Refine - 2017 Word of the Year Expectations

It all started back in November, when I got Meningitis and was hospitalized. After a couple of days, Carl and I took one of those iconic movie scene walks down the hall - hospital gown and IV rack in tow. We started talking about our year and what we wanted for the next. We brought up a few words and ideas that we thought might be good as a focus - ‘Little’ being one of them.

My thought behind ‘Little’ was that, in 2016 - and for a lot of my life, honestly - I had tried too many BIG things. We had made BIG changes, BIG commitments, BIG dreams, BIG goals and it all seemed like such a mess. I no longer wanted to make BIG changes, but rather get more acquainted with the decisions and lifestyle changes we had made already by making little changes along the way. I wanted to get into the minutia - the nitty gritty - and work on the same things, just at a deeper level.

Something about ‘Little’ didn’t sit well with Carl, and since we agreed we would have the same word this year, as a family - so we could keep each other accountable and on track - we tabled the conversation until closer to the end of the year.

By mid-December, we had settled on that feeling we were after that ‘Little’ just didn’t quite fit and chose REFINE. To begin our discussion on how ‘Refine’ would come into play in 2017, we looked up the definition. [Shocking - If you don't already know, words play a HUGE role in my design process. I love reading definitions and getting in tune with the true meaning of a word!]

Refine -- 2017 Word of the Year Expectations -- The Classy Hippie

Refine // 

remove impurities or unwanted elements from [synonyms: purify, process, treat]

improve by making small changes, in particular make more accurate [synonyms: improve, perfect, hone, fine-tune]

When we first decided on ‘Refine’ we chose it based off of the second definition, but as we continued to talk we noticed something. Refine, by very definition, was both additive and subtractive.

We were all on board for the additive definition - we went on and on talking about the changes we wanted to make, the improvements we were seeking - the things we wanted to add. But as the conversation continued, we weren’t acknowledging the first definition and addressing ‘Refine’ as an act of removing impurities in our lives. We came up with a few things in regards to our health and our spirituality, but after that, we were pretty stuck. 

I know that I have anxieties, doubts and insecurities but I don’t necessarily always know how to remove them. I know I need to trust in God more, but other than just deciding on doing that, I’m not sure of the actions that go along with that. I am equal parts creative and Type A. If I don’t just happen to be in the flow, I have no idea how to get there. My left brain kicks in and I start overthinking and strategizing in my head on how to gear up my right brain and just let go - I know, counterproductive… 

I can’t really say anything else on that topic as of now, only that I hope to grow in this area and hope to become more accepting of myself when I'm in those times of unbalance. 

After going through Michael Hyatt’s 7 Steps for Taking Control of 2017 webinar and doing that process together, we’re both clear on the improvements we want to make and how we want to ‘Refine’ our lives, but we’re not so clear on what we’ll remove or how we might become purified through the process. We’re open and expectant for God to teach us and guide us through this year.

Here’s a few of the areas I hope to refine this year…


  • Refine the messaging // story of the brand to find, build and connect with my tribe

  • Refine TCH business systems [processes & tasks]


  • Refine // create an evening, after-work schedule to free up weekends

  • Refine chores // cleaning

  • Refine admin systems [go digital]

  • Refine possessions


  • Refine diet // meal planning

  • Refine finances // budget

And here are my official top goals of 2017…

  • Post at least three times a week on The Classy Hippie blog. [Color Story, Rabbit Trails & a written post on design // business, simplifying or travel.]

  • Book 10 Branding Clients within the year.

  • Go on at least one trip per quarter. [We’ve got quarter 4 covered with our EUROPE trip and quarter 2 with our Dallas trip, annnnddd I started talks with some CreativeMornings friends who moved to Nashville and have an air mattress, sooooo we’ll see.]

  • Have our diet // meal planning system in place by March 1st.

  • Prep for the week ahead every Sunday.

  • Read my Bible // Devotional every morning.

  • Pay 20% of our income towards debt. [Down from previous years to allow for some travel.]

  • Wake up at 6 AM during the week.

  • Establish a weekday schedule by February 1st.

That may seem like a lot, but we’ve worked hard to strategize, set goals, make plans and create bite-sized next steps in order to carry these things out. Plus, we’re only focusing on 2-3 per quarter. 

January is ALL about establishing a weekday schedule, fortunately, many of my goals play into that [waking up at 6 AM, reading my Bible every day, blogging three times a week…] We’re only one week in so far, but by not allowing ourselves any free time during the week [one of those ‘next steps’ I mentioned above] we’ve already made great strides.

I’ve never enjoyed a January as much as I’m enjoying this one so far and I believe it is in large part to creating a plan of action and from understanding my 'Why.' I’m looking forward to the year ahead and to seeing how REFINE plays out for 2017.

Want to get started on discovering your 'Why'? Grab my free worksheet below!

So, what about you? Do you pick a word to focus on for your year? I'd love to hear what you chose and how you intend to make it a focus for 2017! Share below in the comments.

Love & Blessings,


P.S. Check out my other Word of the Year Posts for 2016 & 2015, as well as my first Year in Review Post for 2016