2016: A Year In Review

If 2016 could be summed up in one saying, it’d be: It’s not what happens that counts… it’s how you react. 2016 was the year of reactions. All in all, I think 2016 was one of the best years of my life. I learned a lot about myself and other people, and I’m proud to say that I feel that I am a better person now than I was just 12 months ago. Life is about growth, life is about knowledge, and life is about developing who you are as a person. If I’ve grown, learned a lot, and found a little bit more of myself, I’d say it’s been a successful year.

Today’s post is a look back at 2016 – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and setting goals for the next 12 months. Okay so I’m totally stealing the layout of this 2017 resolutions post from Jessica Slaughter and Sarah Hubbard because the organization is perfect. I love these reflection and goal setting posts, so let’s just jump right in.

What happened in 2016?

Looking back at this time last year, life was rough. I was just starting my second semester at my dream school, but I didn’t feel the excitement of being at my dream school. I didn’t have many friends because I refused to become a part of the party culture that consumes freshman. I didn’t connect with really anyone on my floor, my roommate and I didn’t speak to each other, and I felt totally alone. That excitement that comes with moving out and heading to college for the first time was gone.

I’d become depressed, I ate away my feelings, and I was just so ready to leave. Transferring back to the University of Tennessee was looking more and more like an option. But, I stayed at USC because I had a job lined up for the next year. Little did I know how much that job would change my life.

Finals came and went, I packed up my stuff, and I moved back home to Knoxville for the summer. When I returned home, I was still depressed, I was confused with what I wanted to do with my life, and I was generally unhappy. The blog was doing well, and I had an internship lined up for the summer, but I still just wasn’t happy.

I’ve openly spoke about my problems with body image and body positivity on the blog several times, and May of 2016 was my lowest point when it came to my views on my body. I gained 15 pounds my freshman year, and I needed a change. My dad saw that in me, and I’m so thankful for what he did. I still remember the night when my life was changed forever. We were sitting outside on our front porch one night in May probably eating watermelon or something. My dad looked at me and said, “I’m going to get you a personal trainer for the summer. It’s going to benefit you in ways you wouldn’t believe. I want you to be comfortable in the gym and do more than just cardio.” Of course I didn’t want a trainer. I didn’t want to have to actually do something to lose the weight. I just wanted it magically to melt off, but I listened to my dad.

Over the summer I trained 3 days a week at 6AM, and watched my mentality change from “I hate my body. Why can’t I have a flat stomach. I wish this would just go away.” to seeing my muscles develop, my face slim down, and fitting comfortably into my clothes again.

I returned back to USC in August, and fall semester can be summed up in one word: exceptional. I started my job as an RM (think RA), I made life-long friends, I have amazing residents, and I have so many positive memories. Because it would take a novel to explain how epic fall semester was, I’m just going to sum up some highlights:

  • Soccer games and Chick-fil-a
  • USC beat Tennessee in football
  • Traveled to Houston for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing
  • Finally met up with Cathleen from Classy Cathleen
  • Found a new photographer for my blog (shoutout to Rebecca)

Now it’s winter break and I’m sitting in the Denver airport writing this post. Looking back at 2016, I’d say it was a very successful year. I learned that I should probably trust my friends’ opinions when it comes to guys, it’s okay to not have a 4.0, and people’s true personalities are surprising. If 2017’s going to be anything like 2016, it’s going to be epic.

What about those resolutions?

Looking back at 2016’s resolutions, I can proudly say that I’ve accomplished a good 95% of what I set out to do. While 2016 was one for the books on a global scale, it was also one for my personal books. In 2016 I learned a lot about myself – mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and so much more.


  • Run 5 miles – ha yeah no this will never happen
  • Get more involved on campus – ACCOMPLISHED
  • Be healthier (eat better, drink more water, go to gym) – ACCOMPLISHED


  • Become self-hosted – ACCOMPLISHED
  • 2 quality posts a week – ACCOMPLISHED
  • 5,000 pageviews a month – ACCOMPLISHED
  • Understand and better utilize Twitter – ACCOMPLISHED

Things I Want to Do in 2017:

  • Maintain a weekly gym split and develop macros that will help me achieve my fitness goals
  • Work on having a more positive outlook on life
  • Travel, travel, travel (Jessica Slaughter, I will meet you in 2017)
  • Monetize the blog in a way for it to provide a part-time income (college, groceries, and those weekly Target trips are expensive, y’all)
  • Create a stronger connection with readers on Twitter and Instagram
  • Develop all aspects of the Blogger Roundtable
  • Start selling some of my hand lettering pieces?? Yes, no, maybe so?

Twenty Seventeen, I cannot wait to see what you have in store. If you’re a fellow blogger, or even if you’re just a reader, I ask you to look back on 2016 and focus on how you’ve grown and what positive moments occurred in your life.

~abigail gray

  • Awh, it makes me happy to hear how well you’re doing! I could tell all throughout your posts this semester that you’re really enjoying college. Can’t wait to see what you accomplish in 2017!

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss

  • Okay yes we have to meet this year! Whether at GHC or some blogger meetup! Also your workout story is so inspiring, I just went on a mini Old Navy workout gear spree because I really want to start a gym routine this semester.

    • Yes, gym routines are a must!! If you ever want to chat about fitness or anything, text me! I’m always down to talk fitness, haha

  • Ariana

    I’ve always thought getting a personal trainer would be scary (heck even going to the gym is intimidating) but I’m so happy to hear how well you are doing! I wish you so many great things this year!!

    • Awww thank you! I think the most important thing to remember is a personal trainer, or anyone at the gym for that matter, is not there to judge you or look down on you. Everyone is there to make themselves a better version of who they are! And, if someone is there to look down on you, that’s some insecurities on their part.

  • This is probably my favorite 2016 recap I’ve read! So inspiring and relatable because I felt the same way and had the same mentality change between spring 2016 semester and fall 2016 semester!

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to know you this past year, and here’s to 2017!