My ‘why’ in 2019


Hello 2019!

I absolutely adore the month of January and the chance that I get to take a break, reflect on the past 12 months, and imagine what’s possible for the new year. It brings me such joy to find clarity again after the busyness of December, and I wish I could somehow bottle this feeling and drink it all year long…

Over the summer I’ve had a bit of trouble naming the actual measurable things that I want to set my mind to this year, which is a bit strange for me. In the past I’ve been the kind of person who can reel off 10 things I want to make happen before the end of the week! But after a little refection as to why I was experiencing this resistance, it dawned on me as to what was standing in my way. It’s the strong sense I’ve been feeling lately to look for the deeper meaning and impact I want to have on the world…

Once I realised this, I immediately ditched my old goal setting process and instead listened to my intuition to create a profound intention that will drive me for the next 12 months (and beyond). I want to use this intention as the ‘thing’ that will impact each and every decision I make and everything I do this year in all areas of my life, and for it to be my guide to staying on track to effect change on the world in whatever small ways I can. Some people might call this my ‘why’.

I am a true believer of the impact that having a profound and powerful ‘why’ has on achieving something you feel compelled to do. When you set a goal because you (or someone else thinks you) ‘should’ (which in the past I have done… many times…), quite possibly you are setting yourself to a task that isn’t actually that meaningful for you. And if your goal isn’t really that meaningful for you, then it’s unlikely that you’ll have the commitment to see you through the inevitably tough times on your journey towards creating the version of success you’re set for yourself.

So how did I define my ‘why’? I did three things.

First of all…

I reflected on what truely brought me the most joy in 2018. We all need more joy in our lives and life is way too short to spend your time doing things you don’t love. And what you love to spend your time doing (even if that’s not something you get paid to do) is a very good indication of where your natural gifts lie that you can share with the world.

In my professional life, helping my clients to explore and realise their dream of starting their own business or launching a new product idea gives me a complete sense of fulfilment that’s actually hard to put in to words. And in my personal life, enhancing and protecting my health so that I can be the best possible version of ‘me’ to support others has been incredibly rewarding. So it’s tick tick to more of these feelings in 2019 please!

Then I…

expanded my thinking on how the things that bring me the most joy can potentially help other people. It’s one thing to live a life where you only serve yourself, and another to bring together what makes you happy with the ability to have a profound impact on the people around you. And to me, this is where the difference between setting a goal and setting a ‘why’ lies. I view goals as more of an inward-looking action, whereas a ‘why’ more actively considers the positive impact you’ll have on others. I’m very lucky to have already made a positive impact on others through the work I do as a designer, but now having been awakened to the life changing benefits of making my health a priority, I’d like to inspire more people to do the same in small ways that will benefit them too.

And finally…

I brought together these realisations in a succinct statement that I can pin to my wall, and be reminded of every day:

“Live to help others create the happiest and healthiest version of themselves.”

If I can help others to do this (no matter what their version of health and happiness is), it will have brought me tonnes of joy in the process and have given me the opportunity and privilege to leave a positive mark on the world. And I can’t imagine a better way for me to live my 2019 and beyond!

Maybe this approach will resonate with you, or perhaps you’ll think it’s ridiculous, either way I’d love to know if you have set a ‘why’ for 2019, and how you want to impact the world? Please connect with me at @alishadunsford_designer!


If you’re interested in exploring your ‘why’, I found this article a really helpful resource in discovering what brings me the most joy: The 10 Big Questions To Ask Yourself Before Mapping Out Your 2019 Goals, by Julia Ries