Conversion is not easy work since it may bring about new realizations that require a person to change, humble herself, and seek reconciliation with God and others.
This work of conversion renews in our own hearts the knowledge of who we - and God - want us to be in this life. We see the life of peace, goodness, and holiness that is offered to us. The realigning of our life to this purpose gives new direction to our decisions and to the relationships we hold dear.
While an end does not justify the means, it does give direction to them and provides a clear map on how they can safely arrive at the desired end. This is the role and help of Ash Wednesday.