You Can Do It!

What I Did Differently In 2019 and How It Worked

I’m parting with 2019 knowing that I lived it to full capacity. No regrets. No wish I would’ve’s. I showed up and did the damn thing.

Let me tell ya, there were high expectations. I love numerology and nineteen happens to be my lucky number. Ever since that day, ages ago, when my big sister, Maggie declared that her lucky number was eighteen. I knew 2019 would be special and I’d be special in it, but I never expected the wild and exciting year that has now passed. The best part is I, ME, am responsible for the change in my life.

I took a new approach this year. I figured out what I wanted and went straight for it. In the wise words of Keith Richards, “If you don’t make bold moves, you don’t get fuckin’ anywhere” Those are words to live by and I did just that. 

2019 started with a journey across the country. I packed up my apartment in one metropolis and relocated to another, a sunnier one. I can confirm the rumors, more sunshine makes a difference. But it wasn’t merely the Vitamin D that changed my life, it was me. Every day I woke up determined to make the day better than the previous and it worked.

When I left New York City in March, I was ready for a new horizon. I had pushed for the departure. I love New York. I always will. I remember New York fondly like an old lover, but it never would’ve worked out between us. Raised as a Kentucky girl, I need more space and I desperately missed nature. When I admitted this to myself the universe listened.

It seemed poetic the way everything fell into place. I took the opportunity in front of me and vowed to make the best of it. Had I not made significant changes in my life and routines, I’d probably be sitting here wondering where the year went. Instead, I sit here as a successful business leader, writer, public speaker, novelist, and triathlete. A year ago, I was none of these things. What a difference a year can make. 

The things most responsible for changing my quality of life cost little to no money. The key was changing my mindset. I was a great dreamer and goal setter, but I struggled with the follow-through. By making these changes in my life, I was able to sparkle and shine all the way through 2019. 

Here’s what I did:

I Danced My Ass Off

I’m not kidding. I danced nearly every day. Often only for five minutes, long enough to fit in one Whitney jam. I danced like no one was watching when sometimes they were. I didn’t care. I love dancing, it feels fantastic and it makes me happy. So I made it a part of my daily routine. 

I Woke Up Early

I’ve always been an early riser, but in 2019, I woke up at 5:30 AM, Monday through Friday. I’d spend an hour writing, get in a workout, journaled, and meditated all before work. I cherish my morning time. That’s how I pay myself back for all the hours I have to work. Me time is all mine. I start my day being creative and healthy. What I found to be the key to keeping a consistent wake-up routine was getting enough sleep. I need a solid eight hours. I’ve always wanted to be one of those four-hour-functioners, but I’m not. I need eight hours to be nice. I also need eight hours to be at my best and to keep consistent with my routine. That means 9:30 PM bedtimes, which blows, but it makes the days worth it. 

I Jumped Out of My Comfort Zone

Clio Entertainment Director, Ashley Falls speaks at the 2019 Clio Entertainment Awards on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for CLIO Awards/AP Images)

In 2019, I stepped out of my comfort zones and into the world of vulnerability. I tried new foods. I attended networking events where I knew no one. I sang so much karaoke that my throat was raw for weeks. I took a public speaking course. Then I signed up for a triathlon. To top it off, I shared my finished novel with others. For me, 2019 was about being uncomfortable AF, and it paid off. 

I Took Up New Hobbies

Hobbies were big for me in 2019. I painted more. I studied photography and wine. They both bring me joy, so I wanted to better appreciate their elements. I watched several documentaries on sommeliers and the history of California wine country. Surprisingly, the hobby that brought me the most joy in 2019 was running. For years, I wanted to enjoy it, but I couldn’t get there. This year I found my pace and that changed everything. It also sparked several existential epiphanies about finding your pace in life.

I Set Goals and I Followed Through

I mentioned that I did a triathlon. What I didn’t mention was I’d never done any sort of ‘athon’ before. Not even a 5K. I couldn’t even run a 5K the night I signed up for the triathlon. I made the goal and I worked for 16 weeks to meet it. I wanted to quit a hundred times, including during the race, the swim specifically. But I kept going. I worked my ass off in 2019, but I met all my goals and I’m more myself for it.

I Wrote

I wrote every day. Whether it was journaling, writing for work, or novel writing, I wrote. I made sure I did it. Then I read about writing. If you want to perfect your craft, you have to sit and do it. Ernest Hemingway said it best, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” The key is to sit there and bleed. You have to show up for your dreams and I made sure I showed up, perky and eager, every morning, and then I sat there and bled. 

I Got Deeper With Spiritualty

Much of this is thanks to my Kentucky girls, who along my road trip to California, gave me my first pouch of meditation stones. Once in California, my best friend schooled me on chakras and I dove deep into research. It led to new yoga techniques and active meditation classes. My spiritual nature got a taste of the wild in 2019, and now I’m roaring. 

I Shared My Story

I’m painfully shy by nature. As a writer, I prefer to sit and observe. Sharing my stories has always been the hardest part. Until social media came along. That nearly sent me silent. Sharing my day-to-day with the world felt torturous. It was for years. Then I discovered clever and creative ways to tell me daily stories and I had fun with it. When folks reached out, thanking me for the inspiration, I kept going. If you get the chance to inspire others, always take it. I soon realized that sharing my wild and wacky story with the world was another way to creatively express my art and myself.

My Best Friend and I Renewed Our Vows

My best friend and I haven’t lived in the same town for fifteen years. We haven’t lived in the same state for eight years. Yet we’ve managed to keep our friendship alive, which isn’t an easy feat. Sometimes the best of friends have a knack for slipping away. Luckily, my best friend and I stayed close. But 2019 was different. We made time for each other in new ways. We prioritized one of the most important relationships of our lives. Even though we’ve never been further geographically, we somehow have never felt closer. Long live our romance!

Be A Boss

Thanks to my professional life, I learned to run my own business in 2019. I exceeded expectations, mine and theirs. The life lessons I’m learning from these experiences are priceless. I’ll only be better in 2020.

I Got Financially Savvy

At thirty-two, I finally learned about my finances. This was in part due to my professional life, but I also made personal efforts to get financially savvy. I established my first savings account, I took control of my 401k, I learned to read stocks, I built a portfolio, I paid off significant debts, and I learned to pay myself first. I became an independent woman.

I Shared Books

Amazon made a fortune off me this year. I shared and sent so many books in 2019. Anything that inspired me was sent to someone else. I shared all kinds of books – fiction, self-development, spiritual, biographies. If it inspired me, I shared it. Spreading joy and inspiration is a lovely feeling.

I Took More Walks

I have two dogs and they’re my best friends. For twelve years they have lived with me in Kentucky, Savannah, New York City, and now, Los Angeles. I promised them more walks and I delievered. I enjoyed every one of them. Somedays we’d go to the beach. On other days, we’d forge a new path. Our walks are peaceful and it’s quality time with my best friends. As a bonus, the time away from screens allows me the opportunity to recharge my creative juices so I can keep chugging.

I Finished My Novel

The most important thing I did in 2019, and perhaps, in my life so far, was completing my first novel. For seven years, I sat at the typewriter and bled for this story. I finished it only weeks ago and then I shared it with others, which might’ve been worse than the bleeding itself. It was by far the most vulnerable moment of my life. In 2020, I’ll get my novel published because it’s my goal. 

I Lived My Life Motto

Let me set the scene: 

ME in 2011, driving to NEW YORK CITY listening to KEITH RICHARD’S autobiography on audiobook. 

Then he said the words that would inspire me for years to come. 

“If you don’t make bold moves, you don’t get fuckin’ anywhere.” 

The words shook me. They’ve been my north star ever since. This year I got more personal with the motto. I lived it every day, with every breath. When I felt vulnerable, I reminded myself of Keith’s words. It’s great to have a personal mantra, but it’s even better when you live it. 

May 2020 be a sparkling success and your best you yet! Cheers!

Following a five-year stint in New York City, Ashley is now a Los Angeles transplant. Having grown up in rural Kentucky, Ashley is passionate to share self-care techniques used around the world and hopes to make them accessible to folks in rural communities. Ashley believes in gratitude, personal legends, and doing good. Aside from being a business leader in her professional life, Ashley is a novelist and freelance writer.

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