Reaching for the Stars: 2017 Recap & 2018 Resolutions


"reach for the stars."
One of my favorite methods to remain organized and relax is maintaining my agenda. I adore lists, and writing things down ensures I remember and accomplish them. No matter how small the task, recognizing that I have completed something and reviewing my progress reaffirms my efforts and inspires me to tackle that essay, run those miles, mind map that test, plan that meeting.

Like my weekly agenda spreads, the new year offers an opportunity to reflect and look to the future. Setting goals while appreciating the change, work, and guidance I've encountered allows me to keep striving. Here are my memories of 2017 and the stars I hope to reach in 2018.

2017 recap

i. finished my sophomore year of high school, and began my junior year. 
Completing and starting school years might seem mundane, but my second and third years of high school have each hosted unique experiences and markers in my personal growth. My sophomore year encapsulated my two favorite classes, English and human geography, and trying new things. Junior year, so far, has involved classes that continue to make me think, solidifying my friendships, discovering my interests, lots of mind-mapping, and of course, lots of extracurriculars. In both years, I have challenged myself, and learned to love learning again.

ii. created.
Academic essays. Blog posts. Mind maps. Personal narratives. Videos, lots and lots of videos. Quick jots in the margins of notes and agenda headers and on index cards. Pictures and wall displays. 

iii. used sparklers for the first time.
While filming a summer video project with friends, I finally held these miniature fireworks. Seeing the sparks fly that night invigorated something in me. 

iv. walked in a parade with my local library.

v. started running again, even if slow.
Throughout moving and change, running has always been my anchor. Until, suddenly, it wasn't.
My sophomore year, I encountered a relentless mental block after tearing my hamstring during track season. For a long time, I couldn't walk. The tiniest steps became excruciating, and even after several months provided my physical recovery, I couldn't stop comparing myself to my previous times and ability. I still struggle, sometimes, but to start this year I wanted to acknowledge that I ran again, however slow, to remind myself why I loved running so and to keep persisting. 

vii. explored through extracurriculars.
In 2017, I delved into Model UN, attending my first two conferences and a wonderful summer camp. I coordinated volunteers, designed graphics, created origami cactus flowers, and a lot of other assorted tasks for my school's musical production team. I competed with my best friend in a public forum debate competition for the first time. I wrote for MissHeard Media and Best Delegate. Chorus reminded me of my love of music in times light and dark. 

viii. got a domain name for clairefy!

2018 resolutions

i. read 100 books.
This is something I have aimed to do every year since I started high school! When I was much younger, I was a voracious reader, clearing 200-400 books a year. Now, I pleasure read a lot less, often blaming schoolwork for this change, but I want to make more time to read this year. Reading is a gateway to new words, new lessons, new adventures, and new worlds I want to be a part of again.

ii. on that note, log completed reads.
Although I admittedly read little last year, I was awful about recording the few books I did read. After January I abandoned my Goodreads account, the platform I was using to track my progress for the year, so I ended with the six books I logged, even though I read more (maybe not many more, but more).

iii. like the sparklers, try something new and exciting.

iv. stay active on clairefy.
I love this blog. It displays my growth since I started writing online at the end of eighth grade. Still, I fall in and out of repetitive hiatuses, celebrating a return just to disappear. I hope this will be the year I remain consistent (and the new domain name serves as an exciting motivator)! I plan to accomplish this through yes, a lot of scheduling, but also writing about what I am interested in and enjoy.

v. take more time for me.

vi. but also conquer grades and the SAT.

vii. keep creating.
The best way to improve writing is to write, a lot. I want to keep writing, taking pictures, creating elaborate wall collages, organizing agendas, adoring multi-colored pens, making videos I fondly edit for hours, and scribbling tiny notes on index cards.

viii. hanon it up.
I started playing piano at a young age, but as I have grown older, I play less (and, I again, blame schoolwork often). Piano is my paradox: it is there, always, to comfort me when I am stressed, to captivate me with clear notes that ring above bright staccato or conflicted dissonance, but it is also absent, hesitant from my now unpracticed fingers, my left hand especially. Over winter break, I returned to playing some warm-up exercises from my Hanon book, and recognized that I have room to grow, but these exercises that burn my forearms and stretch my fingers help me make the music I miss. The Hanon book instructs players to repeat the exercises in an unbroken chain when mastered to "achieve perfect evenness of the fingers". This year, I am going to achieve perfect evenness of the fingers.

viiii. stay in touch with friends old and new.

x. run happy.
I used to collect all my race bibs and write little messages about my race highlights on them. I stopped after I tore my hamstring last year. I want to start collecting my bibs again, and more importantly, taking pride in what I have done and enjoying what I run. A quote from my resolutions list last year, that encompasses my aims for this year:
I want to rediscover the love of running I found in my first cross country season-- bold, fearless, covered in mud and sweat and tears and satisfied.

xi. stay kind. stay thoughtful. stay curious. stay imaginative. stay driven.

what goals do you have for the new year?


  1. These are amazing goals! Good luck with accomplishing them!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I love those photos on your wall! Sooo pretty! Congrats on running again and for sure you will conquer the SAT.

  3. Good luck on everything in 2018, Claire! 100 books is such a great accomplishment, most people barely clear 20 books so I definitely think your love for reading is something to be proud of!

    1. Thanks Emily! I'm hoping to reach 100 this year.

  4. WOW, I am amazed at how organized you are and how much you accomplished this year! And only a junior in high school. I'm seriously impressed. Good luck with everything in 2018!

    1. Thanks Susan! A belated happy new year to you!

  5. If only I could be this organized! I love lists and I think have a million sticky notes, lol. I love writing things down so I don't forget, but you're right... being able to mark things off gives me a sense of accomplishment. It also helps me to remember everything.

    I've never made book lists, though. I'm a mood reader, so I grab things in the moment. I'm glad this works for you!

    Running has never been enjoyable for me, haha. It feels like Death. 😉

    Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Aww haha I understand that. I agree, running can be rough.

      Yes! There's something in making lists that is just so calming. I've really fallen in love with it over my high school career.

  6. Your blog is adorable! I love your blue-ish theme and I love how it translates to your Instagram!

    I can't do paper lists but I do have a digital list just for tracking books....

    Good luck on your goal of 100 books!! Don't stress out too much, though because when I was in high school, I wasn't able to read as much especially when I was in college. Good luck!

    1. Thank you! I'm hoping that in college maybe I'll have time to read more, right now especially with spring coming is extremely busy in high school! And yay for digital lists, whatever works for you!

  7. Keep creating is a great one, that’s on my list every year. Also, congrats on such an awesome 2017! Disney and sparklers and everything else sounded spectacular. Sorry about the injuring, I know how hard that is, I injured myself in dance before and had to go to physical therapy for it. But hey, I bet you still run MUCH faster than my asthmatic self. Also, junior year was my favorite. It was rough and difficult, but I had a great set of friends and made a lot of good memories, so I hope yours is going just as well. And hey, colleges don’t consider SAT scores as heavily as they used to, so don’t worry yourself too badly about it! I’m sure you’ll ace them. Happy New Year, Claire!

    1. Thanks Erin! Happy New Year to you, too (even if this is extremely late, haha). The SAT is coming up soon, so we'll see how it goes :) Junior year is challenging, but, like you said, I'm finding myself enjoying it a lot too.

  8. Looks like you had a great 2017!! Such great goals/resolutions. Goos luck with them!!

  9. I don't understand how you're so young, yet so talented! XD

  10. This are amazing goals for the year! Scheduling is the best way to be consistent. When I first started, I didn't have a schedule and I felt overwhelmed with posting and never being consistent. Then I started planning, and now I'm able to consistently post throughout the week. Good luck with your classes and taking the SAT! Junior year is a really fun year in school! Good luck! :)

    1. Thank you! I schedule a lot for classes and homework assignments, but not much for blog posts. I think summer will give me the time to really hone in on that.

  11. Claire - I have to apologise! I have been on and off blogging for approximately the past two months and I am still getting to visiting back blogs that visited me in that time! So... I'm here! I'm late! But I'm here!

    I'm impressed with how neat and gorgeous your journal looks! I have two very empty BuJos here but I'm scared of messing them up.. :)

    It looks like you had an amazing year last year and I wish you the very best of luck for 2018 and all your goals. Your last goal sounds like one we should all aspire to. ;)

    1. Thank you for the comment, Di! Happy new year, (don't worry, I'm very late too, haha).

  12. I just discovered your blog and oh my goodness I'm in LOVE with your aesthetic 😍 Everything is so pretty!
    Sounds like 2017 was a busy year - you did so many amazing things! That's something to be proud of :) You've set some great goals for 2018, I hope you accomplish them but don't stress yourself out too much about them! It's okay if by 2019 you look back and haven't accomplished all of them

    1. Thanks Michelle, I appreciate that! I hope to do as much as I can next year, but whatever I can't I will continue to work towards in the future :)

  13. I love your blog's clean and minimal look. And I adore these creative photographs as well. All the very best for your goals.

    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

    P.S. I found you through the Commenting 365 Challenge. Glad to meet you