1. Don’t die.
Feeling super alive this morning.
2. Lose 20 pounds.
One pound gained in November bringing total weight loss to 10 pounds. Another 10 pounds in one month during the holidays will be almost impossible.
3. Do at least 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups five days a week.
4. Practice yoga at least three days a week for at least 15 minutes each day.
I participated in a full week of yoga while teaching at Kripalu back in August. It was incredibly boring.
I have done nothing since.
5. Take the stairs whenever I am ascending or descending five flights or less.
I took an elevator up four flights in a parking garage, but the stairs were nowhere to be found and Elysha and I were attending a formal dinner and were dressed up.
Okay, Elysha was dressed up. I was wearing jeans, a tee-shirt, and a jacket.
6. Complete my sixth novel before the end of 2017.
I wrap the book up this weekend.
7. Complete my first middle grade/YA novel.
Work continues in earnest. Due date is the end of this month.
8. Write at least three new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist.
I'm still working on a non-fiction picture book about the great Idaho beaver airlift of 1948. It's nearly complete.
I also pitched a series of picture books to my agent. She liked them. No work completed on any of them yet.
I've also begun a picture book about the primitive life before cellphones.
I've begun a children's book with a non-white male protagonist called Pink Stinks.
9. Complete a book on storytelling.
DONE! We have entered the copyediting portion of the process.
10. Write a new screenplay.
No progress. This is not going to happen in 2017. Extenuating circumstances related to my former film agent have admittedly played a role.
11. Write a musical.
I was not able to watch the debut performance of "Back in the Day" but I hear it went really well.
12. Submit at least five Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times for consideration.
I have submitted one piece to the Times so far in 2017. No luck.
Also, I suck in terms of this goal.
13. Write a proposal for a nonfiction book related to education.
Note-taking completed. My proposal will need to include some sample chapters, so that process has begun.
14. Submit one or more short stories to at least three publishing outlets.
15. Select three behaviors that I am opposed to and adopt them for one week, then write about my experiences on the blog.
On the suggestion of a reader:
I spent April praying to God at least once a day. Quite often three or more times per day. As you may know, I'm a reluctant atheist, so I hadn't prayed in a very long time.
In October, I followed James Altucher's suggestion about turning the water ice cold for the last few seconds of your shower. It sounds crazy, but science suggests it really might make you more productive for the rest of the day.
I spent the month of November speaking to one stranger per day. I'll be writing about it this month.
16. Increase my author newsletter subscriber base to 1,600.
I grew my list by 40 subscribers in November (and 296 overall this year). Total subscribers now stands at 1580.
I'm cutting this one close. I need to find 20 subscribers this month. If you have anyone who you think might be interested in writing or storytelling advice, please send them to my subscriber page.
And if you would like to subscribe to my newsletter and receive writing and storytelling tips, Internet recommendations, recordings of new stories, and more, you can do so here:
17. Write at least six letters to my father.
Five written so far.
18. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.
No progress. I am willing to hire someone to take the content of the blog and convert it to book format, but I have yet to find that person.
19. Record one thing learned every day in 2017.
My favorite thing learned in November is this:
It's a myth that no two snowflakes are exactly the same. In 1988, a scientist found two identical snow crystals. They came from a storm in Wisconsin.
I've been arguing that this myth was nonsense since I was a kid.
20. Produce a total of 12 Speak Up storytelling events.
We produced a show at the Greater Hartford JCC in Hartford, bringing our total number of Speak Up events in 2017 to 16.
21. Deliver a TED Talk.
I spoke about the important things that teachers do at The Pomfret School in April. I've also be selected to speak in two TEDx events in 2018.
22. Attend at least 15 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.
I attended a Moth StorySLAM in November at Flushing Town Hall, bringing my yearly total of Moth events to 18.
23. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.
I won two Moth StorySLAMs in Boston and two in New York in 2017. My win total now stands at 32.
24. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.
I had three chances to compete in a Moth GrandSLAM in 2017 and was unavailable every time. I will be unable to achieve this goal.
25. Produce at least 50 episodes of my new podcast Live Better.
I pulled down my first episode after receiving feedback from a friend who works in radio. That same friend has agreed to build me a template for the show.
26. Perform stand up at least once in 2017.
DONE! I performed a five-minute set at Sea Tea Comedy in downtown Hartford.
27. Write a one-person show.
The "writing" for this show is complete. I performed the show at Kripalu, altered slightly so I could teach lessons between stories.
I'll begin the process of booking a theater for a formal performance now.
28. Explore the option of teaching a college class.
I met with a professor from a local college and described my proposed class. She approved of my idea and promised to pass the information onto her department head.
29. Cook at least 12 good meals (averaging one per month) in 2017.
A friend has passed on ideas and recipes for meals that I plan to make. So far I have done nothing.
30. Plan a 25 year reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.
The search for a location continues, though I am getting frustrated by the lack of forward momentum.
31. I will stand in vocal opposition to every negative comment made about age disparities between male and female romantic couplings because I choose to respect a woman’s choices of romantic partner regardless of their age or the age of their partner.
Nothing to defend against in November.
32. I will report on the content of speech during every locker room experience via social media in 2017.
Over the course of the month, I heard no man bragging about sexually assaulting women in any locker rooms (or anywhere else for that matter).
33. I will stop presenting the heteronormative mother-and-father paradigm as the default parental paradigm when speaking to my children and my students.
Not as hard as I thought. I switched over to "parents" in January and haven't slipped yet.
34. I will not comment, positively or negatively, about physical appearance of any person save my wife and children, in 2017 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall.
I've also learned that at least seven other people have adopted this policy, which thrills me.
35. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2017.
I surprised Elysha with a membership to Winding Trails, a local recreation area that we have been waiting to join for over a year.
36. 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.
Our windows were cleaned by professionals, but this does not count.
37. Optimize our television for a streaming service.
Apple TV is alive and well in our home, thanks to Elysha.
38. Set a new personal best in golf.
I only played one round of golf in November.
39. Play poker at least six times in 2016.
I have a poker game scheduled in my home in December. This will bring the total number to four, which will still be two shy of the goal.
40. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 25 years.
Four days spent working as DJ's at weddings in total.
I invited him to attend my stand-up open mic with me.
41. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog on the first day of every month.