make a point to spend less time outside of my working hours on scrolling and more focused on reading, becoming a better version of me, and finding greater contentment in the life I love.

I am so excited for 2017 and all that lies ahead on these fresh pages in all of our lives. It is an exciting time as we have 365 days to choose to be our best selves. What a year I hope that 2017 will be in the brightest and most beautiful way.

What do you have planned for this coming year? Do you have a word for the year?! What are you doing to start into those fresh pages of a new chapter in your life?!

Leave a comment

  1. Some lovely words here Megan, ones that I wholeheartedly agree with. At times, blogging encourages us to create daily and not create quality. I’m happy to only post once a week, with the knowledge that i’ve had longer to perfect that one post. extra time to edit photos and extra time to craft my words better. This is something I hope to continue in 2017. Happy New Year to you both and hayes!

    Jordan Bunker | Men’s Fashion and Lifestyle Blog

  2. What a wonderful post to start the New Year off with! I love the idea of creating a word or setting an intention for the year. I am still working on what mine will be. I can completely relate to your sense of quality when it comes to blogging. You aren’t always going to feel inspired, and for me, that tends to be when my posts lack heart. It will definitely be something I work on as well in 2017. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy New Year!

    http://www.livinginsteil.com

  3. I also pick a word of the year! My word for 2017 is joy. With that theme in mind I am looking forward to the joy of new life, hoping my husband and I conceive this year, the joy of spending quality time with family and friends, and the joy of giving back weely with a refugee organization in my area.

    I love the analogy you made of each year feeling like a fresh notebook. That took is one of my favorite parts of the new year – starting a fresh journal to document each day. I started a practice, with the recommendation of the Calm Book and App to write down 1) what made me calm each day, 2) what made me grateful each day, and 3) 3 highlights. I too am hoping that a focus on my word of the year and continuing my practice of writing will bring clarity to my creative process and result in better blogging for 2017. Thank you for always being a wonderful source of inspiration!

    1. I just downloaded the Calm app as well. Really interested in it! Good to know it is something other people are checking out. I hope all the best for you this year and conceiving! It can be so stressful. Try to relax 🙂 It will happen! Good things are ahead for this year I can feel it!

  4. I Adopted a Word For This Year Too. Mine Will Be ‘change’ Because My Family OF Four Will Be Moving To Another COUNTRY (We Hope Very soon), Trying To Find A Better Life For US. I Always Love To Read Your Thoughts And I Always Find INSPIRATION In Your Words. Thanks For Sharing.

      1. France will be our Destination! It will be a big adventure, learning another language and just adapt to another culture. We have 2 BOYS, Ages 5 and a half AND 4 years Young. We are very excited about the Move. Maybe in a Couple of months I’ll come here and tell you how everything is going 🙂 thank for your words. Wish you a great 2017 As well

  5. Yeah! I’ve chosen a wOrd for new year 2917: focus.
    I’LL FOCUS ON THE MOMENT,ON THE FLOW, on people i love, on opportunities as they coMe.

  6. Love this!! I’ve never been big on the concept of resolutions myself and I love what you and Mike do instead of it. I definitely want to give that a try this year! This year feels monumental, because it’s the year of my golden birthday (turning the same age as my birth date), so I hope to honestly to make this year gold in the every day and with new adventures!

  7. i have only been following your blog since december but i wanted you to know that i have been very encouraged by your posts. your writing truly comes from the heart and your intentional and purposeful way of living is very refreshing.

    i enjoyed this post very much as i too want to simplify my life and bring more quality to it. your post reminded me of a book which may be encouraging to you. it’s called essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less. the author is greg mckeown

    have a blessed day and THANK YOU again FOR BEING AN ENCOURAGING VOICE ALONG THE JOURNEY.

    HUgs, heidi

    1. Hey Heidi! This is so wonderful to hear! I am so glad you enjoy my writing and what I share. It means a lot to know how much it means to you. I appreciate your comment! So glad to have you as a reader 🙂

  8. “spend less time outside of my working hours on scrolling and more focused on reading…”

    Yes, yes, yes. Right there with you. I spent most of my holiday taking a break from social media and all of the scrolling, and more time curled up with my kindle, and it was stunning how much better life felt. Looking forward to a year ahead with more new ideas and inspiration, less trying to “keep up with” (and often, inevitably compare myself to) those around me.

    Beautiful post, Megan. Wishing you a lovely 2017! 🙂

    1. I know it is amazing how satisfied you begin to feel with life when you spend less time scrolling and more time just focusing on your world right around you. I have found myself having a hard time jumping back into social media in the new year. I mostly now use my phone for photos of Hayes and reading books haha. I feel so content though so I am not fighting it just yet 🙂 Have an awesome new year Ali! Always love hearing from you 🙂

  9. That’s really interesting you equate quality with perfection. From an engineering PERSPECTIVE (I work in aerospace), quality means only one thing: meeting the standard. And then there is acceptable deviation from that standard – usually also specified in advance. As a mother of 3 very young children, I think using my engineering background is very helpful to set self-expectations. I have found I routinely perform at about 80% of what I consider “my very best” – but that is still very good, and meets the standard nearly all the time.

    For the last two years, I focused on saying “no” as much as possible. This year, I’m focusing on starting as much as possible. So I suppose the word last year was “no” and the word this year is “start”.

  10. This is such a beautiful message and way to enter the new year. I love the idea of picking a word of intention, rather than a resolution; thank you for sharing this. Focusing on quality is something that I need to do myself quite a bit, but I also need to step away from it a bit too, so I can move forward. I tend to get caught up in quality and become stagnant. How do you let go if something isn’t perfect? That’s certainly a struggle I face. Maybe I’m leading myself to my own word of 2017. 🙂

  11. I love when people think beyond a “resolution” and move towards a long term goal for a year, and I love that yours is reflected by a single word.
    My husband and I set goals for the year, but far from the “lose that holiday weight!” some of mine include: Brush up on my Spanish so I can speak better with my family who still lives in Guatemala; finish knitting the blanket I’ve been working on; and improve my skills as an amateur clarinetist so that I can go up a reed hardness. For me, setting these solid, tangible goals that I can check off throughout the year helps me to work in the present whilst keeping one eye on the future.
    Happy new year to you and your family!

  12. Megan, thank you again for sharing your life with us! your life is work in itself and your readers learn so much.
    i love this perspective on making your year about a word. this is so different from making a list of things to do, and sometimes without any purpose. after I made my 2016 gratitude list, i realized that it’s much about how i want to live that should dictate my decisions, rather than the other way around! i shared this with my husband and we are both reflecting on a word for year 2017! thank you for the inspiration, as always!

  13. yes to all of this! i also love the possibility of a blank notebook. i’m happy to hear you are bucking the rules and plan on creating quality on your blog. as a fellow blogger this has been my biggest beef with experts. “to gain readership you must have consistent content.” I DON’T ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT TO BE TRUE, ESPECIALLY IF IT ISN’T AUTHENTIC. ALSO, I STRUGGLE WITH MOMMAHOOD/CREATIVE LIFE BALANCE. I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING HOW YOU CHOOSE TO NAVIGATE IT. I HAVE A FEW INTENTIONS FOR THE YEAR, BUT WILL MOSTLY BE GUIDED BY MY WORD OF THE YEAR, WHICH IS LIGHT. I WANT TO BE THE LIGHT, SEE THE LIGHT, AND GIVE THE LIGHT.

    1. Wow I love this! I agree. I have spent the last few years doing more of the consistency thing and I have found it makes me less inspired and I don’t think the return is great enough to feel it is worth it. Thus why this year I am doing posts and so on that I only 100% believe in and feel are quality from writing to images and so on. If it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen. So great to hear another blogger say the same thing. Thanks Abby!! I love your word for the year!

  14. Thanks for sharing such a great article. What an informative and helpful post. I’m going to try some of your suggestions.
    I’m probably not nerdy enough–but I’ll make every effort.