Rachel's Table

One-Word Resolutions

We are in the last days of 2013. I remember vividly the beginning days of 2013. For the first five, I was crumpled up in a tightly wound ball of despair in the middle of my bed. That despair turned to anger and eventually I gave up and succumbed to apathy. My motto for 2013 went something like, “Everyone can suck it.” That theme had many crude variations, just ask my husband and my friends.

I don’t need to go into the whys of this despair and anger. I think we all know that life inexplicably hands us emotions we don’t know what to do with or circumstances beyond our control, and we just short-circuit for a while.

But a sliver of caring eventually peaked through that apathy, and I began dealing with these emotions, mostly through words. By assigning words to the feelings, I made slow sense of them. The original theme of “Suck It 2013” morphed into better, more productive words, changing and developing over the course of the year.

No, I do not own a Little Mermaid doll, that would be ridiculous

No, I do not own a Little Mermaid doll. That would be ridiculous.

I posted strings of words about food, recipes, and restaurants. I sent Facebook messages to friends, filling them in on my everyday life and looking forward to their words in return. I logged thousands of text messages, communicating the mundane (“Pick up half and half please”) and the important (“The Little Mermaid was just released on Blu-Ray”). I wrote local magazine articles, honest guest posts and assigned words to heavy topics like infertility and domestic violence.

I love words. I love to say them, shorten them, invent them, and especially to write them. I can try to wax eloquent using thousands of flowery words, but I’ve noticed that most of the time, fewer words are better. Sometimes all it takes is one, single word.

To me, a one-word resolution for 2014 seems much more manageable and profound than a list of items to complete or tasks to attend to. Now I just have to pick my word, which requires some thought.

Simplify is a good, solid word and something I really want to do. But it doesn’t say enough.

Create is a word that seems like a cliché but shouldn’t be. It’s a word that sparks my interest and makes my fingers itch to create a recipe or put words on paper. But still, to create is sometimes an insular, individualized activity, and in 2014 I’d like to do more than get lost in my own projects.

Sacrifice is the word that comes to my mind most clearly. Yet, there’s something so serious, so austere about it, and I want to lighten up in 2014 (I’m sure you’d all appreciate that, too). Since I can’t quite find the right word, I’m going to use one I heard just this morning at church: difference-making. My older brother gave a talk about Matthew 25 that aligned perfectly with my thoughts on this year and the next. Making a difference does require sacrifice, which I’m apprehensively and excitedly willing to do, but I know from experience that making a difference (even a tiny one) is also life-giving and spirit-awakening.

So, 2014, let’s figure out what difference-making means together, shall we? (Oh, and, 2013, I’m sorry you got stuck with the “suck it” theme so early on, but you made up for it with the re-release of The Little Mermaid. Thanks for that.)


What do you think of New Year’s Resolutions? Do you make them, keep them, or break them? What would your One-Word Resolution be?


  1. You’re an awfully good word-stringer, from one to another. I think my one-word resolution for the year is “beer”. It’s simple, tangible, brings immense joy, can be shared. It’s a difference-maker.

  2. Well, I support any of the Single Word Resolutions you mentioned. My New Year’s Resolution is to buy you your “first” Ariel. 😉

    You’ve certainly already made a difference in my life (aw)!

    Hmm. I think my one-word resolution shall be… Adventure.

    P.S. – 2013 can TOTALLY suck it.

  3. Oh man! This post totally resonated with me in so many ways. I’m all for telling 2013 to go suck it. As for 2014? I would say it’s all about one word: New. New me, new life, new adventures. I am soooo ready for big changes in my life.

    P.S. Julia loves Ariel! Her fave princess (right after Sleeping Beauty)

    • New was one of the words I was thinking about as well, D! You really DO have some new things going on – starting with one last semester of school. Woot! That’s a new and welcome change, I’m sure.

      Miss J and I would be fast friends. I wonder if she would sing all The Little Mermaid songs with me.

  4. I loathe resolutions. They’re almost always far too ambitious and just make people even more miserable when they fail to keep them. But you may be onto something with this one word thing. Let’s just go for “better” and I’ll hope that your 2014 is.

    • I’m with you, Michelle! That’s why I don’t like to make resolutions lists; makes them feel like chores rather than opportunities to improve – which your word “better” perfectly conveys.

      Happy 2014 to you! Looking forward to more food blog genius from you!

  5. Newenglandgirl

    One word? That is a tough one. For me, I think it would have to be “fresh”. It covers so many of the things I want to accomplish…from a healthier lifestyle and eating habits to the eyes I wat to see the world thru. Done with the old…habits, ways of thinking, you name it.

    P.S. I do not own any dolls or action figures, either. My children do 😉 Playing with them is simply good parenting.

    • Yes! “Fresh” is a perfect word for you, Allie. Love that line: “eyes I want to see the world through.” We ALL need a fresh perspective every now and then.

      Love you, girl!

      PS – I also don’t own any Sebastian or Flounder stuffed animals or bath toys. THAT would be over the top ridiculous.

    • I know. I know. I stretched it there a bit with the hyphen. But I need to be THAT specific; the hyphen was the only way.

      Thanks for reading, Peg! Loved your post today too and your chubby Baby New Year, who looks adorable in that diaper and not fat at all.

  6. Very nicely written, Rachel! Great word for 2014! As for what word I would choose? Hmmmm….one word? I guess the one that immediately comes to mind is Hope. Hope 2014! I like the sound of that! Stay tuned for Hope 2014, coming your way. Hee,hee. Happy New Year to you!

    • Thank you! Ah, Hope is SUCH a good word and one I thought of using too. I really believe I found hope in these last few months of 2013, which is why I feel I have more of me to give to others. Hence the difference-making. 🙂

      I’m in for Hope 2014! Happiest of New Years to you!

  7. Those are great one-worders. I had a couple highs for 2013, but there were a couple things and people that can suck it in a big way. If have to say my one word is “others” – do more for others, meet more others, connect with others more deeply… Cheers!

  8. I am on your 2013-can-suck-it team, but HEY. At least I got a rockin kitchen out of it. Sorry to read yours was as…crappy.

    As for your one-word challenge, if the word is a verb, mine would be INNOVATE. I would like to show others that it is entire feasible to grow fresh, tasty veggies no matter what the venue (aka apartment balcony or yard or community garden), without the time suck, and with very little financial investment.

    If the word is a noun, I choose BENEVOLENCE. The world around me (in deep Texas redneck territory anyway) is completely disconnected from every other living thing, our shared environment, and how our actions affected one another. I would like to be walking billboard for sustainability, charity, and compassion toward others — ALL others, not just Homo sapiens.

    Hm. I guess I’ll be choosing two words then. One for each blog, each alter-ego.

    Cheers, Rachel. You are an inspiration to all of us. No matter what you think about this last year, you should know that you have personally touched many lives, including mine. Happiness to the New Year and all that you do!

    • Sounds like you are aspiring to do much in the new year! I love your word! Such a good one because it is layered and deep and easily applicable to so many life situations.

      I’m so honored to have inspired you even in a little way, Shannon. Such a nice comment coming from a wonderful, BENEVOLENT person. Here’s to making 2014 better for everyone! (Clinks third cup of coffee mug)

  9. Pingback: Consistent: My One Word for 2014 | Life's Adventures

    • Dang is right. Life is weird.

      I’m saying a prayer for happy, healing, healthy 2014s for both of us! Looking forward to following you as you navigate new life and culinary waters this year.

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