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3 [Simple] Questions to Ask Yourself Before the New Year


Have you ever noticed how New Year’s kind of gets a bad rap? Especially when it comes to RESOLUTIONS. New Year’s resolutions are famous for failing. Half the people (the resolutions haters) out there are just making fun of the other half who make the resolutions because they know they’ll most likely fail. Well that’s encouraging isn’t it?

Eight years, my life started on a different trajectory. And you know what it all started with? NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS. Let me take you back.

The year 2014 is coming to and end. I have an almost 2-year-old and a 7 month old. I’ve never been more unhappy with my body. I had a little difficulty with my thyroid and getting my hormones in balance. The thyroid thing was pretty minor but it was a wake up call to me. I was 27 years old and had my first real worry about something health related. I had two little kids at home. I’m too young for this! At that point I could see two paths I could take. Continue the path I was on which included NO exercise and didn’t care about what I was eating and probably end up piling on pounds and other health complications. Or I could make a change.

November 2014 | A month before I made my first New Year’s Goals

I decided to make a change with 2015 New Year’s resolutions. I started simple. I asked myself what I wanted more of. Exercise. I asked myself what I wanted less of. Pounds and health complications. I had a free calendar that the fire department had given me and I turned that into an exercise tracking tool. Every day that I exercised for at least 20 minutes I colored in that date. I started real small. I wanted to fill in at least 2 boxes a week.

A few months in, I realized I wanted more than just 20 minutes 2 times a week. So I increased it to 30 minutes a day, more times a week. By the end of the year, most weeks I was exercising an average of 6 days a week.

In complete transparency, I made some other goals that year too that failed. Like I wanted to read 30 books but I only read 19. I wanted to plan weekly at home date nights with Mark. I didn’t keep up with that.

A look at my 2017 goals – they’ve changed a lot since!

But I think that’s the thing with New Year’s resolutions. They don’t ALL have to succeed. Sometimes while we’re sitting around the week between Christmas and New Year’s we think “oh I can accomplish all this!” And then rubber hits the road and we realize that all of those ideas we had were a little unrealistic.

We can do anything, but we can’t do *EVERYTHING.*

Now because I succeeded in that one New Year’s resolution, it has changed the trajectory of my life. Every year since then, I’ve continued to build on that FIRST resolution. I exercise more each year. I’ve since run a couple of half-marathons. I started incorporating strength into my exercise routine. I make it a priority to get outside as much as I can. I eat more vegetables than ever. I’ve reduced my sugar intake significantly.

And it’s affected other areas of my life too, not just my bodily health. Starting with that ONE goal has had a ripple effect in so many areas of my life: learning about toxins, mental health and anxiety, and financial wellness.

So as we enter 2023, if you’ve never made resolutions before (or as I like to call them GOALS), start simple. I still ask myself the questions I mentioned before but I’ve added one more. Here are THREE QUESTIONS to ask yourself to get you started:

What do I want MORE of in 2023?

What do I want LESS of in 2023?

What feels completely aligned as is?

By answering these three simple (but maybe hard!?) it will help guide you on what goals to make for the new year. Maybe there are 4 or 5 things you’d like changed. Make goals for each of them. Remember, that doesn’t mean that you HAVE to stick to all of them. I struggled for years thinking of myself as a failure if I didn’t accomplish every single goal I laid out for myself. As the year progresses, maybe you realize that some of the goals need adjusting or some were just unrealistic. But make sure you stick to at least one or two! THAT’S when the real change begins! And look forward to continuing to build on each of those as the year’s pass. That’s exactly what I’ve done to get me where I am today.

My HONEST answers to the 3 questions!

What do I want MORE of in 2023?

  • Follow passion projects
  • Salads
  • Completed house projects

What do I want LESS of in 2023?

  • Friend drama for my daughter (that’s a story for another time)
  • Toxins

What feels completely aligned as is?

  • Exercise
  • Therapy
  • Creative space + time
  • Relationships with husband and kids
Journaling some of my year-end reflections…

Honestly, I had a hard time coming up with many things that didn’t already feel aligned in my life. After 8 years of making New Year’s goals, I feel like I finally reached a place where everything feels *right.* Not that my life is perfect, but I have found a wonderful, fantastic balance that makes me feel more centered than I ever have before. BUT! We’re always a work in progress so it’s a good idea to regularly go back to these questions and assess where you are in life. Are there any problem areas you want to attack? What’s going really well that you want to keep going? Maybe there *AREN’T* that many changes that you want to make but at least after going through these questions you know. You’ve done your self-assessment and you can keep going as is or you can decide to convert these answers into real, achievable goals.

I’m genuinely curious – answer ONE of the three questions in the comments below! What’s something you want more of, less of, or what’s going so well that you’re going to do INTENTIONAL work to keep it going?!

I hope you all have a great 2023. Let’s do something to *try* and make it the best one yet!

:: ashley

Intentional Living, Personal




3 [Simple] Questions to Ask Yourself Before the New Year

  1. Shelby says:

    I love this and I love you. 💜

  2. Cathryn Coffey says:

    Love this post! I love setting goals in the new year and I think I’ve gotten away from them the past two years with Covid and the baby so this was just the inspiration I needed! Going to work on them!

  3. Kelly says:

    This is beautiful, I love you and I am so grateful you are sharing your story – your experience, strength, and hope.

  4. […] forward to your future, Mark and I love to make goals together. We do this every New Year’s (see this post about setting New Year’s Goals!) The goal of marriage is to be together forever. And beyond that, I hope that the goal is to be […]

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