Defining Our Year Ahead

We’re already six days into the new year, and by this point, the resolutions may already be out the window.  I certainly hope though you’re as enthusiastic as me about the year ahead of weekly creative exercises for both of us that I’m calling Kuhnspirations.

On Monday, I introduced the first activity – come up with five words to describe your year ahead with no rules and only some guidelines – why you picked them and what they mean to you.  Have you taken a few minutes to map our your year ahead with words? I’d love to read about it, and I’m sure others would, too. Feel free to share your own entry here in the comments!

As promised, I took this exercise to heart, too. I’m not a big fan of resolutions, but I do believe in painting your vision yet I’ve only done this before with a vision board. But there’s a first time for everything and perhaps if we build it, they will come. (Wait, where have I heard that before?)

So what words would I choose for the year ahead?




This is not a word I usually like. In fact, it’s not even a board game I enjoy. But I’ve been taking the safe road for far too long, and this is definitely the year when I need to make my move and take a leap in directions that I feel I must go.  2012 is going to be the year that I finally surrender to my instincts. I have a separate list written down of what I want to accomplish by the end of the year, and I know what I need to do to get there. 



For about three years, I’ve been on a murky, jerky path to find this magical place I’d always read about but in a personal epiphany of sorts, I’ve discovered that inspiration is all around us – she’s everywhere, all the time. It’s our job to allow ourselves to notice her, and this year, I’m going to make it my mission to give her the much-needed backrubs, hot cocoas and attention she deserves. Maybe if I play my Ipod Shuffle really loudly, I can shut out any other voices trying to distract me from listening to her.



By this word, I mean so much more than talking about, planning and tracking my food. It’s about fuel and energy, both in my body and on my brain.  I couldn’t expect my car to run on water or lemonade. I’m actually quite appreciative of this achy, crackling body and sometimes sleep-deprived mind and eyes that have gotten me this far. They’ve managed to get a lot done with so little help sometimes. So it’s time to put real value to everything I consume. Not just the meals I eat but what I read, what I watch, where I devote my heart and my schedule. It’s time to stop looking at it as merely a means to an end or going through the motions, and instead as a core part of the journey. And I know it will take patience with myself because like all good 21st century consumers out there, I want what I want and I want it now, but this year, I’m so ready to sprint down a path of feeling better – in mind, body and spirit.



I have tried to be an honest and good person – as a kid growing up following all of the rules, and as an adult learning how to be a team player following all of the rules. As we get older, we figure out ways to bend the rules or bypass them altogether. We may even learn how to carve those rules into something that will benefit us and sometimes at the expense of others and this can result in us being less honest with ourselves and others as would probably be healthiest for everybody. Since shedding my traditional job, I’ve shed some of my inhibitions, too, and care less now about what others think. Getting older helps us peel off these false layers, too. I look to embrace this candor in the new year even more, and not push it away. That is after all how we grow wiser, and every year, one of my resolutions is to be smarter on December 31 than I was on January 1.



There’s really not much that needs to be said here. I’ve wanted to be a published author since I can remember. Over time, I have  managed to get by-lines through articles and essays, but I can’t insert this word “author” into my job description just yet. That changes—this year.


So how about you? What words would you choose to define your year to come and what will they mean for your future? Let your creativity do the talking.

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!




    I need to embrace the changes of 2012. Change is needed in life in order to grow beyond that which is one’s comfort zone. My comfort zone has faded away in the last 4 years. This saddens me and I need to decide how to fix it.


    Love has alluded me in the last several years. Not the love of my family and friends, but the more one on one, personal kind. It’s not that you can’t be happy without a personal relationship, but something seems lacking at least for me. Someone to have dinner with, go on adventures, and to just laugh together. My girlfriends are laughing at me because you see I still believe in the fairy tale ending. Maybe it’s time to confront whatever is holding me back.


    I would love to rediscover that person within me who seems to have gotten lost along her life’s journey. All work and almost no play placed her in a cage of her own making. It is time to break free.


    There are numerous opportunities out in the world. It is learning which are truly opportunities and which are just detours. I want to detour less, and move forward more.


    Simplifying one’s life. Hmmnnn sounds easy, but not so. Technology, social networks, constant communication, everything pulling you in various directions – there’s just no time you say. One needs to schedule time to step back away from all the stress and find the little things which make you feel happier from inside. I need to learn to take my own advice.

    • Chris Kuhn

      These are great, Patty! Such thought invested behind each one. And isn’t EMBRACE the perfect word? You can’t say embrace without seeing it or feeling it, you know? I almost had that on my list, too. We should all embrace more – whether it’s change, love, life, instinct, knowledge or whatever else presents itself to us. Kudos for finding your five words for the year ahead. Remind yourself every day of each one as you set out for your daily adventures, and I will do the same for mine! Thanks for sharing… CK

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