For a while there, I tried to make new year’s resolutions like everyone else. Instead of something vague, though, I positioned these resolutions as S.M.A.R.T. goals. They had value, to be sure, but I felt they didn’t really encompass enough. That’s why I switched to guiding words. And as barrel our way toward eggnog and mistletoe, I thought I’d take the opportunity reflect back on my guiding words for 2018. Here’s the vlog from January as a quick refresher.

In 2017, I decided that my guiding words would be acceptance, prioritization and completion. It was by following those guiding words that I was finally able to complete and publish my book on life as a work-at-home dad. The book hasn’t done nearly as well as I had hoped, but I am proud that I finished it and put it out there.

For 2018, I went with three key words to guide my actions and decisions through the year again. This time around, I chose intent, calm, and enough. How have I done so far?


Not great, but not terrible either. I still end up getting distracted when I’m on the computer, falling down the bottomless pit of social media and YouTube. That said, I have done a better job of not working when I’m parenting and vice versa.

If I want to do something, I do my best to do that thing with intent. How many times have you taken out your smartphone instinctively and started scrolling mindlessly? Even when you’re already engaged in another activity like watching a movie? I know I have. But I’m trying to do that less and I feel like I’m making progress.


Again, not great, but not completely horrible either. I feel like this goes hand in hand with “intent” above. While constant anxiety continues to be a challenge for me, I’d like to think that I’m getting better at “rolling with the punches.”

As Ariana Grande has been singing lately:

Time goes by and I can’t control my mind
Don’t know what else to try, but you tell me every time
Just keep breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’
And oh, I gotta keep, keep on breathin’


Of the three guiding words, this is the one that has caused me the most grief. There’s always the nagging thought in the back of my mind that I’m letting everyone down, myself included. I’m not making enough. I’m not working hard enough. I’m not spending enough time with my daughter, or I don’t contribute around the house enough. I’m not “hustling” with this blog enough, or I’m not engaging in enough self care.

And what I’m really telling myself through all those statements is that I am not enough. As much as the memes with positive vibes try to convince me otherwise, I struggle to internalize it. There’s always more I could do, so I feel like I should be doing it. But guilt is the thief of joy.

Man in the Mirror

Setting goals, resolutions and guiding words is valuable. But it’s even more valuable when you take the time to look back at these guiding principles and objectives. How have you done? Where do we go from here?