Review of 2018: How I Scored Myself in 4 Key Areas

by Stephen Waldo

Lyon just born with family

Featured image: the kids at the birth center with Kalee and I right after Lyon’s birth, Oct. 25, 2018

It’s that time of year again, when no matter how much you tell yourself that January 1st is just another day, you still end up doing stereotypical year-end-review and New Year’s goal setting.

I know it’s been a quiet few months here on Husband Help Haven, so bear with me while I try to keep folks updated with the behind-the-scenes stuff… If you don’t care, I’m not offended, feel free to skip this one.

Tomorrow, I will be publishing my 2019 plans for Husband Help Haven, so drop by then to see what’s coming.

Otherwise, I have a solid chunk of new content nearing publish-readiness, so there will be more marriage and separation-related stuff soon. As always, topic ideas are welcome!

Here’s My Scoring System…

Mommy and Lyon at Christmas
Mommy and Lyon at Christmas

Personally, I like to track my personal performance and development by rating myself in the areas that are most important to me.

Areas I’m Focusing On

  • Faith: In 2018, how well have I maintained and developed myself in my faith?
  • Marriage & Family: In 2018, how fully have I given my wife and family the husband and father, respectively, that I want them to have?
  • Work: In 2018, how much output have I poured into my business this year? How well have I used my work time?
  • Physical: In 2018, how well have I maintained my health? How much progress have I made towards my fitness goals?

What’s important to you may be different than what’s important to me, but I’m willing to bet that most of you align pretty closely with at least a couple of these areas.

How I’m Scoring Myself

  • Assign a score out of 10, correlating to a letter grade, based on an honest assessment of my performance in that area.
  • Reflect on what I did well in that area during the past year.
  • Plan what I want to improve in that area during the next year.

I’m going to quickly review each of my chosen areas below so that you can get a feel for how I do my yearly self-reflection… That way if you have yet to do your own reflection on 2018, you can copy my approach for yourself.

Faith: 8/10, B

What I did well:

2018 was the best year in a long time for my spiritual life. I probably spent more time in my Bible and more faithfully and enthusiastically attended church than I have in any other year of my life. I’ve been keeping up with weekly Bible studies with my best buddy. I certainly haven’t been a perfect Christian, and I had many moments where I needed forgiveness, but as far as spiritual disciplines go, it was a pretty decent year, and a marked improvement over previous years.

What I could work on:

Consistency. I was fairly consistent throughout the last four months of 2018, but there were definitely stretches of inconsistency in my faith life… Weeks where I didn’t even open my Bible.

I could also work on my prayer life. Spending time in my Bible comes naturally, praying with focus throughout the day – more than just in the morning – is something I still need to work on.

My big faith-oriented goal for 2019, and one of my biggest areas of ongoing weakness, is to be a better spiritual leader to my family. I would like to develop better routines for spending time reading my Bible with my wife and kids, particularly our teenage foster daughter who is outright asking for more time doing devotions. Her Christmas present to me was matching commentaries for the book of Mark to go through together – awesome!

Marriage & Family: 9/10, A

What I did well:

Historically, marriage and family is my strongest area and that holds true again this year. To be fair, I run a marriage-related site for a living, so I better be killing it in my own marriage.

Overall throughout 2018, there is very little more I realistically could have done to assist with childcare, running the house, being kind and patient with my wife and family, that sort of thing. Things I’m particularly proud of would be the way that I feel I supported and encouraged my wife through her pregnancy and labor with Lyon, and the effort I’ve put into making our new teenager feel loved and welcomed as a genuine member of our family.

What I could work on:

I could definitely do better spending actual quality time with my wife, doing things other than watching TV and chatting together. Those things are fine, but my wife and I didn’t really make any memories together this year… Nothing that just the two of us did, that we’ll look back on and say, “Aww, remember back in 2018 when we did [insert memory].”

Now, we had some great moments as a family, we made great memories as a family. But next year I’d like to be more conscious about setting aside high-quality time and activities for my wife and I.

Work: 5/10, F

Taking Stock Of My Work Output

I really wanted to put 6/10 there so that I could mentally give myself a ‘D’ grade. But if I’m being honest, 5/10 is the right score and I probably do deserve an F in this category.

My work here on Husband Help Haven was not where I wanted it to be this year, and this is easily my weakest area of 2018. It’s disappointing because I felt similarly about 2017, where I really just didn’t get the work output that I hoped for. However, while my feelings about the amount of work are the same, the reason for the lack of work are very different…

  • In 2017, life was very hard, and I just didn’t have the time or, honestly, the drive to put much into Husband Help Haven.
  • In 2018, life was great, largely because of the two major life changes we had this year with adding two kids to our family!

If we break down what I accomplished this year into some concrete numbers:

New blog posts: This year I published a grand total of 11 blog posts, including this one. That’s less than one a month, and tied with 2017 for the slowest year of publishing. Not great.

Correspondence with readers: Throughout 2018, I corresponded and personally assisted approximately 400 men going through separation, which is similar to what I did in 2017.

  • For reference, my personal goal is to answer three free advice emails per work day, which means helping roughly ~775 men throughout the year. More or less, since I do follow along for more than one email with some men, but I also answer emails on weekends at least once a month.
  • Historically, in 2016 I hit my goal by corresponding with ~750 men throughout the year. Within the give or take margin of my goal.
  • In 2015 – the year Eden was born – I still managed to correspond with ~500 men.

So, while 400 is a big number, it’s much smaller than I’d like it to be.

Product development: This is probably where I did best during 2018, which is all somewhat “hidden” work because it hasn’t yet resulted in any external, publicly available content. However, I successfully laid the foundation for one of my biggest projects of 2019, which you can learn more about below.

What’s I want to improve:

Tomorrow, I will be publishing a full breakdown of what I have planned for Husband Help Haven in 2019… So I won’t repeat myself here! Come back tomorrow if you want to learn more.

Physical: 6/10, D

I’ll keep it brief here since I know my fitness isn’t a top priority for you to understand :)

What went well:

In 2018, I went to the gym 39 times. That’s about 3 times per month on average, but in practice it was more like February, March and April and November were my good gym months where I was going to the gym 3ish times per week, and the rest of the year featured a few intermittent visits.

Overall, this isn’t where I want to be, but it IS positive progress. I also managed to end the year 13 lbs under my starting weight for 2018, so I’ll take it.

What I could work on:

Consistency. My goal in 2019 is to go to the gym 125 times, which represents 80% of the possible workouts I could do throughout the year if I go 3x per week.

In addition, I’d like to work on other fitness goals besides pure strength training. I’d like to improve my calisthenics and conditioning too. My long-term goal is to reach a fitness level where I’d be comfortable competing in something physical.

Saying Goodbye to Phils 550 Store
Saying goodbye to old Phil’s 550 Store in Marquette, MI

What About You?

As you think about your own performance and development in 2018, what areas are important for you to score yourself on?

How would you rate yourself in those areas?

What are you going to focus on improving in the year ahead?

This type of self-assessment is very important, even if you’re not in a very stable phase of your life. Think critically about what your year could look like, what you WANT it to look like, and how you will balance goals vs reality depending on what happens.

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my plans for Husband Help Haven in 2019… I hope for this year to contain some of the biggest changes and improvements that I’ve made to date, so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox if you’re at all interested in following along.

Otherwise, I’ll usher in the New Year with one final “Much manly love”…

Much manly love,
– Stephen

Stephen Waldo

Hi! My name is Stephen. I’m the guy behind Husband Help Haven. My mission here is to help as many men as possible become the best husbands they can be, and save as many marriages as possible along the way. Even though I’m not a marriage counselor, I want to encourage men everywhere to become better husbands, fathers and leaders. Full author bio


  • Flemming Hansen

    For me it has to be a 0, 8, 7 and 8. That’s a 3,75 in average. A VERY solid F. Or a 7,7 if we skip the faith-part. That should be about a B…

    You really have to elaborate over the concept of faith. You know, If I haven’t been reading some of your other stuff you would have lost me there never to return. Faith has to be something else than reading a specifik book, going to some church, mosque, tempel or whatever. If “Faith” has to give any meaning it has to be about how you live your life and maintain and develop your core of inner values. I have known to many people who was doing the right thing according to their relegion (mostly christians and buddhist, don’t know many religious muslims or jews, but I’m 100% it’s the same). You know going to church or tempel, talking with their priest/munk on a regular basis etc. etc. but in reality having a moral compass totally messed up.

    Point said: Elaborate over the concept of faith. It can’t be stucked to one religion or routine. it has to be about the inner life and values.

    • A

      Hey Flemming, I completely get where you’re coming from there. I tried to hint at this in the intro a bit, basically saying these are MY areas of priority, scored by what’s important to ME. The idea being that you see two things here:

      (A) You should know what areas of your life matter to you.
      (B) You should care about your performance in those areas.

      Not that your areas of priority have to be the same as mine, or that even if they are, that you have to judge your performance along the same metrics. Well said by you about the importance of faith being translated over to how you live your life and maintain inner values.

      Thanks for the honest feedback and sticking with me :) I see where you’re coming from. In future posts I’ll try to do a better job of either prefacing that my beliefs don’t have to be yours, or offering alternative ways of using the stuff I’m sharing to fit a different belief system.

      Much manly love,
      – Stephen

  • Stephen, hearing you speak of your faith was something I needed to hear this morning as I have wondered your stance and spiritual foundation. God is working a miracle in my marriage and once I gave it all to him things began to change. Among many resources I have been engrossed in, yours has been very helpful. It helped me realize that my wife’s “midlife crisis” was caused by my lack of maturity, spirituality, selfish acts, and and lack of leadership. After four months of separation we are reconciling and on the path of healing our marriage. I had to change, and change for good. 2 days ago was our 24th anniversary. There is a clear and positive future in our marriage that looks very different than the last 24 years. It’s hard to look in the mirror when you don’t like what you see. Once I did and began to move from denial to acceptance I could begin work on the areas in my life that needed transformation. Thank you for your resources and I pray for continued healing for all the other men and their marriages that are living the same challenges. So thank you and “Remember your creator and savor the life he has given you.”

    • A

      Thank you for sharing Russ! I’m glad to hear that God is working a miracle in your marriage, and well on you for seeing your own faults and facing the man in the mirror even though you didn’t like what you saw. Thank God for grace, and keep doing your best to build a marriage that overflows with forgiveness and love!

  • Timothy Scott

    No matter what score you give yourself this site has been a blessing to me. I am currently going through the fight of my life as my wife is having a midlife crisis. Your site has been a help to me when I did not understand what was going on. I’m nowhere near done in this fight and I often look forward to emails and blog post from your site. As 2018 comes to a close I want to say thank you for all you have done and even if it’s not the greatest work to you it means the world to me. Thank you again and Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • A

      Thank you for your kind words Timothy, good luck in 2019!

  • I can’t do this anymore. I have tried so hard . I had 4 “F’s”… I lost everything . I need to hold on . I’m at rock bottom. By my self in my home alone on New Year’s Eve . A big failure

    • A

      Knowing where you’re at is the starting point. Knowing where you want to go is the next step. Keep your chin up Joe, only reflect on your mistakes long enough to learn from them. Then, move forward and figure out how to make the most of what you can control.

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