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Each month I review the progress of my yearly goals and report on that progress as a means of holding myself accountable.

Here are the results for July.



1. Don’t die.

Unless an asteroid destroys the planet, I’m not going anywhere.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I gained two points in July because I suck.

I’ve lost 6 pounds in total.

3. Eat at least three servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day, six days a week.

Done! Admittedly it was mostly fruit and French fries, but I did it!

4. Do at least 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 3 one-minute planks for five days a week.


5. Do burpees three days a week.

I did 3-4 burpees per day, 3 times each week in July. My shoulder really, really hurts. I blame the stupid burpees.


6. Complete my seventh novel before the end of 2019.

I met with my editor and the marketing and publicity team. The good news is that she’s very excited about my next novel idea. The bad news is that she didn’t choose the book that’s half done. So I begin anew with a brand new idea, making the likelihood that I’ll finish it this year unlikely.

But I’ll try!

7. Write/complete at least five new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist. 

I’m currently working on three different children’s books. I like one very much.

8. Write a memoir.

Work continues.

9. Write a new screenplay.

No progress.

10. Write a musical.

No progress.

11. Submit at least five Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times for consideration.

I submitted a piece to the NY Times Modern Love column in April.

One down. Four to go.

12. Submit one or more short stories to at least three publishing outlets.

No progress.

13. Select three behaviors that I am opposed to and adopt them for one week, then write about my experiences on the blog.

I spent July strategically smiling in hopes that the biofeedback that a smile sends to the brain would alter my mood positively. I’ll be writing about the results later this week.

I’m in need of two more behaviors to adopt.


14. Increase my storytelling newsletter subscriber base to 3,000.

68 new subscribers in July for a total of 769 new subscribers in 2019. My list now stands at 2,879 subscribers.

If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, you can do so here:

15. Write at least six letters to my father.

One letter written in June for Father’s Day. One written so far this year.

16. Write 100 letters in 2019.

Five letters written in July. 19 overall. Still have a lot of writing to do this summer.

17. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.

A kind, generous, and amazing human being has begun work on this project.

I am thrilled.


18. Produce a total of 10 Speak Up storytelling events.

No shows produced in July. A total of 8 shows produced so far in 2019.

19. Begin selling Speak Up merchandise at our events and/or online.

Done! We began selling tee shirts and totes at our live podcast recording.

Next step is to make it available online.

20. Pitch myself to at least 5 upcoming TEDx events with the hopes of being accepted by one.

Done! I’ve pitched myself to five TEDx conferences and was nominated for a sixth.

All have now passed on my pitches. No one wants me.

I’ll just keep pitching.

21. Attend at least 15 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

I attended one Moth StorySLAM in July, bringing my total to 13 events so far.

22. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

Done! I won my FOURTH Moth StorySLAM on 2019 and my 41st StorySLAM overall at The Oberon in Cambridge, MA.

23. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I finished in second place by a tenth of a point in a Moth GrandSLAM in Boston in January.

I finished in fourth place in a Moth GrandSLAM in Boston in March, but I think I might’ve told my best story ever.

I competed but did not win the NYC Moth GrandSLAM in June. Silent scoring (I’m not a fan) prevents me from knowing how I placed (though I may be able to call and ask).

I may be competing in one more Moth GrandSLAM in NYC this year depending on the timing of the GrandSLAM and the number of storytellers in the queue ahead of me.

24. Produce at least 40 episodes of our new podcast Speak Up Storytelling. 

Four new shows released in July. A total of 28 so far. We haven’t missed a week in 2019.

Listen to our latest here or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

25. Perform stand up at least four times in 2019. 

I performed at an open mic in July at The Elbow Room in West Hartford. It went well.

Three to go.

26. Develop and teach a Storytelling Master Class, in which participants have an opportunity to tell at least two stories over the course of the day  or tell a story and then retell it based on feedback.

Done on June 1! It went surprisingly well.

27. Pitch at least three stories to This American Life.

No progress.

28. Pitch myself to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast at least three times.

I wrote to Marc early in January, asking for him to consider me as a guest.

No response yet. I will write again this month.

I’ve also officially requested that my publicist assist me in this endeavor.

If you know Marc Maron, or know someone who knows Marc or know someone who knows Marc’s producer or booker, please let me know. I know that Marc and I would have an amazing conversation, and it’s currently my biggest dream to get on his show.


29. Host a fundraiser for RIP Medical Debt, which would allow us to relieve the medical debt of struggling Americans for pennies on the dollar.

No progress.

30. Complete my Eagle Scout project.

No progress.

31. Print, hang, and/or display at least 25 prints, photos, or portraits in our home.

We received our estimate from the painters. Depending on other expenses, we will likely be painting several rooms this summer or fall, at which point things can be hung on the walls.

32. Renovate our first floor bathroom.

Work will commence THIS MONTH. And not a moment too soon. The tile floor is falling apart.

33. Organize our second floor bathroom.

No progress. Summertime project that should commence soon.


34. Cook at least 12 good meals (averaging one per month) in 2019.

I made no meals in July

Four down. Eight to go.

35. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

I have a tentative date set. Attempting to confirm attendees now!

36. Ride my bike with my kids at least 25 times in 2019.

I did not tide my bike with the kids in July. A week at Disney and two weeks at camp have made any time at home limited.

37. I will not comment, positively or negatively, about physical appearance of any person save my wife and children, in 2019 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall. 

While walking the streets of Disney World, I commented on people who were wearing sweatshirts and jeans in the 95 degree heat. I didn’t speak in derogatory terms, but I questioned why they were making those choices. Elysha says this should not count, but I did comment on physical appearance in a way I don’t want to even notice.

38. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2019.

While vacationing at Disney World, I surprised Elysha by scheduling a second dessert party and VIP viewing for the Magic Kingdom fireworks. We had enjoyed this treat on our first night in Disney, but it was expensive. But the fireworks were also our favorite part of the entire trip, so I decided to surprise Elysha by repeating the experience on the last night of the trip, regardless of the expense.

It was worth every penny.

Five surprises accomplished so far.

39. Replace the 12 ancient, energy-inefficient windows in our home with new windows that will keep the cold out and actually open in the warmer months.

I’ve got a window guy now in the event we manage to cobble together the fund for this much needed project.

Maybe I should start a Go Fund Me campaign.

40. Clean the basement. 

The dumpster is supposed to be here TODAY. It is not. The company cancelled. They are excellent at taking the reservation but not so good at keeping the reservation.

I’m so annoyed. I’m also rescheduling.

41. Set a new personal best in golf.

I started taking lessons this summer, and I’ve committed myself to constant practice. The results are beginning to show, not so much in my scores this weekend but in my swing and understanding of how I should be swinging. It’s all very new, so it’ll be bad before it’s good, but for the first time, I have a path to playing better.

42. Play poker at least six times in 2019.

No games in all of 2019. I love poker. What the hell is wrong with me?

43. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 25 years.

Two days spent together so far. I’ve attempted a couple other days but schedules didn’t line up. Still trying like hell. I miss the guy.

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