In 2013 I said “YES!” to a lot of things.

I decided to “go back” to school via some online classes so I could get my “Plus 30”: thirty credits beyond my Master’s Degree that will get me up to the next level in our pay scale in my district. I have four more classes to go (two this semester and two this summer) until I am done.

I said “yes” to going back to my adjunct position at the local community college. I taught two nights a week during fall semester and I loved it.

I said “yes” to freelance writing.

I say “yes” to my job of teaching every day.

I tried to say “yes” to doing more with my family and my kids–especially during the summer.

As a result of all those times I said YES gave my year some very rich joy and a sense of accomplishment.  But as with anything I do, it also resulted in some tremendous stress and anxiety.

Work and home and grading and writing and family and my time ended up all rolled into one big tangled ball of ugly from time to time. There were times when I fell asleep putting Eddie to bed only to wake up two hours later, trudge upstairs and stand looking from my computer to my pile of work to my bedroom door.

This year, instead of doing a resolution, I am choosing one word to guide me for 2014.

My word is:


Yes, in 2014 I want to “disentangle” myself from the pitfalls of saying yes.  It doesn’t mean I am not still open to possibility, it means that I want to free myself from the extraneous details and the snarls of things that don’t matter.

I want to wander the internet aimlessly less often.

I want to be able to say “no” when I really, truly just want to have a free weekend with my family.

I want to be able to leave work at work.

I want to remember that putting my own children before my students is not a bad thing; in fact it is the right thing.

I want to strip away the things that I do for no other reason than I think I should do them.

I want to rid myself of the piles of nonsense at the end of each day and find my husband–my friend–waiting for me to engage.

I want to shed the shackles that keep me saying “yes” to things out of pride that I can add more to the list of what I can do and what I have done in the hopes of impressing…who?

I want to let go of the things that I have been clinging to that are of no use to me, and may actually be harming me.

I want to unleash the grip of finding comfort in food and other unhealthful things that have woven their way around me.

I want to let myself have room to think and breathe before making commitments.

I want to do things that make me happy, even if other people know nothing about them.

I want to continue to untangle the thoughts on my mind and in my heart here and on real paper.

2014 is the year I hope to Disentangle myself from myself in order to really BE myself.

What is your word for 2014?

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I love your word and intention for the year.
    I know that going with One Word helped anchor me throughout the year, and got me closer to achieving my goals.
    I have no doubt that you too, will be able to do so, to disentangle.
    Happy New Year!

  2. My theme is not as succinct as yours, but my goal is to mean it.
    Mean it when I say I’ll slow down.
    Mean it when I say that I am sorry.
    Mean it that I have what I need.
    2013 was tumultuous and I said things to survive they were unnecessary. My goal for 2014 is to live each day meaning and doing the things that I say.
    Wishing you luck disentangling!

  3. I was often wondering how you did it all in 2013… and I’m glad that you picked such a terrific word and goal for 2014. Go you!
    My word for 2014 is experience 🙂

  4. Love this! It can be hard to say no! The part that spoke to me as a teacher mama was putting our own children first before our students. Now I have to stop and think and focus to find my one word 🙂

  5. Love this! Just shared with my family and it started a great discussion for today! 🙂

  6. A great word to choose and one that I hope will help you have a great year!!! I haven’t found a word yet but have already started thinking about it after reading another post like this one. Happy New Year!

  7. I love this so much, my friend. Happy Happy 2014 to you. So glad you are in my life. So lucky. xoxoxo

  8. Initially, I wasn’t going to do a word because usually in doing so I feel limited, like I have to focus on and remember that word all year long. I know that’s not true. But as I read this, it came to me: win. I want to win. Whatever that means in whatever situation, be it saying yes more or saying no more, to cleaning the oven to finding a new job. Whatever winning means to me at various times this year, I want it. I want to accept it but more than that, I want to allow it, not fear it, embrace it. Much like your disentangling: being realistic to what you can take on, setting goals for YOU, doing what YOU want. I guess the year will also be about shifting for me, and being present. I know we can both do it. I know it. 2014 is going to rock.

  9. OH I am a consistent yes person to, and I hate it. Having that wreck and begin down to not able to work and having our income cut to shreds while my husband is trying to get better has made no an easier word to say. Not because I don’t want to, because the guilt is still there for the NO but because we cannot afford it, and I need to focus on this house and myfamily first and foremost.

  10. I think it was one of Jon Acuff’s books where I read about this cycle: first, we have to say yes. We have to be open and accept all the possibilities. Then, we have to prune. We’ve said yes, we’ve tried, and then we can look around and decide which things are enriching us, and which things are depleting our available resources without enough return.

    (Although! If you have an opportunity to come to Abq, I hope you’ll say yes and come stay at my house! Sheesh, would we have fun? Waffles and late nights and oh, so much wonderful!)

    I haven’t decided on my word for this year yet, though I’m narrowing it down. I am still in the expansion cycle, after quite a few years of contraction. Maybe courage? I’m not sure yet.

  11. You know that our words are very similar. I really want to “disentangle” myself from the anxiety this year, which means simplifying and doing less instead of more. It means saying no. …

    Actually, it wasn’t really until I read your post while dealing with some currently overwhelming anxiety that I realized my desire to simplify really stems from wanting to find freedom from anxiety. (And I already feel like I’m failing). It’s a process though, right?

    I wish you the BEST of luck disentangling! 🙂

  12. I chose the word surrendered. I love your goals!

  13. This id the perfect word to describe what you’re trying to do. I love it. Mine (if I had one) would be embrace. I want to live more and hide less.

  14. Great word!
    I think that is one we all could try to do. I am pretty good at saying “no”. actually, my one friend said I am the best she has ever seen. LOL But I tend to go into “flurries of action”, and then be slacker for a bit. which usually means you are catching up. So I will try to be more consistent and not create so much tangle.

  15. I love your word choice and it is definitely a focus to which I can relate. It is hard to balance pushing and stretching ourselves and the tendency for the need to do it all.
    Happy New Year, Katie! I am glad to have gotten to know you better in 2013 and wish you great and happy things in 2014. 🙂

  16. I think that is a great word, and I think you can totally do it.

  17. Excellent word Katie. Sounds like it’s just the right one for you. Looking forward to 2014 with ya!

  18. Ohhhh, this is perfect for you!

  19. I think this is a fabulous word to hang onto through the year. It is specific without being confining, and descriptive without being dramatic. I think you’re going to have a great year!!

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