Hello, 2017

January 4, 2017

Well hello, 2017. This week is all about saying goodbye to last year and welcoming in this year. It was wonderful to take the time yesterday to go through my highlight reel of the last 12 months and with that positive note, I am so ready to welcome 2017 with open arms. Socrates once said,

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.

We all know the stigma new year’s resolutions have built for themselves. And I get it. I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in this idea that you can wake up January 1st to being a brand new person with achievable goals and a clean slate and when it doesn’t go as planned or doesn’t start out that way – it delivers a bit of a blow. My mindset going into this new year after hitting rock bottom last year was that I wasn’t going to focus on “taking away”. The last thing I wanted to do was make a list of everything I was going to take away from myself (aside from general feelings or frustrations). And anyway, veryone knows life is just better with carbs and late nights are sometimes more fun then getting proper sleep… WINK. Instead, I wanted to remain in a positive tone as I decided on things that I was going to add to my life, build on or strengthen. It’s a lot less overwhelming and really helped to keep my mind in a positive state. And plus, as you start to nurture the positive aspects of what you want to add to your life, the things you wanted to remove do so naturally.

So what does that mean for me in 2017?

Hello, 2017! | #Sparkler #HappyNewYear

I think the most important place to start would be my word for 2017. Now, complete honesty. I have never before chosen a word for a new year. I never thought it was something I needed or wanted and I didn’t really see the benefit or reason for it. However, after diving into a new tool, I was shown the light with how wonderful and helpful a single word can be. It sort of acts as your focal point in everything that you do over the course of the year and can act as that guide when trying to decide what to add to your plate or what to set aside. I would come across those who use the Powersheets and they would say that your word never ends up being what you think it was going to be.

When I started with the prep work in the Powersheets Notebook back at the beginning of December I had some ideas about it, but after going through the work, after putting a lot of thought and intention into the process, it really is true. My word for this new year was nothing that I had on my radar, but it has already given me so much direction and confidence with how to handle the next 12 months. And nothing is more rewarding than that kind of clarity and I am grateful for it.

So, what is my word for 2017?

Hello, 2017! | #Sparkler #HappyNewYear

Who would have thought? I definitely wouldn’t have. However, after reviewing my goals and what I want to cultivate for the next 12 months, it became this beautiful and perfect fit. Webster’s dictionary defines nourish as:

  1. to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth.
  2. to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc.
  3. to strengthen, build up, or promote

So what does this look like for me in 2017 and all that I want to come from it? I’m going to pour a little bit of my heart out right now as I share some of my goals and what I want to cultivate over the next 12 months.

I want to nourish my faith.

This is the first thing I am continually writing out when in my planning, prep and goal setting work. Why? Because I value it above all else. And it needs 110% of my attention. And I need to work at it. I have done life without relying on my Heavenly Father and my faith and it is a dark place that I don’t like to be. I find that when I am nurturing that relationship, when I am relying on Him to take away worry and fear and doubt, when I am giving thanks to Him for when life is good and we have received blessings from out of nowhere…. day to day life just seems to be more vibrant. It’s happier. And it’s calming. I want so much of that in 2017. Will there still be bumps in the road? Always. And will life be hard? You bet. However, it’s through faith that we find the reason for the struggle. It’s through faith that we see the positive in what is at work. It’s growth, it’s understanding and it’s life.

I want to nourish my health.

Oh, friends. This is such a dark cloud in my life right now and I have so much work to do in this area. This is my physical health. This is my emotional health. This is my mental health. Right now I am dealing with so many things as a result of stress and lack of self-care. I never knew how awful anxiety was until I realized I had it. I never knew how awful IBS was until I realized that’s what I was dealing with. It effects so much in life right now. So this is an area that needs much of my attention and focus and it all has to do with proper self care. I refuse to look myself in the mirror this year and give myself a list of everything to take away because that isn’t change. That’s punishment. And we all know what happens when we start out that way…. we crash and burn eventually! Instead, I am saying yes to making sure I am doing something active every day. I am saying yes to walking away from responsibilities in order to go to bed when I am tired. I am saying yes to proper time in the morning to mentally prepare for the day and to put my focus on what it should be first thing. I am saying yes to having the right to put myself before anything and anyone else.

And for those of you who are in the same situation or feeling that overwhelm, I want to share just a few things I have already done that have made SUCH a difference in my daily life since November.

  1. I bought an old-school alarm clock. Not a digital, not one that lasers the time onto my ceiling. An alarm clock that does one job and that is to wake me up in the morning. This means that my phone? That thing that I used to grab first thing in the morning and mindlessly scroll social media on or check my emails and the demands ahead of me before even getting out of bed? That is plugged into a charging station downstairs every night. I no longer want its presence in my bedroom.
  2. I move slower in the mornings. This has a lot to do with calming my mind and any possible anxiety before I dive into my work day, but laying in bed and cuddling with my kids first, scripture study and prayer as well as meditation and stretching have been key in allowing me to start each day with a healthy mind.
  3. I try and ignore the guilt and I give myself permission to leave my desk during the day. I have found that chaining myself to my desk for a 12 hour work day no longer works for me and probably never did. Hence the break down. I now work until lunch time, step out of my office to actually eat lunch at the table and then I get myself outside for about 30 minutes for some fresh air and to recharge my brain.

As I have really started to see changes from these routines, I will absolutely be sharing them with you all very soon!

I want to nourish positivity.

Man alive, it’s amazing what just a positive and optimistic attitude can do for one’s soul and everyday life. After dealing with a lot last year and over the past few years, I was becoming more and more negative. And the more negative my attitude became the easier it was to pass on the gossip, to discuss others, to talk down to my children and my husband when I was angry or frustrated. It’s a slippery slope and I am so grateful for a change of heart last Fall. It takes so much work to continually keep your mind in a positive state, but it was because of a simple change in mindset that I was able to embrace the leap of faith and walk away from what I needed to last year.

And my motto for this new year when it comes to drama or speaking negatively of others? “Bless his or her heart”. The other day I wanted to tell my husband about something and even though it would have been just between the two of us, it would have bred negativity and fostered the wrong kind of energy that I want for myself and for our home. So just as I started to say something, I remembered my goal, sighed and said, “Bless her heart”. And my husband, knowing I have made this promise to myself just smiled and said, “Ok”.  It would have been so easy to just discuss the matter with him, to throw in a few snide comments about the situation, but what would that have done? Life is hard. And people, for the most part, are just trying to do their best. I have been put in the situation of being judged and talked about even by those closest to me. And the feeling and tension it creates is toxic and debilitating. Why would I ever want to make someone feel like that? Just because I might be having a bad day? Whether public or private, it’s a habit I want to snuff out.

I am at a point in my life where peace is a priority and creating those boundaries whether within myself or with others, is necessary. I came across a graphic that other day that said,

“I would rather be ‘annoyingly’ positive than destructively negative and hateful”.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I want to nourish financial stability.

This is something, especially now that we are living life 100% as entrepreneurs, that can be terrifying. However, instead of hiding from it, I want to develop healthy habits and a solid budget system. And I want to make sure that my husband and I make the time to meet weekly on where we are at and planning for the future. I want to focus on paying off debt instead of buying that new [enter-whatever-is-next-on-my-list here]. This is obviously a subject that I am not going to dive into too many details about, but I know that this is relatable to so many of my fellow entrepreneurs as well as those raising a family.

I want to nourish my relationships.

This begins with my husband and I who might have set the record for least amount of date nights in 2016. Pillow talk just doesn’t cut it despite our busy schedules. And aside from date nights and the alone time to talk without little ears around, I want to be better at building him up, at supporting all that he wants to do and allowing him the space to lead our family.

I want to nourish my relationships with each of my children. I already spend loads of time with them, but I want to make the effort to have quality one-on-one time with them. Over the holidays, I had to go to the store and my littlest asked to come. Part of me wished I could go by myself just for the peace and quiet as well as to move quickly through the holiday crowds, but she came and it was one of the best times I have ever had with her. She was an absolute joy and was so polite and patient as I shopped. I think that evening I brought it up with my husband 3 to 5 times just to repeat how incredible she was. I think my exact words were, “Man, when you don’t have all four of them together I really like our kids!” …. fellow parents of multiple children …. I know you get this – WINK!

I also want to put more effort into other family relationships and friendships. I want to actually remember birthdays (something I am horrible at) and I want to take the time to have people in our home. I want to foster strong and healthy relationships that will add to my life and my family’s life.

I want to nourish creativity.

As professional creatives, I think it’s an easy trap to fall into of constant deadlines, trying to keep up with everyone else all while still trying to foster and strengthen your own gifts and talents. And then just around the corner from that is burn out. If you have been a reader for awhile, you know I have suffered from chronic burn out because I keep making the same mistakes. And I know there are many of you out there who have dealt with it as well.

Instead of piling on the work and the projects, I want to make sure that there is time for actual creativity. To photograph just to photograph. To sketch just to sketch. It’s funny what they say – once you start getting paid for what you love it is no longer fun to do. I have felt that small nagging feeling that this is close and around the corner if I don’t adjust my approach. So here I am. Adjusting my approach. Only accepting the freelance work that I truly want to do as well as have the capacity for and making sure that, as an artist, I am filling my creative tank consistently.

So there you have it. My word and my list (aside from a few mundane, personal ones) of goals for 2017. I don’t have exciting travel spots on there, I don’t have a big marathon on there or anything exciting or news worthy. I am simply going back to basics this year. I simply want to become the best version of me that I can. And if at the end of the next twelve months I can look back and say that I have become a happier, healthier and better person? Then I will be wide-eyed and bushy-tailed walking into 2018.

Here’s to 2017. May it bring you happiness and joy. I am wishing each of you all the best!


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  1. Courtney Cook

    January 4th, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    As always, this is exactly what I needed to read at this moment. Thanks! My own “2017, here I come” post has been stuck in draft mode and I have selected Harmony as my word of the year, but Nourish is SO good too! PERFECT for you – and I’m sharing it with two people who I know could use it as well. I also wanted to say ditto on taking one kid to the store at a time. I had an adventure with one of our kiddos right before break and another one this week and it is something Kyle and I are going to make an intention of doing more often as it allows their little personalities to shine and our relationships to grow.

    Thank you and Cheers to Nourishment in 2017!!!

  2. Kara Layne

    January 19th, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Oh man, Miss Courtney. Seriously. We should be related – haha – and it has always been nice to hear that I am not alone in wanting to “nourish” more instead of chasing after the hustle. I saw the other day on Instagram somebody used the hashtag ‘#RestIsTheNewHustle’… I loved it. Happy new year to you and that cute family of yours. Can’t wait to see what you do in 2017! 😉