Resolution update: 2014 in review

In an effort to hold myself accountable, I post the progress of my yearly goals at the end of each month on this blog. The following are the results through December and through the end of 2014.


In 2014, I managed to completed 15 out of the 25 goals that I set for myself back in January for a 60% completion rate. This is actually fairly good in comparison to previous years.

In the four years that I have been charting my goals, my completion rates have been 60% (2013), 30% (2012), 62% (2011) and 44% (2010).

In examining my successes and failures, I’ve noted the following:

  • I had four goals related to storytelling and public speaking, and I managed to complete them all.
  • I had seven goals related to writing and completed four of them. I failed to complete the two novels that I wanted to finish in 2014, as well as the children’s books that I had hoped to sell, primarily because of a book that required more revision than I had anticipated. A great deal of progress was made, however, on those three failed goals.
  • I had four goals related to personal health and completed three of them, falling five pounds short of my weight-related goal.
  • I completed both of my organizational goals of the New Year.

My biggest disappointment of 2014 was the goal related to podcasting. I looked forward to launching a podcast all year and allowed technical challenges to stand in my way. I should’ve been podcasting two years ago.

There were three goals that I did not continue to actively pursue in 2014. My desire to become certified as a high school teacher waned as I realized all that I would be giving up to leave the position I currently hold.

I also made no real attempt to run another A-Mattzing Race in 2014. Though I’ve loved running them in the past, there was simply no time for  race in 2014. I launched a summer writing academy instead and am happy with the tradeoff.

I also made no attempt to write any short stories in 2014. I wrote two short stories in 2013, but both were written upon waves of inspiration (and in one case, a bet). When short stories became an expectation rather than a surprise in 2014, the desire waned considerably.

Here are the final results from 2013:

1. Don’t die.

Most important goal accomplished.

2. Lose ten pounds.

I was down eight pounds at one point, but as I end the year, I am down just five pounds. Weight goals are hard given the food that is eaten in the holidays. You almost need a buffer going into December to avoid the holiday bounce.

3. Do at least 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups five days a week.


4. Launch at least one new podcast.

My goal was to launch a second podcast in addition to the first, which never got off the ground. Almost all of the problems with this are related to my website, which is badly in need of an update. My intention was to rebuild the entire website myself, so I could make changes and updates in the future without relying on someone else, and I still intend to do that. 

5. Complete my sixth novel before the end of the summer 2014.

This book is more than halfway finished. My primary stumbling block was my fifth novel, which I revised throughout much of 2014. I thought this book would be finished by February, but when work on it continued, the other writing projects suffered.

6. Complete my seventh novel.

This book is more than halfway finished. Same problems as above.

7. Sell one children’s book to a publisher.

My agent and I swapped by three manuscripts back and forth throughout 2014. They are currently back in my hands and nearly ready to return to her. She will pitch them in early 2015, and with some luck, an editor will like one or more of them enough to make an offer.    

8. Complete a book proposal for my memoir.

The proposal for a memoir comprised of 30-40 of my Moth stories is complete. The process of sending the book to editors for their consideration has begun.

A memoir comprising a season of golf is also complete. My agent and I are in the process of preparing the manuscript for sale.

Work also continues on a memoir that focuses on the two years that encompassed my arrest and trial for a crime I did not commit. These two years also include an armed robbery, the onset of my post traumatic stress disorder, my period of homelessness, and the time I spent living with a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Work also began on a new book which will be part memoir and part instructive.

9. Host at least one Shakespeare Circle.

I scheduled this for December 27, but because of the holidays, I was unable to get enough people to attend to make it happen. I have lots of interest but waited until the last minute and chose a date that didn’t work with most. I plan to reschedule for early 2015. 

10. Write a screenplay.

Done! Back in my hands with notes from my film agent. She likes it. I’m thrilled.

11. Write at least three short stories.

I failed to write a single short story in 2014. After writing two short stories in 2013, I thought that three was a reasonable goal. 

12. Write a collection of poetry using existing and newly written poems.

My agent has spoken. Not only does poetry not earn any money, but she doesn’t think my poetry is worth my time in terms of time and money. She encouraged me to send some of my better poems to journals and contests, which I may do at some point. Many of my poems are autobiographical, and it turns out that at least a few will make excellent Moth stories.

13. Become certified to teach high school English by completing one required class.

I remain one class and $50 away from completion. I’m also a lot less certain about wanting to teach English at the high school level. I kind of love my job as it stands. Why change?

That said, having the additional certification would be great in terms of future endeavors.

14. Publish at least one Op-Ed in a physical newspaper.

Done! In October I published an Op-Ed in the Hartford Courant about communicating with students in the digital world.

My third column in Seasons magazine also published in December.


I also published a piece in The Cook’s Cook, a magazine for aspiring food writers and recipe testers. You can read the April-May issue here.


15. Attend at least 10 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

I competed in a Moth StorySLAM in New York on December 29 at The Bitter End and won. 

This brings my total number of events for the year to 17.

16. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.


17. Give yoga an honest try.

I took my first yoga lesson in November and practiced for about three weeks before a shoulder injury forced me to stop. I’m beginning physical therapy on the shoulder next week and then will return to my morning yoga ritual.

18. De-clutter the basement.


19. De-clutter the shed

Done! I dislodged a mouse family, filled the back of my truck with junk, and now I have an empty, organized shed.

20. Conduct the ninth No-Longer-Annual A-Mattzing Race in 2014.

Didn’t even come close to making this happen.

21. Produce a total of six Speak Up storytelling events.

Done! We produced a total of eight shows in 2014.

22. Deliver a TED Talk.

I delivered a TED Talk in March at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville, MA.

23. Set a new personal best in golf.

I played golf last week. Not well. I finished the year tying my personal best for nine holes but failing to beat it.

24. Find a way to keep my wife home for one more year with our children.

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