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Resolution update: June 2024

Every month, I report the progress of my yearly goals to monitor progress (or the lack thereof) and hold myself accountable.
 
The following are the June 2024 results and a mid-year analysis of any changes needed to increase my chances of success.

PERSONAL FITNESS

1. Don’t die.

I was dropped off by an Uber driver in Scottsdale, Arizona, well after midnight, in a dark, sketchy place about a mile from my hotel.

I thought it was a set-up, and I was about to be jumped. I was momentarily excited about the prospect of fighting a small handful of bad guys because I’m an idiot.

Instead, I only had to survive the 95-degree walk to the hotel.

Thus, I’m still alive.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Excellent

2. Lose 10 pounds.

I lost two pounds in June. Back to even.

These ten pounds are not falling off like the 38 pounds I lost in 2023, which is quite annoying.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Excellent

3. Do a targeted push-up workout at least four times per week. 

Done.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

4. Complete 100 sit-ups four times per week. 

Done.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

5. Complete three one-minute planks four times a week.

Done.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

6. Cycle for at least five days every week. 

Done. I missed only three days in June due to traveling, but I also cycled more than once on several days.

I’ve recorded 182 rides in 182 days in 2024.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

7. Meet or beat the USGA’s average golfing handicap for men of 14.2. 

My current handicap is 27.3.

Ouch.

The sad thing:

I’m playing better than ever before.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Doubtful

WRITING CAREER

8. Complete my eighth novel.

I continue to work on the book based on the editor’s feedback. I am making excellent progress. I suspect it will be done by July.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

9. Write my next Storyworthy book.

I still need to meet with my agent and editor to determine the subject of this next book.

I have a great idea, but I suspect they will want a different idea.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

10. Write, edit, and revise my golf memoir.

I discussed this book with my agent last month and made a plan to proceed.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Likely

11. Write my “Advice for Kids” book.

Solid progress was made in June. Inching along.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

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

I’m writing children’s books about Connecticut’s infamous October 2011 snowstorm and another about the gypsy moth invasion of New England in 1981. Rough drafts of both are complete. I’ll be reading them to my class in September for feedback.

I have two other ideas that I am also excited about.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

13. Write about my childhood in partnership with my sister, Kelli, at least twice per month. 

Kelli and I spent a day together in February but forgot to discuss this topic. We still need to discuss.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

14. Launch a Substack.

Substack forthcoming. I’m in discussions with folks about how to monetize best.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Likely

15. Write a new solo show.

All the work on this project is being done in my head since I’ve never written down anything I ever say onstage, so I don’t have much to show for my work, but I am working hard nonetheless. This month, I had a structural breakthrough that I’m excited about.

I’ll be debuting the show in November at TheaterWorks in Hartford.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

16. Write a musical.

No progress.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Doubtful

17. Submit at least three Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times for consideration.

One story is still in progress.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

18. Write at least four letters to my father.

One letter written in 2024 so far.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Likely

19. Write 150 letters.

I wrote 30 letters in June. Recipients included former students, clients, colleagues, friends, a student’s dog, and Clara, who is away at camp.

I’ve written a total of 105 letters in 2024.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

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

I have now identified five authors to whom I will write. No actual writing has been done yet.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Likely

STORYTELLING/SPEAKING CAREER

21. Perform a new solo show.

The month has been set:

TheaterWorks in Hartford in November. Dates should be finalized soon.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024:

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

Re-recording began this month!

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Certainty

23. Record and produce at least two new Storyworthy courses.

I’ve produced this year’s webinars, which will be sold as separate courses, so I’m declaring this one complete.

We’ll also be carving up the new Storyworthy for Business course into smaller, separate courses, extending this goal considerably.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Done

24. Produce a total of six Speak Up storytelling events in 2024.

Four shows produced in 2024 so far:

  • “Matt and Jeni Are Unprepared” on March 2 at TheaterWorks in Hartford.
  • “Sportsing” on March 16 at the Connecticut Museum of Culture and History
  • “School” on May 3 at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford, CT
  • Speak Up – CPA Prison Arts show on June 5 at The Pond House in West Hartford, CT

We also have the following show scheduled for 2024:

  • October 5: Rescheduled “Stores Sell: Storyworthy Strategies to Grow Your Business and Brand” release party at the Connecticut Museum of Culture and History

More to come!

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Probable

25. Submit pitches to at least three upcoming TEDx events, hoping to be accepted by one.

No progress.

I spoke at TEDxBU on April 20. It went very well, and the recording should be online soon.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

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

I attended one Moth StorySLAM in June.

Six Moth events so far in 2024.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

27. Win at least one Moth StorySLAM.

Done again!

I won the Boston StorySLAM on June 25. My 61st Moth StorySLAM victory!

I also won a Boston StorySLAM on March 27.

I’ve won two out of three StorySLAMs so far this year.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Done

28. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I competed in the Moth GrandSLAM in Boston in March and placed second.

I should’ve won, but I think that a lot.

I’ll be performing in a GrandSLAM in Seattle, NYC, and Washington, DC later this year.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

29. Pitch “You’re a Monster, Matthew Dicks” to at least a dozen theaters and/or directors in 2024.

I’ve pitched “You’re a Monster, Matthew Dicks” to one theater in January.

I performed the show on March 30 at the Mopco Improv Theater in Schenectady, New York. It went quite well.

I pitched the show to a Boston theater in June. No response thus far.

More pitching is planned for this summer.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

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

No progress.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

31. Perform stand-up at least six times. 

No progress.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

32. Pitch three stories to This American Life.

One story has been pitched thus far.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

33. Submit at least three pitches to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

No progress.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

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

In terms of completing the goal, I’ve decided to count

  1. My monthly Storyworthy newsletters
  2. Any other Storyworthy newsletters containing new content
  3. Speak Up newsletters
  4. Weekly “Homework for Life” newsletters I write for Storyworthy VIP members

Given those categories, I’ve written 18 newsletters so far this year.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Likely

HOME

35. Organize the basement.

Incremental progress.

One of the problems with this goal is I’m not quite sure about the definition of “organized.” My standard might be unattainable. So I’m going to declare “organized” in this context to mean:

  1. Organize all bins in the basement in a logical, identifiable order
  2. Eliminate anything no longer wanted
  3. Store Elysha’s classroom materials in an organized manner

Based on these three goals, progress remains incremental but feels much more doable.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

36. Clear the garage of unwanted items.

All large items are now gone. Huzzah!

Elysha’s long-forgotten classroom detritus must still be eliminated, but that is it!

It is likely a summertime job.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

FAMILY/FRIENDS

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

Done.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

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

Clara is at camp, so I can’t take a photo of her unless the camp posts one on its app.

Charlie was also in Washington, DC with the Scouts for five days, but he and his Scoutmasters took photos, so I didn’t miss a day.

Otherwise done.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

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

Just one photo with Elysha in June.

I simply don’t have the instinct to take a photo of myself, so unless ELysha or the kids think of it, it doesn’t happen.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Unlikely

40. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

No progress. But in a strange coincidence, a teacher in our school grew up in Attleboro, where the Heavy Metal Playhouse was located, and she is friends with the person who manages Crystal Village, where it was located.

Given how spread out my friends are today, an in-person reunion is probably impossible, but it gave me a little hope.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Unlikely

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

Done.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

42. Surprise Elysha at least 12 times.

Three surprises in June:

  1. “Tommy” on Broadway last week
  2. Cheesecake delivered to Elysha and her teammates during an especially challenging day
  3. A surprise weekend spent in Rhode Island with friends

Five surprises in 2024 so far:

  1. Tickets to “Little Shop of Horrors” on Broadway
  2. Tickets to “Merrily We Go Along” on Broadway
  3. “Tommy” on Broadway last week
  4. Cheesecake delivered to Elysha and her teammates during an especially challenging day
  5. A surprise weekend spent in Rhode Island with friends

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

43. Play poker at least six times.

No progress. I’m so dumb.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

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

Two days spent together in June.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Likely

MUSIC

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

I memorized the lines to “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Young Americans and “Fox on the Run” by Sweet.

Memorized so far:

“Our Wonderful Lives” by Styx
“Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Young Americans
“Fox on the Run” by Sweet

Three songs memorized in 2024 so far.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

46. Practice the flute at least four times per week.

I’ve practiced just once in June. Once the school year ended, my practice ended.

The barrier to this goal is this:

I played the flute from third to eighth grade and was a good player, so I expected to pick it right back up. This didn’t happen, so I feel like a failure every time I try to practice.

Which is stupid. Something I need to overcome.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Unlikely

MISCELLANEOUS PROJECTS

47. Read at least 12 books.

I read five books in June, bringing my total to 14 so far, and thus, I completed the goal.

”You Like It Darker” by Stephen King
”A Short Guide to a Happy Life” by Anna Quindlen
”How to Say Goodbye” by Wendy McNaughton
”We’re All In This Together” by Tom Papa
”Smart Brevity” by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz

I’m currently reading:

“The Power Broker” by Robert Caro
“Hello, Molly” by Molly Shannon
“Excellent Advice for Living” by Kevin Kelly
“The Deerfield Massacre” by James Swanson

Books read in 2024 include:

  1. “Upstream” by Chip Heath
  2. ”Happy Pepple Are Annoying” by Josh Peck
  3. ”Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama” by Bob Odenkirk
  4. “The Power of Regret” by Daniel Pink
  5. “Fluke” by Brian Klass
  6. “Misfit” by Gary Gulman
  7. “How to Weep in Public” by Jacqueline Novak
  8. “The Anxious Generation” by Jonathan Haidt
  9. “The Demon of Unrest” by Erik Larson
  10. ”You Like It Darker” by Stephen King
  11. ”A Short Guide to a Happy Life” by Anna Quindlen
  12. ”How to Say Goodbye” by Wendy McNaughton
  13. ”We’re All In This Together” by Tom Papa
  14. ”Smart Brevity” by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Done

48. Finish reading TIME’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time

I did not read any of these books in June. The school library closed, so my access was denied.

I will continue to pursue this goal in September.

I may need to find or purchase some of the books on the list that are not in my school’s library.

I’ve read 36 books from the list thus far.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

49. Unify my passwords using a password manager.

I’m nearly complete. One stray program was found in June, so I’m still giving myself more time to ensure that everything is complete.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Certainty

50. Learn to use QuickBooks for my business.

Done! Invoicing, payroll, and taxes are now all managed via QuickBooks. It’s much easier than I thought.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Done

51. Rectify the heating problem in my studio.

I received estimates on this project, which is more than expected.

As a temporary measure, I purchased an electric radiator and plugged it into a Bluetooth outlet to turn the heat on before going downstairs, allowing the room to be warm when I entered.

This solution might be better than the thousands of dollars required to install heat, and it might be my permanent solution, depending on the possibility of finishing other parts of the basement.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Certainty if the electric radiator ends up being the solution.

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

I learned no names in June since the school year ended. Starting in September, I will acquire a list of all staff and begin checking off names to faces rather than spotting someone in the hallway and wondering who the person is.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Probably given this new plan

53. Assemble a complete toolbox.

I’ve purchased all the necessary tools and a box to organize them. However, I still need to gather the stray tools around the house, consolidate everything into one place, and eliminate redundant tools.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Certainty

54. Edit our wedding footage into a movie of the day.

No progress. I’m actually looking forward to this job, but it will require me to learn how to edit videos using a new program.

Thankfully, I employ someone who knows exactly how to do this.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

55. Memorize three new poems.

I memorized James Joyce’s “Tree” in June. I can also sign the poem.

I also have memorized “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, which is longer than you think.

I’m still working on Act V Scene 5, lines 18-28 of Macbeth.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Near certainty

56. Complete my Eagle Scout project.

No progress, but I really want to complete this project.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Possible

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

Done.

LIKELIHOOD OF COMPLETION IN 2024: Certainty