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Resolution update: January 2023

Every month I report the progress of my yearly goals in order to monitor progress (or the lack thereof) and hold myself accountable.
The following are the result from January 2023.


1. Don’t die.

Didn’t even come close to death in January, which can be quite an accomplishment for me.

As always, I plan on living forever or die trying.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I lost 11 pounds in January, and it was quite a ride.

I became very sick in the last week of December and lost eight pounds in three days, but by the end of the week, I had put those eight pounds right back on, as I expected.

Then 2023 arrived, and I made two decisions that helped me lose the first 50 pounds more than a decade ago:

  1. Exercise harder. Not longer, but harder.
  2. Eat a little bit less.

So the intensity of my indoor bike rides grew considerably, and I started eating slightly smaller portions and snacking slightly less.

It worked. As I knew it would.

When my bike broke a week ago, I got worried that my weight loss might plateau or even reverse, so after trying to jump rope (my ceilings are too low), I took action. I doubled my push-ups, sit-ups, and planks. I hiked about five miles with Charlie with a backpack purposely laden with extra weight. I avoided sitting whenever possible. I took two bike rides in the cold.

And it worked. Miraculously.

The bike was repaired yesterday, so I immediately jumped on and embarked on another high-intensity ride.

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

Done. Doubled over the past ten days after my bike broke.

4. Cycle for at least five days every week. 

I had not missed a day in January until the bike broke on January 22. Waiting for it to be repaired. I managed two outdoor rides when the weather was warmer, but it’s otherwise been too cold and too rainy to ride outdoors.

5. Improve my golfing handicap by two strokes. 

I played golf in Florida with friends in January, and though I didn’t hit the ball well, my chipping, sand shots, and putting were outstanding.

79 putts in 45 holes.

I didn’t score particularly well, either, but I somehow managed to lower my handicap from 17.6 to 15.9.

I won’t be playing golf again until the weather improves, but lessons continue in earnest.


6. Complete my eighth novel.

The book is about half complete, but I haven’t made any progress yet in 2023.

7. Write my next Storyworthy book.

I haven’t signed the contract for this book yet, so I await the paperwork. But I continue to tinker with the outline.

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

I have an idea for one new picture book involving numbers.

9. Write a new solo show.

I’ve been working on this quite a bit in January, adding transitions, anecdotes, and jokes to the structure that my director, Kaia, and I have already created.

I’m excited about this project.

10. Perform a new solo show.

My first-choice theater is hoping to find dates for me in their already packed lineup. For them to even be willing to consider me for their stage is thrilling. Fingers crossed it can happen.

11. Write a musical.

My friend Kaia and I are writing a musical that we will also perform, even though I cannot sing. She writes the music and lyrics. She and I write the story.

I need to write some of the story in order for Kaia to begin writing music. I haven’t done that yet.

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

No progress.

13. Write at least four letters to my father.

No progress.

14. Write 100 letters in 2022.

A whopping 33 letters were sent in January. Recipients included students and former students, my own children, colleagues, two servers, the owner of a restaurant, the CEO of Barnes & Noble (which was returned to me unopened), and the makers of Pirate Booty, asking if the “booty” refers to private treasure or a pirate’s butt since the snacks themselves resemble little butts.

I ask my children and my students this question about Pirate Booty all the time, simply to annoy them. I finally wrote to the company in search of an answer.

I await word.

15. Convert 365 Days of Elysha into a book.

No progress. There is probably a company that does this sort of thing.

16. Read at least 12 books. 

In January, I read the book “Fairy Tale” by Stephen King.

I’m in the middle of reading the following books:

“Sapiens” by Yuval Harari
“From Saturday Night to Sunday Night” by Dick Ebersol
“Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty
“The Groucho Letters”

One book read so far in 2023.

17. Write to at least six authors about a book I love. 

No progress.


18. Complete the re-recording of Storyworthy For Business. 

“Storyworthy” for Business is complete and available for purchase.

I want to produce a much-improved version of the course ASAP. Module 1 is now re-recorded.

19. Record the next Storyworthy course.

No progress.

20. Produce a total of six Speak Up storytelling events in 2023

I’ve scheduled four shows in 2023, including some remarkable venues. Details forthcoming.

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

No progress.

I’ll be speaking at a TEDx event at the University of Connecticut in a couple of weeks.

22. Attend at least eight Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

No shows attended in January.

23. Win at least one Moth StorySLAM.

No shows attended in January.

24. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

Awaiting an invitation to a Moth GrandSLAM in 2023. I have wins in New York, Boston, Washington DC, and Seattle, so I will eventually be invited back.

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

No progress.

26. Perform stand-up at least six times in 2022.

No progress.

27. Pitch three stories to This American Life.

No progress.

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

No progress.

29. Send a newsletter to readers at least 50 times. 

A total of eight emails were sent in January. Two were my bi-weekly lesson and update, and the other six were related to my current Anatomy of a Story challenge and promotion.


30. Clear the basement.

Incremental progress was made. With one-third of the basement used for my studio, a more serious reorganization is needed.

31. Clean and clear the garage.

Incremental progress was made. I have several larger items that may require a trip to the dump.

32. Furnish and decorate the studio. 

Nearly done. My production manager, Kaia, has done a remarkable job adding bookshelves, lighting, and artwork to the walls. We need one more bookshelf, and the recent water damage needs to be repaired, but the work is nearly complete.

33. Eliminate clothing not being worn and closet bins.

One bin was eliminated. I also eliminated all of the tee shirts that I no longer wear. Solid progress.


34. Text or call my brother or sister once per month. 

Done. I exchanged texts with my sister several times.

35. Take at least one photo of my children every day.


36. Take at least one photo with Elysha and me each week.

Photos were taken in two out of four weeks, which is sadly good for me.

37. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

No progress.

38. I will not comment – positively or negatively – about the physical appearance of any person save my wife and children in order to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall.

Done. Piece of cake.

39. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2023.

I left six birthday cards – redesigned from non-birthday cards – for Elysha around the house, in her car, and in her coat pocket on her birthday.

One surprise so far in 2023.

40. Play poker at least six times in 2023.

No progress.

41. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 30 years.

No progress.


42. Memorize the lyrics to at least five favorite songs. 

I’m working on Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way.”

43. Learn to play the piano by practicing at least three times a week. 



44. Learn the names of every employee who works at my school.

Progress! I learned the names of two paraprofessionals who I don’t work with directly but occasionally see in the lunchroom.

45. Convert our wedding video to a transferable format.

Progress! The laptop is in the hands of a professional, who seems to be fairly confident about extracting the video. Thanks to Casey Rosseau for sending me his contact info.

46. Memorize five new poems.

No progress.

47. Write to at least three colleges about why they should hire me.

No progress.

48. Complete my Eagle Scout project.

No progress.

49. Post my progress regarding these resolutions on this blog and social media on the first day of every month.