Skip to content

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 August.



1. Don’t die.

Dodged several bees. Still alive.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I lost 0 pounds in August 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 (lots of apples) and French fries, but I did it!

By the way, is rice a vegetable?

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

Done. Planks are getting surprisingly easy except for the elbow and shoulder pain (see below).

5. Do burpees three days a week.

I did 3-4 burpees per day, 3 times each week in August with the exception of the week spent in Seattle. My shoulder really, really hurts, and now my elbow hurts, too. I blame the stupid burpees.

I’m getting an X-ray.


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

Writing has finally commenced.I won’t finish before the end of the year, but I’ll pretend that I might.

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, but I’m enthusiastic! I have a good idea!

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. I received word yesterday that it was not accepted.

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 this month.

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


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

76 new subscribers in August for a total of 845 new subscribers in 2019. My list now stands at 2,955 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 August. Two written so far this year.

16. Write 100 letters in 2019.

Five letters written in August. 24 overall. Still have a lot of writing to do before the end of the year.

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.

DONE! Two shows produced in August:

The Great Hartford Story Slam (produced in conjunction with two other local producers) and my solo show in Seattle.

A total of 10 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, and we’ll be selling again at our upcoming shows.

Next step is to make it available online. Suggestions?

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.

DONE! I attended four Moth StorySLAMs in August:

Two in Boston, one in NYC, and one in Seattle. My name was drawn from the hat at both Boston slams and the Seattle slam.

NYC has not been as kind to me this year in terms of my name emerging from the hat.

This brings my total to 17 events so far.

22. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

DONE! I won my FIFTH and SIXTH Moth StorySLAMs in 2019. One in Boston and one in Seattle.

My 42nd and 43rd victories overall.

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. 

Just two new shows released in August. An erased episode and a botched recording in Seattle (neither one our fault) caused us to miss two weeks of episodes.

A total of 30 episodes so far 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.

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 in June! It went surprisingly well, and I’ve been receiving requests to do another.

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.

I wrote again in August.

No response yet.

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 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.

Progress! I’m doing a little bit every day.


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

I made one meal in August.

Five down. Seven 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 ride my bike with the kids in August. A week in Seattle and many, many days at Winding Trails has really curtailed the bike riding recently. Hopefully I can get the kids back on the bike now that autumn is on the doorstep.

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. 

I did not comment on physical appearance in August. I also explained my policy to my new batch of students, and once again, they loved the policy and supported it fully.

Adults often this this policy is crazy. Children always love it.

38. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2019.

DONE! While meandering through Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, Elysha spotted a pair of earrings that she loved but thought were too expensive. When she wasn’t looking, I took a photo of the earrings and grabbed a business card from the designer. Then I emailed the designer and asked that the earrings in the attached photo be shipped to me. I had hoped to have the earrings on her desk for the first day of school, but they arrived two days late, so I gave them to her before dinner two nights.

She was quite surprised to see them again.

Six surprises accomplished so far. At least two more in the works.

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.

40. Clean the basement. 

The dumpster is STILL in my driveway. It’s now a Labor Day weekend job.

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.

Last weekend, I double-bogied every hole. This did not result in an excellent score, or even a score close to my all time best, but it’s consistency. I did not blow up on any hole.

I also have a new putter, so it’s been a process of getting my putting back to where it once was, and my short game is a disaster with my new swing. When I dial those elements back in, I have a shot.

42. Play poker at least six times in 2019.

One game played in August. One game in 2019.

Five to go.

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.