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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 March 2021.


1. Don’t die.

I’m vaccinated now and had a colonoscopy, so my chances of meeting this goal have significantly increased.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

Our NordicTrack exercise bike remains broken after another much-awaited parts failed to repair the bike. We are now awaiting another four parts, including two that have already been replaced once before, but I have now gone to war with NordicTrack, leveraging the power of my social media to quickly get their attention and initiate a rapid response.

It was quite amusing. Two hours after my first tweet, the phone began ringing. Shipments were expedited. Warranties and subscriptions were extended. Apologies were profuse.

All this is to say I can’t exercise like I want to since the pandemic has kept me from entering the gym for more than a year and the weather has kept me from my daily bike rides.

It’s killing me.

That said, I lost five pounds in March, thanks primarily to not eating for two days for my colonoscopy prep, better biking weather leading to a few long rides,. and the launch of the golf seasons.

A total of 6 pounds lost in in 2021.

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


In fact, I did push ups, sit ups, and planks on all 31 days of March to compensate for the loss of the bike.

4. Cycle for at least 5 days every week. 

I was only able to ride my bike for a total of 9 days in March while waiting for parts for our NordicTrack.

5. Set a new personal best in golf.

Two rounds of golf played! Scores were not great, but adjustments to my driver have me hitting the ball 180-200 yards, which I assume is a fluke that will soon regress to the mean.


6. Complete my seventh novel before the end of 2021.

Progress continues. My agent has requested some of the book in order to garner a sale, so I kicked my ass into second gear.

7. Complete “Someday is Today” before the end of 2021. 

Progress continues.

8. Complete “Storyworthy 2” before the end of 2021.

I sent the nearly completed version of this book to my agent for her review. I await word on her thoughts.

9. Write/complete at least three new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist, and one protagonist who is not neurotypical.

I began writing my first picture book of 2021.

10. Write 40,000 words of a memoir.

No progress.

11. Write a new screenplay.

No progress.

12. Write a solo show.

Work continued in earnest. I didn’t meet with my collaborators in March, but it’s simply because I’m making solid progress and want to wait until I stall out to meet with them.

13. Write a musical.

Work continues. Slowly.

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

No progress. I did attend a class on strategies for submitting pieces to Op-Ed departments, including the New York Times. I learned a lot.

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

No progress. I am told, however. that Lavar Burton has a podcast where he reads speculative fiction.

I may submit something there.

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

No progress. I still need to write about my experiences with ASMR and my reading of 50 Shades of Gray from last year.

If you have suggestions on something I should try or adopt, please let me know.

17. Increase my newsletter subscriber base to 6,000 (from 4,497).

I added 52 subscribers in March for a total of 4,698.

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

18. Send a newsletter to readers at least 25 times (every other week). 

Two newsletters sent in March. Still on pace to hit my goal.

19. Write at least six letters to my father.

Two letters in total in 2021.

20. Write 100 letters in 2021.

Eleven letters written and sent in March. Mostly addressed to students, but two sent to my own kids. A total of 17 so far in 2021.

21. Convert 365 Days of Elysha into a book.

No progress.

22. Complete and release my limited episode podcast on “Twenty-One Truths About Love.”

DONE. Completed and published. You can listen to the five episode series in the Speak Up Storytelling feed.


23. Produce a total of 6 Speak Up storytelling events.

Elysha and I produced our second  show of 2021 on March 20. We have another show scheduled for April 24.

We’ve also partnered with a new venue to produce our first live show in more than a year, outdoors. Details coming!

24. Pitch myself to at least 3 upcoming TEDx events with the hopes of being accepted by one.

No progress. Waiting for TEDx conferences to open up for the fall of 2021 and 2022.

25. Pitch myself to Master Class at least three times in 2021. 

No progress.

26. Attend at least 5 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

I attended one Moth StorySLAM and one Moth GrandSLAM in March.

A total of four events so far in 2021.

27. Win at least one Moth StorySLAM.

DONE! I won my 51st Moth StorySLAM in February. Certainly not the same as a live, onstage StorySLAM, but it’s always an honor to tell a story to an audience of any kind.

28. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I did not win my recent Moth GrandSLAM, but I did very well. I was forced to perform first, which limited my chances of winning considerably.

I’ve won Moth StorySLAMs from first position, but I’ve never won a Moth GrandSLAM, nor have I seen anyone win a GrandSLAM, from first position.

That said, the winner – a storyteller who I know well – told a great story, too.

Hopefully I’ll get at least one more chance this year depending on the backlog of storytellers in The Moth’s queue.

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

One episode produced in March. A total of 11 episodes so far in 2021. Not an ideal month but still ahead of schedule.

30. Perform stand-up at least 3 times in 2021.

No progress.

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

No progress.

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

No progress.

33. Produce at least 12 new videos for my YouTube channel in 2021. 

I produced and released a video analyzing the response to a question by White House spokesperson Jen Psaki.

One video produced so far.

34. Explore a means of producing my storytelling instruction asynchronously for an online platform.

DONE! Partners found. Contracts signed. We are on our way!


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

This has very much become an Elysha job, so my job is to nag her about getting it done. I have so many incredible prints given to me by Elysha that remain sitting in a box.

Kind of killing me.

36. Assemble an emergency preparedness kit.

I purchased survival straws that make contaminated water safe to drink in January.

I still have a long way to go.

37. Clear the basement.

Several items removed every week in March along with trash pickup.

Incrementalism at work.


38. Call brother or sister once per week. 

No calls in March. I did start reading my sisters novel, though.

I am a terrible brother.

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


40. Take at least one photo with Elysha and myself each week.

No photos taken of Elysha and myself in March.

I’m really failing at this goal so far.

I have added the task to my calendar.

41. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

No progress.

42. I will not comment, positively or negatively, about physical appearance of any person save my wife and children, in 2021 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall.

Done. A negative comment entered and persisted in my mind for quite a while, which was disappointing since I have managed to eliminate most judgment of a person’s physical appearance after years of adhering to this goal, but no comment was made.

43. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2021.

I surprised Elysha once in January by sending flowers to her while at work on her birthday. They were reportedly some of the best flowers she has ever received.

I surprised Elysha with a Pusheen knit hat in February. It was actually a replacement hat after the one I purchased for her birthday did not fit.

Two surprises so far in 2021

44. Play poker at least six times in 2021.

I hosted and played poker once in March. My second game of 2021.

In have another game scheduled for April.

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

Now that the weather is improving and we are both vaccinated, we plan on getting together in April.


46. Play music in class.

Success. I have introduced my students to several specific songs so far, in addition to the music of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and Bruce Springsteen.

To my students’ credit, many of them are enjoying the music and keeping an open mind.

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


I averaged a little more than 3 days of practice per week in March.

48. Convert our wedding video to a transferable format.

Efforts were made again. Progress was still zilch. I’m going to need a professional of some kind to assist. I can’t get the file extracted from this 18 year-old Mac.

Know anyone a person or company that specializes in this sort of thing?

49. Memorize 5 new poems.

I’ve memorized “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Admittedly I knew more than half of it before I began, and I will continue to need to reinforce it before I am sure that it’s committed to memory for good, but it’s essentially done.

I’m still working on “In Flander’s Field” by John McCrae.

50. Write to at least 3 colleges about why they should hire me.

No progress.

51. Understand Instagram better.

No progress.

52. Complete my Eagle Scout project.

No progress.

53. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog and social media on the first day of every month.