John Holton (john_holton) wrote,
John Holton

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A little while ago I looked back through my archived journal entries and found the entry from January 1 of this year where I reviewed the year 2003 and laid out my plans for the coming (now almost over) year. And, what I've learned is that what Mark Victor Hansen has said is correct: Putting your plans in writing is a good way to make them happen.

I made four resolutions in last year's entry.

  1. Find a new job. I said last year that this was my top priority, and that I didn't want to be around for my 20th anniversary with my old company on July 23. Well, I officially left my old company on June 18, over a month before the magic date. We needn't dwell on the details of why I left; it is simply important that I made it to the magic date without the job that I started the year with.

    In my new job, I am president, CEO, Chief Looney In Charge (thanks, lourdesmont) and "honcho grande" of my own training and development consulting business. My specialty is stand-up training--conducting instructor-led training and one-on-one coaching, developing training materials and presentation materials, assessing performance, and providing feedback to employers as well as employees. I currently have one client, a software company whose inventory planning software I am learning, have successfully completed one engagement for a second client, and am busy developing a course in developing creative solutions for businesses, a short course in instructor skills, and am looking into obtaining training in facilitation skills and instructional design, particularly as it applies to e-learning. I am also in search of alliances with other businesses who do training in creativity, soft skills (e.g. conflict resolution). I am particularly adept at training end users on the use of computer software.

    In short, I have (a) found a new job and (b) become self-employed by the time I turned 50. Almost two years before turning 50, as a matter of fact.

  2. Make a real commitment to my writing. Completing NaNoWriMo was one of the high points of the year. I had never undertaken a project like that and seen it through from start to finish. It gave me a real appreciation for what it takes to start, and finish, a project of that size. Most of my writing prior to that was for the Ghostletters mailing list (I did a lot of writing with majkia as several of our characters became involved with one another). I now have a finished first draft of a story that is going to need some very heavy editing to become readable, and I have promised that, when it is readable, I'll share it with one and all.

    I also realized that the more you write, the more you're capable of writing. Writing this novel gave me ideas for several other stories, which I've written down and will be playing with in the coming year. I have also begun to study screenwriting, in the last couple of months. I've spent countless hours since being set free sitting in Starbucks, drinking mocha (triple shot) and scribbling in notebooks. Most of what's in there is trash (I call it taking a word shit), but there are bound to be a few treasures in there.

    I'd say that I did a good job of making a real commitment to my writing. Not as good as I might have, but it's a strong start for next year.

  3. Get out and live life again. The day after I knew that I would be leaving my employer, I attended a meeting of my parish's Job Network, and discovered a whole subculture of people out there who are looking for work for themselves and for the other people in the network. It was through the job network that I learned about the Independent Trainers and Consultants Network, a special interest group of ASTD Atlanta. Through that group, I've met people who do what I want to do with my life, and become pretty good friends with some of them. I've attended other special interest groups as well; through one of them, I met a guy who managed to get me my first independent consulting assignment.

    One of the things that I've learned as I've been looking for work is that very few jobs are advertised in the paper, or on or any of the job boards. Most jobs are now filled through networking. Likewise, most consulting and contract opportunities come from the people you know (the client I'm working with currently came to me through a round of emails that went here, there and everywhere before landing in the hands of a friend of mine that I met through networking, who then passed it on to me).

    Networks are vital to all of us. And the way you get involved in a network is to get out and live life. And that's what I've done.

  4. Get my health in order. When I left my employer, I got the usual paperwork on COBRA that explained how much it was going to cost every month to maintain my health insurance benefits. Needless to say, I was not particularly impressed with the amount of service I would be getting for the amount of money that I was going to be paying. So, I said, "No thanks."

    The problem I ran into was that I wasn't able to get health insurance from anyone because of my weight.

    This caused me to do two things: First, Mary and I joined a health club. For the cost of three months of health insurance at COBRA rates, Mary and I could work out at our local health club for three years. For the cost of a few more months, she and I could work out with a personal trainer. So, we did work out with trainers for a little while, until the cost became a little more than we could afford. The result is that we're now in better health than we have been in a while. I haven't lost enough weight to entice an insurance company into offering me a policy...

    Which leads me to the second thing. I came to the conclusion that health insurance is a waste of money. I could take the money that I would spend on premiums and invest it, and even with the tax implications I would probably be able to afford more health care than any insurance company would be willing to pay for.

    So, while I haven't been faithful to working out as much as I had been, nevertheless I'm focusing on my health. I've lost some weight, which is better than losing no weight or putting on even more, I'm eating more carefully and hey, I feel better about myself. In short, I've done it.

Not a bad year, in total.

2005 resolutions as they occur!

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