Make 2023 Your Year of Positive Change

Forget resolutions. The new year is a time for reflection, giving us the opportunity to review and renew our commitments to others and ourselves. Making a list of “rules” defeats the purpose of a journey that should be free-flowing and filled with ups, downs, rights, wrongs, and everything in between. Below (and at the links included) are just a few helpful ways you can begin your voyage inward, then forward.


“When I quit my job in 2016 to become a freelance illustrator, I embarked on a journey that I couldn’t have anticipated. It brought me face-to-face with myself: my doubts, fears, limiting beliefs, anxiety, and depression. I plunged into transforming myself and saw how beautiful it can be when we heal and get closer to who we truly are. Doors open, opportunities present themselves, wonderful people enter our lives, and things we couldn’t have imagined start to happen…Remember, you already have all the answers within you; the journey is a process of removing everything obscuring them. Happy trails and lots of love to you.” —Allison Filice, author of Smith Street’s The Journey: An Oracle Deck to Help You Find Your Place in the Universe


We can so easily get caught up in the past or future that we forget about the power of this moment. But everything is happening right now; we can only take action in the present. What happens now shapes what will happen next. Instead of focusing on the unchangeable, allow that energy to return to your body. Let go of anything you wish to release and immerse yourself in your surroundings. Focus on your body: take a breath, wiggle your toes, and dance. Bask in the gift that is the here and now and trust that the next step will be there to greet you when it’s time.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE HELPFUL GUIDANCE that you can refer to daily, weekly, or anytime you’d like, and use them as an intention or a jumping-off point to explore the themes in your life as journal prompts, themes to discuss, or any other way that feels right.


“You can’t work out what you want until you work out who you are.”
—Ben Crowe

What practices or rituals do I have that allow me the space and time to reflect?

To find my purpose, I must first focus on finding myself.

“Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.”
—Cheryl Strayed

Am I holding on to an idea about myself that’s no longer true?

I won’t allow an old story to stop me from writing a new one.

As a social worker, one of the most common questions Jess Sanders—author of Smith Street’s Find Your Purpose: Affirmations and Questions to Help You Along Your Path—hears is that people don’t know what they want, where they’re headed, or who they are. That is why she created a tool for anyone who’s asking those questions or feeling lost in their journey.

CLICK HERE FOR A SELECTION of inspirational quotes and affirmations, coupled with introspective questions, that will help guide you along your path to find what and who inspires you. Being a person is hard, and we can all use a helping hand and a reminder that it’s OK to figure life out one step at a time.


“Friends are the family you choose! I have a real family that I love very much, but I also have many friends who are like brothers and sisters to me. You could call it a ‘constituted family.’

It’s scientifically proven: 70 percent of our happiness depends on our relationships with our friends, family, and colleagues. Without other people, our lives would be meaningless. According to a study by Brigham Young University, our relationships with others increase our chances of survival by 50 percent. I conclude, therefore, that friends are the key to long life!”

—Ines de la Fressange, author of Flammarion’s Happiness: The Art of TogethernessImage: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images.

Childhood and the college years are opportune times for making friends. As an adult, it becomes more difficult to form connections with people you don’t know. A friendship isn’t built in a day! What can you do to develop friendships? Here are some ideas:

Call Them
Taking the time to call people and check in on them shows that they are important to you—how can they know if you don’t call? It makes sense. “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter,” Marlene Dietrich supposedly said.

Tell Them They’re Important to You
It might seem obvious, but telling your friends that you enjoy spending time with them or that they mean a lot to you really helps form connections. And when someone shows affection, most people try to live up to it. I’m not the only one who believes that you have to be nice in order for people to be nice back: the seventeenth-century philosopher Blaise Pascal said, “Kind words do not cost much, and yet they accomplish much.”

Show Up When the Going Gets Rough
Baptism by fire: this is when you find out who your real friends are. You get divorced, lose your job, or someone close to you dies, and suddenly your “friend” magically disappears. But others will remain very present—even some you didn’t expect to. You should be able to share your troubles with your friends. When you can put words to your pain, the burden becomes lighter.

Find more ideas, as well as other great friend-making—and keeping—tips here.


Travel has become a little…complicated over the past few years, so more and more people are rediscovering the joys of the humble road trip. Whether heading out on a family vacation or hitting the road with close friends, it’s important to remember it is the journey that matters. Use that time on the road as an opportunity for fun, bonding, and togetherness with some road trip games!

Here’s a fun game to try from Smith Street’s Road Trip Games: 50 Fun Games to Play in the Car:


OBJECT OF THE GAME: Spin a story worthy of a Netflix contract.


Pick a group of people in a passing car and take turns coming up with a story about who they are and where they’re going. Look for details to guide your narrative—a woman in dark glasses or someone with a surfboard strapped to the roof—or simply let your imagination run wild.

After each player has had a turn, everyone in the car votes for the best story.

Click here for some more game ideas!