Resolution Update: June 2016 plus midyear assessment

I've reached the halfway point of 2016, which means that in addition to an update on each of my goals, I'm also assessing the likelihood that I will complete the goal by the end of the year.

Thus far I have completed 4 goals.
I am likely to complete 17 goals
I am likely to make significant progress on 3 more.
I have abandoned one goal.

This leaves 8 goals with a 50/50 chance or less of completing.  

Specific assessments below. 


1. Don’t die.

Just got two new sets of EpiPens in case the bees try to kill me. 

Mid-year assessment: I think my chances of surviving 2016 are solid. The actuarial tables from the Social Security Administration indicate that the chances of a male of my age dying this year is 0.003146 %. 

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I lost eight pounds in June, bringing my total to 13 pounds lost. 
I decided to get serious about this goal in June. 

Mid-year assessment: I am nearly certain that this goal will be achieved before the end of 2016. 

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


Mid-year assessment: This has become routine to me. Only an injury could prevent me from achieving this goal. 

4. Practice yoga at least three days a week.

My yoga guru is in Washington for the next three weeks. When he returns, we will meet. 

Mid-year assessment: My yoga guru believes with every fiber of his being that increased flexibility will improve my golf game and my life, and I agree. I am certain that I will resume my practice of yoga on a regular basis before the end of the summer. 


5. Complete my fifth novel before the end of February.


Mid-year assessment: Goal complete.

6. Complete my sixth novel.

I have two novels that are more than halfway finished and one that is finished but requires a complete re-write. However, it doesn't look like any of these will be my next novel.

We are delayed in deciding the next book. Waiting for revisions of the last one from my editor. 

Mid-year assessment: The delivery date of this novel is early 2017, so completion of the book in 2016 is possible but not probable. I can't see myself handing it in early with my propensity to never be satisfied. Also the revisions of my fifth novel have ground to a halt.  

7. Write a middle grade novel.

Progress has commenced and is going well. I should have enough to submit to an editor by the end of the month.

Mid-year assessment: I expect the sale of the book to take place in 2016, but the completion of the book will hinge upon the negotiated delivery date. 

8. Write at least three new picture books. 

One of my now former students and I are writing a picture book. I am editing two previously written picture books. I expect that the other new picture books will be written during the school year. 

Mid-year assessment: The ideas for these books are already set, so I expect first drafts of all three books to be completed by the end of 2016 without much problem.

9. Complete a book proposal for a book on storytelling.

Done! In the hands of my agent. I await feedback.  

Mid-year assessment: This goal is marked as complete, but the proposal may come back from my agent with work still needed. This also doesn't mean that the project will sell in 2016, but I expect it to. 

10. Write a new screenplay

No progress yet.

Mid-year assessment: 50/50 that this project will be completed in 2016. It's simply a matter of time required and bang for my buck. With other project more likely to be profitable, this one may sadly fall to the wayside.  

11. Write a musical for a summer camp

Work has commenced at a fever pitch. 

Mid-year assessment: This project will be completed by Saturday or my writing partner will kill me. 

12. Publish at least one Op-Ed in The New York Times.

I've now submitted two Op-Eds to the New York Times and been rejected both times.

Mid-year assessment: I have made an error in setting a goal not entirely in my control. A better goal would have been to commit to five submissions to the New York Times Op-Ed page in 2016, since their decision to publish my piece is not in my hands. Based upon my two rejections, it seems unlikely that I will meet this goal.

13. Publish an article in an educational journal.

No progress yet. 

Mid-year assessment: This is a project that will not require a lot of time but will likely pay little or nothing, so like the screenplay, it's a likely goal to miss if time becomes tight.   

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

No progress yet.

Mid-year assessment: The stories are written and I have a list of potential publishing outlets. It's simply a matter of spending two or three hours getting them submitted. This is likely to happen at some point. 

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

I spent a week backing my car into parking spots (which initially struck me as insane). I am still writing about my experience.  

Mid-year assessment: This is not a difficult goal, and yet it is a failed goal from 2015 with little progress in 2016. Failing to complete it for two consecutive years would really suck, so I expect to complete this simply out of shame. 

16. Increase my author newsletter subscriber base to 1,000.

I gained 13 subscribers in May and 75 since the beginning of the year. My total stands at 987. 

Mid-year assessment: Having gained 75 subscribers since the beginning of the year and being only 13 away from completing the goal, chances are high that I will complete this. 

If you'd like to subscribe and receive my monthly writing and storytelling tip, as well as my recommendations and other miscellany, you can do so here:

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17. Collaborate with a former colleague on an educational book.

This project has been cancelled. After meeting with my collaborator, we determined that I am not best suited for this project.    

Mid-year assessment: This goal was abandoned after it was determined that I was not right for the job. 


18. Produce a total of 12 Speak Up storytelling events.

We produced two shows in June, at both Real Art Ways and The Connecticut Historical Society, bringing our total number of Speak Up events in 2016 to eight.  

We have six more events on the calendar in 2016 (with one or two more possible shows), which will bring our total to at least 14. 

Mid-year assessment: Based upon our scheduled events in 2016, I will complete this goal with ease.

19. Deliver a TED Talk.

Done twice over! 

I spoke at TEDxNatick in January. The title of the talk was "Live Your Life Like Your 100 Year-Old Self." Here's the recording: 

I also spoke at the TEDx conference at The Country School in Madison, CT in April. The title of the talk was "Speak Less. Expect More." Here is the recording:

I've also pitched talks to two other TEDx events in 2016. I was rejected by one and await word from the other. 

Mid-year assessment: Goal complete. 

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

In June I attended a Moth StorySLAM at Housing Works and The Bitter End (both in NYC) as well as Oberon in Boston. 

I did not have my name drawn at Oberon or The Bitter End. I told a story at Housing Works and tied for first with one of my storytelling students, only to lose the tiebreaker.  

This brings my total number of Moth events in 2016 to 12.   

Mid-year assessment: I plan to attend at least five Moth events over the next two months alone, making this goal an easy one to complete. 

21. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

I have attended a total of seven Moth StorySLAMs in 2016 thus far but only performed twice. I had to perform first in one slam, and I tied for first in the other (and lost the tiebreaker).

Mid-year assessment: My previous win totals made three victories feel very achievable in the beginning of the year. In the last three years, I have won five, four, and seven slams respectively. But I have only managed to take the stage twice in seven tries in 2016, and though I tied for first in one of those slams, I lost the tie breaker. Winning three slams in the second half of 2016 is very doable (I've actually done this for the past three years), but I'm feeling snakebitten this year. 

Hopefully my luck will change.  

22. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

Done! I won the Moth GrandSLAM in Somerville in March. 

I placed second in the most recent NYC GrandSLAM in April. I've had to perform from second position in the last three GrandSLAMs, which sucks.

Mid-year assessment: Goal completed. I may have one or two more chances of winning again in 2016. 

23. Launch at least one new podcast.

Background work (podcast logo, hosting service, website, etc.) continues.    

Mid-year assessment: This podcast would have already launched had my format and content not changed slightly in the past month, causing me to rethink things a bit. Chances are high that I will complete this project. 

24. Launch a storytelling project that I will otherwise remain vague about here but will become a primary focus of 2016. 

Work on this project has begun in earnest. 

Mid-year assessment: This project is dependent on the sale of the storytelling proposal, though work on the proposal will move this project forward significantly. It is highly likely that I will take major steps in terms of this project in 2016. 


25. Host at least one Shakespeare Circle.

No progress.

Mid-year assessment: I must admit that my enthusiasm for this project has waned a bit. Chances of completion are 50/50 at best. 

26. Learn to cook three good meals for my wife.

No progress

Mid-year assessment: This is one of those unachieved goals from 2015. The shame of failing again in 2016 should be enough to get this done. Readers have also been helpful in choosing recipes, so I have no excuses. 

27. Plan a 25 year reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

No progress.

Mid-year assessment: This is a project that will take a few hours to complete. I am almost certain that it will happen in 2016. 


28. 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.

No progress. 

Mid-year assessment: The mild winter made this less of a priority in the beginning of 2016. If the funding is available in the fall of 2016, we will complete this project. 

29. Optimize our television for a streaming service. 

Likely a summer project.

Mid-year assessment: This will happen, damn it.  

30. Set a new personal best in golf.

I have begun a serious and committed change of my swing under the guidance of a friend who also happens to be an outstanding teacher. As a result, I am hitting the ball farther, higher, and less consistently. I am practicing at the range 3-4 times a week.

As a result, I scored poorly in June but am hitting the ball better than ever before. 

There is hope. Today I play in a 54 hole tournament with 15 strangers. It should be interesting.   

I also applied for a targeted practice experiment through a popular podcast with a specific focus on hitting my driver farther. If accepted, I will receive a professional trainer and my progress will be charted via the podcast.  

Mid-year assessment: With my new swing coach and two months of the summer left, I think I have a better than 50/50 chance of achieving this goal.

31. Play poker at least six times in 2016.

I played one game back in April. I canceled the game I scheduled for June do to lack of attendance.  

Mid-year assessment: If I can find people to play, I will complete this goal in 2016. So far this has seemed unlikely. 

32. Do not speak negatively about another person's physical appearance except when done in jest with my closest friends. 

Done. I came close at a Moth StorySLAM when I wondered aloud why the host would wear a tee shirt and a button-down shirt that was unbuttoned entirely. Was he going for a casual sports jacket look? Did he want people to see his tee shirt? What would possess a person to throw on a button-down shirt but then not button it at all?

I was not speaking negatively about this person. I was merely curious. But I admit that my comments came close to the line.  

Regardless, this remains an easy goal to accomplish once you've committed to it. I highly recommend it to everyone. 

Mid-year assessment: I will almost certainly complete this goal.

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


Mid-year assessment: I will almost certainly complete this goal.