2017, Let’s Do This!

Happy New Year! While I admit I’m still in a bit of a holidaze (daze from the holidays), and am 100% feeling the struggle to get back into my normal morning routine, I’m excited for the excitement a new year brings.

Sure, it’s technically just “another day” if you’re looking at it linearly, but there’s something about flipping the calendar to page one and the feeling of new beginnings + a fresh start when January 1 rolls around. Plus, the end of the year tends to get a little crazy once Thanksgiving hits, so January seems to be the time to get back on track with all the things.

Last year I wrote several posts highlighting my goals at the start of every month. While I’ll likely be setting these smaller goals month by month again, I just wanted to share an overview of them once on Small Towns & City Lights, so I can focus on even more awesome content for you to read throughout the year.

Personal Goals for 2017

  • Declutter + maintain: Lately I’ve been feeling super cluttered with things piling up all over the place, mostly due to my crazy busy schedule in 2016. I’m ready to donate and toss lots of things this year, and am excited to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Upwhich I’m hopeful will help even more!
  • Travel to 5 new states/countries: Travel is a huge focus for me. While I do have a couple trips already in the works this year (NYC and London), I want to cross some new places off my list as well, with a combo of new states and countries.
  • Read more: In 2016 I read much more than I have in years, but I still have SO many books sitting on my shelf that I’ve been wanting to read. My plan is to cut out some TV/computer time before bed and do some reading before bedtime.
  • Meal plan: I did this a little last year, but want to get better about it. Eating out is a huge downfall for me (on both my health and wallet), so I’m hoping that by meal planning I’ll be healthier and will save a lot!

Blog Goals for 2017

  • Create a newsletter: I’ve been wanting to do this for ages! It’s definitely going to happen this year.
  • Refine + balance my main categories: I’ve been working on refining my site’s primary categories to ensure a solid foundation of STCL’s direction for 2017 and beyond. So excited about all of the content I have planned to share with you this year!
  • Collaborate with more brands: 2016 was my biggest year of collaboration but I have big plans for 2017 when it comes to collaborating with brands. I love sharing my favorite things with you all!
  • Grow my following: A no-brainer, but still, a solid goal of mine. While I want to increase page views and blog/social media followers, I also want to boost engagement even more. I love hearing from my readers/followers!

My Word of the Year

I haven’t chosen a “word of the year” before, but this year I’m feeling inspired to. For me, this year is all about being unstoppable. We have the habit of finding excuses for why we can’t do something now, or hold off because we’re afraid of rejection. But this year, I’m not going to let anything hold me back. If there’s something I set my sights on, I’m going to go for it! I stumbled across this quote and love it – it really sums things up nicely.

Did you pick a word for the year? I’d love to hear it!

Also, get ready! TONS of travel posts from my trip to Scandinavia are coming, starting later this week!



  1. January 3, 2017 / 12:40 PM

    While I don’t plan on writing a blog post for my personal goals, we do share the same aims for this year, and I mean exactly the same things! May you start doing what you had planned for the year, and let no one stop you from doing so! Happy New Year, Rachel! :)

    • January 22, 2017 / 12:03 PM

      That’s awesome! Great minds think alike :)

    • January 22, 2017 / 12:03 PM

      Thanks, Betsy! Let’s make this year the best yet!

  2. jenny
    January 3, 2017 / 12:56 PM

    I love your word of the year….Unstoppable….great word!!! I wish you all the best on your personal goals in the new year!

    • January 22, 2017 / 9:54 PM

      Thanks, Jenny! I hope it’s a great year for you to tackle your goals too!

  3. January 3, 2017 / 1:26 PM

    I have a whole list of goals for 2017 but didn’t even think about having blog specific goals.. I love that! Thank you so much for the motivation to do that myself! :)

    • January 24, 2017 / 8:02 AM

      Yay, so glad to hear it! Best of luck with your goals this year, Miranda!

  4. Ashley Solberg
    January 3, 2017 / 2:54 PM

    I love that you did your personal goals and blog goals! So so great with amazing ideas!

    • January 24, 2017 / 8:02 AM

      Thanks, Ashley! Time seems to be going so fast these days I think it helps to have some goals in mind!

  5. January 3, 2017 / 3:08 PM

    I have a lot of the same goals!! I have a newsletter set up so now I just need to use it! Haha I am so excited! We got this girl! Happy 2017!

    • January 24, 2017 / 8:02 AM

      Woo! Great minds think alike :) We totally got this! 2017 is going to be the best!

  6. Leslie Nichole
    January 3, 2017 / 4:56 PM

    Your so organized i am jealous! I want to read more this year too i only got through 8 books in 2016. I quit my day job to become a freelance writer on December 31st. So i plan to get yhat rolling. Good luck with your goals!

    • January 24, 2017 / 8:03 AM

      Congrats on your big job change – so exciting! 8 books is more than me, haha. It was a tough year with reading BUT with grad school classes at the same time I did have a lot of textbook reading. Not as fun though :)

  7. Emily Bendler
    January 3, 2017 / 5:42 PM

    I love all of these goals. Reading more is on my list as well as starting a newsletter

    • January 24, 2017 / 8:04 AM

      Thanks, Emily! Any specific books on your radar to read this year?

  8. January 3, 2017 / 6:29 PM

    Can’t wait to see the trip recaps soon!! I’ve been watching for them! ;) I’ve been trying to figure out what my new countries to visit are going to be… so many choices. :) I’m with you on the decluttering!! ;)

    • January 24, 2017 / 9:22 PM

      So glad you enjoy them – I have quite a few in the queue! I’m totally with you on the struggle of deciding where to go. Not a bad problem to have! Where are you thinking so far?

  9. January 3, 2017 / 8:41 PM

    Can’t wait to see how your goals and plans unfold in 2027, Rachel! Good luck with all the goals you have planned!

    • January 24, 2017 / 9:23 PM

      Thanks, Kiara! I hope you have the best year with your goals as well!

  10. January 3, 2017 / 9:22 PM

    I love that you broke your goals out into personal and blogging! I really should do the same!

    • January 24, 2017 / 9:23 PM

      Thanks, girl! It definitely helps me keep things straight :)

  11. January 4, 2017 / 1:28 AM

    Great list of goals – I have some similar ones! Love the quote too. Excited to follow along with your adventures this year. Happy 2017!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:47 PM

      Thanks, Marlynn! Cheers to a fantastic year ahead!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:48 PM

      Thanks, Sharon! LOVE your goals for the year! I’m totally on board with them too!

  12. January 4, 2017 / 7:51 AM

    Great goals for this year!!! I too need to declutter a lot!!! I plan on doing that again soon. It’s been a slow but great process for me. I love traveling!! So I hope you are able to accomplish your travel goals! I also can’t wait to hear about your future trips. I love your word of the year!!! Good luck with your goals this year Rachel!!!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:49 PM

      Thanks, Mistle! Decluttering has been super slow for me too (mostly because no time these past few months) but I can’t wait to tackle it more! Are you planning on any travels this year?

      • January 26, 2017 / 4:12 PM

        I am planning on traveling this year. So far I only have a cruise that is out of Puerto Rico. Not sure about my other travel plans just yet.

  13. Kathleen Brown
    January 4, 2017 / 9:13 AM

    Love the idea of setting a goal word. UNSTOPPABLE sounds really awesome for the new year. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have instore for 2017

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:49 PM

      Thanks, Kathleen! Having that word there just gives me even more of a boost to feel confident about the year. I love it!

  14. Meghan
    January 4, 2017 / 9:40 AM

    You’re right — the new year just feels new, even though it’s technically just another day. But it’s a great excuse for a fresh start! I’m with you on the meal planning thing. I’d love to get more disciplined and organized about that. Seems like it’ll make life so much easier!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:50 PM

      For sure, Megan! It’ll definitely save us a lot of money from getting takeout so often too!

  15. Sarah Jean
    January 4, 2017 / 9:55 AM

    I’m refining my blog categories as well! I keep changing them. Hopefully we both settle on just the right ones. Good luck with the rest of your goals!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:50 PM

      Love it! What categories are you leaning toward?

  16. Abbey Phipps
    January 4, 2017 / 9:58 AM

    Unstoppable is an AWESOME word of the year! That’s so great! :) Oh, and meal planning saves my sanity most months. Haha

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:50 PM

      Thanks, Abbey! Any recipe suggestions for meal planning?!

      • Abbey Phipps
        January 26, 2017 / 11:07 AM

        We like tacos, any kind of pasta dish, and rice bowls! Those are good go-tos!

  17. January 4, 2017 / 10:21 AM

    I love your word for the year! What a great way to set yourself up for success in 2017! I also love that quote and image that you shared. I’m going to print it and put it on the wall by my desk where I have my word for the year. It’s so motivating and inspiring!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:51 PM

      Thanks, Crystal! SO glad to hear you’re loving the quote too. Love the idea of hanging it somewhere. It really does help give you that extra boost!

  18. Jessica Bradshaw
    January 4, 2017 / 10:34 AM

    London is one of my dream trips!! I can’t wait to read about it. I love the decluttering goal!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:52 PM

      Love to hear that! I hope you can get there soon – it’s amazing! And ugh, decluttering! I’m hoping I have it in me to toss a lot more this year!

  19. January 4, 2017 / 11:46 AM

    I have been to NYC and London – both fabulous places! I love that you picked a word of the year. I am going to have to come up with one also.

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:52 PM

      They really are, Willow! Did you decide on your word of the year?

  20. January 4, 2017 / 1:00 PM

    I love your word for 2017! I originally thought I would go with declutter [physical and mental], but the more I think about it, I think I want to go with hustle! I have a lot of goals this year that I want to accomplish, so this seems better fitting. Because you mentioned you want to declutter this year, If you like declutter challenges, I am hosting one on my blog that just started today. Would love for you to join me! http://www.awelderswife.com Have a fabulous new year!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:53 PM

      Thanks, Erin! I love the word you picked for the year too! Decluttering can just be part of the hustle ;)

  21. Sunshine Momma
    January 4, 2017 / 2:15 PM

    I love your word of the year. Mine would have to be consistency or maybe persistence!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:55 PM

      Thank you! I like both of those word picks – why not go with both?!

  22. Cynthia Reyes
    January 4, 2017 / 2:53 PM

    Love the idea of having a word for the year! I need to come up with one for myself!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:58 PM

      This is my first year picking one and I love it! Did you decide on a word yet?

  23. January 4, 2017 / 4:00 PM

    Great goals for 2017! Decluttering is one of mine as well..so tough, but so worth it!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:58 PM

      Thanks, Jackie! I totally agree. I have a tough time parting with things I haven’t even looked at in ages sometimes so I’m hoping it’ll be easier this year!

  24. Jamie Dalton
    January 4, 2017 / 6:23 PM

    Eating out is totally my downfall as well!!! My budget gets slashed by this so often. We’ve got this!

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:59 PM

      Yes, definitely! Willpower, Jamie!!

  25. Ali Rost
    January 4, 2017 / 9:07 PM

    These are such great goals. I can’t think of a better word for heading into the new year. Here’s to an unstoppable you! :)

    • January 25, 2017 / 8:59 PM

      Thanks, Ali! Cheers to a fab 2017!

  26. January 4, 2017 / 9:36 PM

    I love reading about other blogger’s goals for the year ahead. I didn’t pick a word this year, but I do love your choice! I hope 2017 is incredible for you and that you are indeed unstoppable. :)
    erin | sandsunandmessybuns.com

    • January 25, 2017 / 9:00 PM

      Thanks, Erin! This is the first year I picked a word and even though it’s still early in the year, it feels like the best added boost to start the year with a bang!

  27. January 4, 2017 / 9:58 PM

    Love your word of the year and it ties in perfectly with all your goals! Best of luck with 2017!

  28. January 4, 2017 / 10:19 PM

    Loved this! We share a lot of the same goals. I definitely need to meal plan and traveling is high up on my list as well :-)


    • January 25, 2017 / 9:00 PM

      Great minds think alike :) Any specific places on your travel list for the year?

  29. January 5, 2017 / 9:08 AM

    I am definitely on board with the newsletter goal! I am actually launching mine tomorrow, along with an opt-in freebie. I am excited and nervous!

    • January 25, 2017 / 9:01 PM

      Hooray! I hope the newsletter’s going well, Kristin! It is such an exciting thing to get started!

      • January 26, 2017 / 5:48 AM

        Thank you, Rachel! It is!

  30. Run DMT
    January 5, 2017 / 1:45 PM

    I love your word. You got THIS! May you make 2017 your year to SHINE!

    • January 25, 2017 / 9:01 PM

      Thanks, Denise! I have a feeling this is going to be the best year yet!

  31. January 5, 2017 / 2:27 PM

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up really was life changing for me! My apartment is a place I love now<3 I've wrote out a whole blog post about it at the beginning of December but I have yet to post it because I need to take photos and December was a crazy month (as you know)! Thankfully, everything looks the same as when I first cleaned it out so I won't even have to change anything to take the photos! I'm so happy with my major clean out but I honestly want to dive in even more and pair down the things I have left. I can't wait to hear about your experience with it as well! And YAY! When are you coming to NYC? And I love your word of the year!

    • January 25, 2017 / 9:04 PM

      Yay! I’m so glad to hear that! I’ve tossed a few things but nothing significant yet – still a long way to go! I’ll be in NYC in April – it’ll be a short trip, but so excited to finally see Hamilton! Definitely planning on a quick stop on the Island to brunch with whoever’s around! I’ll send you details soon!

  32. January 7, 2017 / 2:42 PM

    Here’s to reading more in 2017! I also am working on decluttering more. I hope you have a great year!

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

    • January 25, 2017 / 9:02 PM

      YES! Both are high up on my list. Let’s make this year the best yet!

  33. January 7, 2017 / 7:42 PM

    It sounds like you have great goals and ideas for 2017! I wish you the best!

  34. Cami Valenzuela
    January 13, 2017 / 1:37 PM

    Sounds like you have some great goals for 2017. Some we share. You got this. Hope 2017bis the best year yet:)

    • January 25, 2017 / 9:01 PM

      Thanks, Cami! Couldn’t agree more with you! Let’s make this our year!