Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table

Choosing My Word for the New Year

It’s a new year, a new journey and a newer version of me has the opportunity to emerge. I feel excited to know this new year awaits with endless possibilities.

My Word for the Year. Winter in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon

Like many people, I used to begin the new year with one or more new year’s resolutions. I worked hard to keep these resolutions alive. Until eventually, something would happen. Life would throw me a curve ball and my resolutions would be swept to the side while I tackled whatever life had thrown my way.

Every time I tried, but failed, to keep my new year’s resolutions, I’d feel terrible about myself. I like to think I’m a fairly disciplined person, but I’m also a realistic person. And in reality, new years resolutions didn’t work for me. I realized there had to be a better way to start the new year.

It turns out there is a better way to start the new year, for me anyway. After several new year’s resolution debacles, I read about choosing a word for the year, rather than making a new year’s resolution. I remember thinking what a brilliant idea it is to choose a word for the year. A word to rely on, to think of, to aspire to and to get me through the entire year without feeling like a total screwup for not sticking to my new year’s resolution.

I felt exhilarated the first time I decided to choose a word for the new year. I launched myself into hours of researching a long list of words and asking myself a multitude of questions. How does the word apply to me and my life, and is it the right word for where I currently reside in my life?

Then it happened. I stumbled onto my first word for the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. Simplicity.

This one word gave me a huge amount of peace during that year. A reminder to breathe, to simplify and to enjoy the little moments in life. It became a guiding force for which I referred to often. That one word was stuck in the back of my mind, always there, slowing me down, making sure I was keeping my commitment to myself. And I did. Learning to simplify was one of the best lessons of my life.

I had so much success with my first word for the year, I decided to continue the tradition. Since then, I’ve chosen words like mindfulness, present, listen, connect and courage.

My Word for the Year. Winter at Starfish Cove on the coast of Oregon

Courage is the word I chose in 2018. It’s the word that I referred to every time I felt “less than”. I love Brené Brown’s definition of courage, “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. Over time, this definition has changed but the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart”. This word and the very definition of it was the driving force that helped me achieve my personal and professional goals. It was the year I finally accepted my whole self for who I am. It was the year I finished my book proposal, the year I found a literary agent, the year I found myself at yet another crossroads in my career. But I found myself at those crossroads with my courage.

And then, I found my purpose.

Purpose was my word for 2019. It means “the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists”. At one point, I felt a little depressed knowing that I have spent half my lifetime looking for my purpose. I always knew I was a late bloomer and I used to joke about being “late to the party”.

Finding my purpose didn’t happen overnight or magically appear one evening in a dream (which I always hoped for). It took patience, time to nourish my hungry soul, various life events and experiences, and the culmination of all the words I have chosen over the years. There is now a steadiness that comes with knowing my purpose. And although there are still more roads to travel, this beautiful word keeps me focused and assured.

This new feeling of self-confidence and purpose led me to my new word for 2020 – Journey.

As I  considered another long list of words for this new year, ultimately, the word “journey” just felt right. And it’s also the name of one of my favorite bands. Isn’t that a fun twist?

This word seems to capture all that was, and all that will be. The definition of journey means to travel from one place to another; a distance, a course. Or a passage or progress from one stage to another, which is how I like to think of the word.

I adore the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom”. In other words, the old familiar quote rings true, “life is a journey, not a destination”.

It’s a new year, a new journey and a newer version of me has the opportunity to emerge. I feel excited to know that this new year awaits with endless possibilities.

To you my readers, I am filled with the deepest gratitude for your support of my work and for those of you who stop by this website, or my social media sites, on a regular basis to say hello, or comment on a recipe or post. I am so thankful to be walking this delicious life journey with you.

I want to leave you with one more of my favorite quotes for the new year. “Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties” Helen Keller.

May your new year be filled with peace and love,


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