Whether you are trying to lose weight, quit smoking or get out of debt, the general consensus seems to be that new year’s resolutions are practically worthless. By the time you read this blog post, many of the people who resolved to go to the gym every day are probably already making excuses why they’re going to skip today’s visit. I’ve been told that planning your year around a set of guiding words or principles appears to be far more effective.

For example, if you find yourself in a time of transition, perhaps “renewal” would be appropriate. If you’re in a position where you are ready to take your career to the next level, you might choose “growth” or “opportunity.” Maybe you find that you’ve been working too much, so if it’s time to scale back and focus on other areas of your life, you might focus on “family” or “balance.”

Myself, I’ve selected three guiding words for 2017. While I have numbered them here, they are listed in no particular order. That’s partly because they are all intrinsically interconnected.

1. Acceptance

I have always struggled with the notion of “living in the moment.” No matter what I am doing, my mind tends to wander to what else I could or should be doing. When I’m playing with my daughter, I might consider how else I can improve this vlog. What I should be doing is accepting that the time I spend with my daughter cannot and should not be spent thinking about work.

Similarly, I oftentimes look back at my to-do list at the end of the day and lament all the items that were left undone. I can get really down on myself as a result and feel like a failure, even though I recognize intellectually that my to-do lists are consistently overly ambitious. I need to accept my limitations and create more realistic plans for what I want to accomplish each day.

The guiding principle of acceptance also relates to my own self-image. I need to really internalize and embrace my identity as a stay-at-home dad. I need to accept who I am and focus on my strengths. Because trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.

2. Prioritization

Here’s a great little thought I came across in a YouTube video. Instead of saying that there’s no time to do X, say that X is not a priority. If you’re still okay with the statement, then that’s okay. If you’re not, then maybe you need to rethink your priorities. It’s not that you don’t want to do X; it’s that other things are more important to you.

I’ve told friends that I don’t really follow sports anymore, because I don’t have time to watch the games. That’s only partly true. It’s because keeping up with the Canucks or binging on NFL games every Sunday are no longer priorities for me. I might spend that time catching up on other programming, doing some work, or enjoying some family time.

It doesn’t matter if the problem is a lack of time or something else. I need to decide what is most important to me, focus my efforts on those things, and let everything else go without regret.

3. Completion

This year, I’ve committed myself to posting a new photo on Instagram every day and publishing a new vlog on YouTube every week. I also really want to publish my next book. I’ve also considered a myriad of other possible projects, all above and beyond my usual work as a freelance writer and blogger.

I’ve said before that I want to do everything, but that simply is not possible. Rather than spread myself too thin and leave many things only partially done, I want to make sure that I finish everything that I start. First on that list was the new theme for this blog.

What Words Will Guide You Through 2017?

So, I need to accept who I am and what I can and cannot do. I need to prioritize the projects that I really want to do and cast the others aside. And then I need to complete those project without exception. These are my goals and guiding words for 2017.

What about you? How are you going to frame this year? What will you do to ensure you’ll be in a better place next year?