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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 October.

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PERSONAL HEALTH

1. Don’t die.

Two cars drove by me at dangerously high speeds last night while trick-or-treating, but I managed to avoid getting squished.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I gained a pound in October. I suck.

I’ve lost 7 pounds in total.

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

Done!

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

Not done.

I’m in physical therapy for two shoulders and an elbow, so push-ups, sit ups, and planks are on hold.

I also stopped sit-ups, which probably wasn’t necessary.

5. Do burpees three days a week.

Not done. My physical therapist told me to stop the burpees. Maybe permanently.

Darn it.

WRITING CAREER

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

Writing has finally commenced. It’s going very slowly as I write and re-write the first ten pages.

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

I’m still 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 have two very good ideas.

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 last month 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 wrote about the results of that experiment in October.

This month I’m creating a vision board for myself. I think this is a ridiculous exercise with no discernible benefit, but people seem to think that the inspiration that a vision board provides is useful.

We’ll see.

I need to experiment with one more behavior before the end of the year. Suggestions?

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

DONE! 39 new subscribers in October for a total of 923 new subscribers in 2019. My list now stands at 3,033 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.

No letters written in October. Two written so far this year.

16. Write 100 letters in 2019.

Four letters written in October. 28 letters overall.

Still have a lot of writing to do before the end of the year.

17. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.

Days away from completion thanks to a kind, generous, and amazing human being who has been working on this project. I am so excited.

STORYTELLING

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

DONE! One show produced in October. A solo show at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

A total of 12 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! And what a strange turn of events!

After pitching myself to five TEDx conferences and getting nominated for a sixth with no luck, THREE TEDx organizers invited me to participate in their conferences n October.

I’ll be speaking at TEDx Berkshires in May of 2020.

I was invited to speak at both TEDx Trinity College and TEDx United World College in Changshu, China. Tragically, I had to turn these down due to scheduling conflicts.

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

DONE! I attended two Moth StorySLAMs – Housing Works in NYC and Oberon in Boston – in the month of October.

This brings my total to 20 events so far.

22. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

DONE! I won Moth StorySLAMs at Housing Works in NYC and at Oberon in Boston in October, bringing my total for 2019 to eight wins.

So far in 2019, I’ve won two slams in NYC, one slam in Seattle, and five slams in Boston.

45 victories in all.

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.

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 episodes released in October.

A total of 36 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. 

No stand up performed in October.

Three down. 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.

NEW PROJECTS

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 has commenced.

33. Organize our second floor bathroom.

Nearly complete. Huzzah.

MISCELLANEOUS

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

I made one meal for the family in October.

Seven down. Five to go.

35. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

I had a tentative date, but it looks like it will no longer work.

I’ll be trying for a new date in the spring of 2020.

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

I rode my bike with the kids 3 times in October for a total of 13 times in all.

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 October.

38. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2019.

DONE! Two more surprised in October and eight surprises so far.

In October, I surprised Elysha with a weekend getaway to Dorset, Vermont, informing her on a Wednesday night that I was taking here “somewhere” on Friday for the weekend. We had a fantastic time.

I also skipped the Patriots game on Sunday when my friend and seat mate was too ill to go (and it was pouring rain), so I drove home from Kripalu instead of straight to the game. I determined her location and appeared in aisle 4 of Whole Foods around 1:30 PM rather than the 11:00 PM arrival that was expected.

Added to these were the following surprises in 2019:

  • I mailed a card to Elysha’s school, telling her how I much I love her.

  • I mailed a second card – much more clever – to Elysha’s school, telling her how I much I love her.

  • I purchased a a Pusheen cross-stitch kit and gave it to her on a day she was giving surprises to the kids.

  • I hired a landscaper to install a garden plot in our backyard, which she found when came home. She spent the summer growing vegetables for the first time.

  • 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.

  • 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 two days later. She was quite surprised to see them again.

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 funds for this much needed project.

40. Clean the basement. 

Almost done! I filled a dumpster and need another, but the remaining stuff to throw away is in an area, organized and ready to go. Some final organizational issues need to be addressed, but it is so much better. So close to being done.

41. Set a new personal best in golf.

Just two rounds of golf in October, plus my first lesson with my driver. I’m striking the ball much better, but I still have yet to set a personal best.

42. Play poker at least six times in 2019.

Four games played in 2019. Two to go.

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

Two days spent together so far. We have another day planned in a week.

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

Done.