Resolution update: 2015 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 the end of 2015.

In 2015, I completed 19 of 32 goals for a success rate of 59%. While this is not great, it compares well to previous five year average of 51%. 

My previous year success rates:

2010: 44%
2011: 62%
2012: 30%
2013: 60%
2014: 60%

I performed especially well in the areas of storytelling (seven out of seven goals completed) and personal health (three out of six completed, with solid progress on a fourth).

I also did well in the writing category (seven out of 14 goals completed), but this total should have been better had I phrased the goals more appropriately. 

In 2016, I need to ensure that I set goals that do not rely on others for completion. Three of my writing goals in 2015 were dependent upon the sale of a book. Instead, they should have been rephrased as the completion of a book. My goals should reflect my effort and not the preferences or tardiness of book editors. 

While I'm pleased with the overall success in 2015, there were some missed opportunities. My biggest disappointments were my failure to lose 20 pounds and my failure to write a new screenplay. Both of these were very doable in 2015. 

There were also a few pathetic failures. Failing to learn three new recipes and failing to submit short stories to publishing outlets stand out as especially lame. 

They aren't that difficult.

This was also the second consecutive year that I failed to schedule an evening of Shakespeare in my home, despite interest among many friends.

I also accomplished half a dozen goals that did not make my initial list but became important as the year progressed.

  1. I performed in two Moth Mainstages in 2015 and told a story at Yale.
  2. I published my first comic book with Double Take. 
  3. I performed in my first one hour one-man show (twice).
  4. I began consulting professionally on screenplays and pilot scripts.
  5. I taught storytelling at the University of Connecticut, Kripalu, and in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  6. I booked weddings for 2016, extending my DJ career into its 20th season.   

I wonder if I should add unexpected goals to my list mid-year when they become a focus of my time and energy. Probably not.

Here are my specific successes and failures from 2015: 


1. Don’t die.

Survived another year. 

2. Lose 20 pounds.

Fail. I lost a total of six pounds in 2015. 

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


4. Stop drinking soda from two-liter bottles.

The only soda consumed from a two-liter bottle in 2015 came from a bottle brought to my house by a friend and a bottle brought to a picnic. As a result, my Diet Coke consumption plummeted to less than half of what I consumed in 2014.

This was an enormous success.  

5. Practice yoga at least five days a week.

I began practicing yoga in 2015 (and even took a sunrise yoga class while teaching at Kripalu), but a combination of injuries set me back. For about two months, I was practicing every morning, but then a shoulder problem caused me to become inconsistent and stop altogether. I still have that shoulder and (and now) collarbone issue. Both will be looked at by a doctor during the first week of January.

This constitutes a failure in terms of the goal but significant progress in terms of yoga in general. I have gone from thinking it a silly waste of time to something I genuinely want to do.

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

A failed to accomplish this goal through no fault except my own. 


7. Complete my sixth novel before February 28, 2015.

This was an adjustment of a goal. We sold the book to my editor, and I am on track to finish by my deadline. I consider this a success. 

8. Complete my seventh novel.

Two separate books remain more than half finished. The desire to finish one or both may have been ambitious, but I think it could have happened had I centered my attention on this book and not spread it between books.

In the end, I wrote more than a novel's worth of pages, but I failed to accomplish the goal.    

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

Three picture books are in my agent's hands. I await word. In accordance with the specific description of my goal, this was a fail. 

10. Sell a memoir to a publisher.

This book is in the hands of my editor. I await word. In accordance with the specific description of my goal, this was a fail. 

11. Sell a book of essays to a publisher.

This book is in the hands of my editor. I await word. In accordance with the specific description of my goal, this was a fail. 

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

I am two sample chapter away from completing this book. As a result, this is a fail.

13. Write a new screenplay.

The new screenplay is outlined, and a rough draft has begun, but it is not finished. This is a fail.

14. Write 50 pages of a new memoir about the years of 1991-1993.

Done! This book became the book of essays that my agent now has in her hands. As a result, this goal is complete.

15. Write a musical for a summer camp.

Done! I was lucky enough to see it performed onstage in July. 

The musical that we wrote for last year's summer camp (Caught in the Middle) will be produced in 2016 at schools and other venues in the Hartford area.  

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

Done! I published an Op-Ed in the Hartford Courant in July on why I choose to write in McDonald's restaurants.

I also published an Op-Ed in the Hartford Courant in November about my high school girlfriend, Laura, and a promise I failed to keep. 

My dream is to land a weekly column at a newspaper like the Hartford Courant before they disappear forever, but this is probably a hard gig to get. 

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

I submitted one of my short stories to a student magazine in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and it was accepted. As a result, this is a fail. 

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

I adopted one behavior for a week (backing into parking spaces) and have yet to finish the piece about this experience. This is a fail.

19. Build an author mailing list.


20. Build a new website for



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

Done! We produced a total of 12 shows in 2015. 

22. Deliver my fourth TED Talk.

Done twice over.

The recording for TEDxBU was released in August. One of the cameras did not record my talk, and the other started recording about two minutes late. The recording is disappointing and useless.

 I have the worst TED luck ever.

I also spoke at my fifth TED event in November at TEDxBerkshires. The video for this talk is posted online and came out well.

23. Build a website for Speak Up.


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

Done! I attended three Moth StorySLAMs in December (Oberon in Boston, Housing Works in NYC, and The Bitter End in NYC). I told stories in two of the three shows. This brings my total number of Moth events attended in 2015 to 27. 

25. Win at least two Moth StorySLAMs.

Done twice over! My total number of wins in 2015 was four.   

I won a StorySLAM at Housing Works in December. 
I won a StorySLAM at The Bitter End in October.  
I won a StorySLAM at The Bell House in Brooklyn in August.
I won a StorySLAM at Oberon in Cambridge back in April.

I also placed second six times, which will drive a man crazy.

26. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

Done twice over!

I won the New York GrandSLAM at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in April and June.    

I also had three second place finishes.  

27. Launch at least one podcast.

Done! Boy Vs. Girl is eight episodes in and going strong. 


28. Pitch at least three new projects to two smart people.

Done! Sadly, nothing has come from any of my pitches.  

29. Host at least one Shakespeare Circle.



30. Enroll in the final class needed for certification as a high school English teacher.

I stopped seeking this goal in April once I decided that I would not want to teach at the high school level. It is a purposeful fail. 

31. Set a new personal best in golf.

I tied my personal best but failed to beat it.

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