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Resolution update: 2011 in review

The following is the December update and end-of-year review of my 2011 New Year’s resolutions.
I am currently in the process of deciding upon my 2012 goals and will post them later in the day.

Of my twenty-one New Years resolutions established at the beginning of 2011, fifteen were successfully completed. One was partially completed, and five were not.

Of the goals achieved, I am most proud of my 23 pound weight loss (bringing my total weight loss to to 54 pounds over a period of two years), my storytelling success at The Moth, and the staged reading of my rock opera, The Clowns.  I thought that each of these goals would be especially difficult to accomplish in 2011, so their completion was very satisfying to me.

Of the goals I failed to complete in 2011, the failure to complete my fifth novel looms large as I work hard to finish. While there were mitigating factors that interfered with my ability to finish the book (detailed below), it should still be done by now. I have too many other books that I am excited about writing to fail to complete a book in 2011.

I also wish that I had done better with my goal of re-learning the flute. With just an hour each week, I could have ended 2011 playing the flute again at a fairly proficient level. This was a doable goal that I simply failed to take seriously.

The success or failure of each individual resolution is as follows:

1.  Lose 23 pounds, bringing me down to my high school track and field weight.

Done. My weight at my physical on Thursday was 184.2 pounds. It took all year, but mission finally accomplished.

2.  Do at least 50 100 200 push-ups and 50 100 sit-ups a day.

Done. I missed six days of exercise in December due to pneumonia, but other than days missed due to illness throughout the year, I was successful in achieving this goal in 2011. In fact, I raised the initial goal of 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups to 200 and 100 respectively.

3.  Practice the flute for at least an hour a week.

Not completed.  I did not practice in December, and for the year, I practiced for a total of six hours. This goal was far from accomplished.

4.  Find a wine that I can drink every night or so.

Done. Chianti is now my wine of choice.

5.  Complete my fifth novel.

Not completed. This goal was not accomplished for several reasons.

There have been a variety of unexpected demands placed upon me with the publishing of my next novel, and each of these required surprisingly large chunks of my time.

I also switched novels midstream, eventually returning to the original concept after three months of indecision. I wrote enough words in 2011 to constitute at least one novel, but unfortunately those words are spread between three incomplete manuscripts.

6.  Complete and submit one children’s book to my agent.

Done. Revisions of both of my stories continue, and a new story is underway.  I hope to have at least one of these books accepted for publication in 2012, and I plan on attending a children’s literature and publishing conference next April.

I’d like to take my career in children’s literature much more seriously in 2012.

7.  Complete the book proposal for the non-fiction collaborative project that I began last year.

Not completed. My partner and I simply did not connect in 2011. Meetings were scheduled, rescheduled and ultimately cancelled. We are both extremely busy people who live in different states, but I am still disappointed that this project did not get off the ground in 2011.

8.  Complete an outline for my memoir

Done. A more targeted approach to the writing of this memoir will begin in 2012.

9.  Convince my sister to write on http://107federalstreet.blogspot.comat least once a week and do the same myself.

Done. Posts continue to hit the blog on a fairly regular basis.

10.  Drink at least four glasses of water every day.


11.  Complete at least one of the three classes required for me to teach English on the high school level.

Done. As stated last month, I originally needed to complete three classes in order to receive my certification, but after jumping through some administrative hoops and providing the state with documentation, I only need to complete two classes now. Therefore, resolution accomplished.

I also passed my English certification test with flying colors, scoring 191 out of a possible 200 points despite not studying for the test.

Several people told me that it was foolish to take this test without studying, making this one of my most satisfying achievements in 2011.

Spite makes everything better.

I hope to be certified to teach high school English by the end of 2012.

12.  Try liver.

Done. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.

13.  Publish an Op-Ed in a national newspaper.

Done. Unexpectedly. In a manner of speaking. In December, I wrote a blog post on suggested holiday gifts for teachers, and that post was picked up by a writer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and quoted heavily in the paper and on their website, with links back to my post.

I wasn’t planned, but my words managed to find their way into a newspaper after all. I also have a piece currently on submission to the Hartford Courant and await word on the possibility of its publication.

14.  Participate in The Moth as a storyteller, at a live show or on their radio broadcast.

Done. In November, I told a story at my second StorySlam and my third Moth event of the year. I attended a fourth Moth StorySlam last week, but unfortunately my name was not drawn from the hat, so I was unable to tell my story.

Still, three opportunities to tell a story and one victory was an enormous accomplishment for me in 2011 and has led to unexpected opportunities in 2012. The Moth has become an important part of my life, and I hope that it remains so for a long, long time.

15. See our rock opera (The Clowns) performed on stage as a full production or in a dramatic reading format.

Done. Since the reading in October, we have heard from two local theaters that may be interested in a full production of the show, and things look serious for a fall performance.

16.  Organize my basement.

Done. Thanks to the breakdown of my car yesterday, I finished this job.  Items still need to be thrown away, but even the throw-away piles are organized now.

17.  Land at least one paying client for my fledgling life coach or professional best man business.

Done. Working with my client has been a thrill, and I have learned a great deal from the process as well.  Helping someone to achieve his goals demands a great deal of introspection, and this has been beneficial to me as well.

It also appears that I will be taking on my second paying client in 2012.

18. Rid Elysha and myself of all education debt before the end of the year.

Partially completed. We eliminated well over half of our education debt in 2011.  While we failed to pay off all of our student loans, we made significant progress.

19. Replace the twelve ancient windows on the first and second floor of the house with more energy efficient ones.

Not completed. The funding for this never became available.

20. Make one mortgage payment from poker profits.

I end the year with 28% of a mortgage payment in earnings, a far cry from my goal. A lack of time to play poker contributed heavily to this failure.

21. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog on the first day of every month.