Outdoor 'New Year - New You' message.

Resolving To Follow-Through On Our Resolutions

John was the toughest guy in the 9th grade Ė which wasnít a bad thing if he liked you.

Thankfully, he liked me, and I was smart enough to figure out how to keep it that way. When he blasted me from behind during football practice, I jumped up and told him, ďGood hit!Ē When he found out I was interested in a girl he liked, he said I should stay away from her, and I agreed. And when we were matched in a gym class wrestling tournament, we worked out a mutually beneficial strategy: I would go down quickly, and he wouldnít hurt me.

Cowardice? Thatís such an ugly word. I prefer to think of it as Adolescent Darwinism. Just as turtles didnít outlive the dinosaurs by being tougher than a T-Rex, I figured that the safest way to survive junior high was to stay on Johnís good side Ė which was sometimes hard to find.

Like during gym class basketball games. John was a fierce rebounder and defender, but he had no offensive game at all. Lay-ups caromed off the rim wildly. Backboards began to quiver even before his jump shots crashed into them. And his free throws werenít free throws; they were adventures. All of which was upsetting to John. And since it was unwise to play against him when he was upset, I offered a little constructive criticism.

ďThe problem with your free throws is your follow-through,Ē I said.

ďMy what?Ē he replied, ominously.

ďFollow-through,Ē I continued. ďAs you shoot, youíre supposed to follow-through by flicking your wrist. Like this.Ē I demonstrated, forming a graceful goose-neck with my wrist.

ďThat looks goofy,Ē John said.

ďMaybe so. But itís better than shooting shots that look goofy.Ē

That was a tactical error on my part. Within a few minutes I was on my back, the result of a well-placed elbow from John while going after a rebound. As I hustled out of the gym, blood spurting from my nose, I heard him call after me: ďHow was that follow-through?Ē

So Iím a little reluctant to discuss follow-through with anyone, especially since Iím clearly no expert on the subject Ė and no, Iím not talking about the follow-through on my jump shot, which still goose-necks nicely. Iím talking about the follow-through that makes it possible for us to accomplish the goals we set as each New Year approaches.

Take, for example, my 2012 goal: lose 20 pounds. In order to do so, I swore off Diet Dr Pepper. I cut out late night junk food binges. I started eating healthier and exercising a half-hour a day. In fact, I swore off, cut out and started those things three or four times during the year. You see, Iím great at setting goals, but like my junior high buddy John, Iím not much at following through. Iíve jumped on and off the Diet Dr Pepper wagon so many times Iíve increased my vertical leap by three inches. Iíve started so many diets that Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli and Marie Osmond want to do an intervention for me. And Iíve launched enough exercise regimens to depress Richard Simmons.

But this year, Iím taking my own advice: Iím going to accomplish my New Yearís goals by following through. For each resolution I make, Iím also going to make a plan for how Iím going to accomplish it. While itís important to keep our eyes on our ultimate, long-range goals, it is sometimes discouraging to think about losing 20 pounds when the weight comes off an ounce at a time. Thatís where focusing on the plan Ė the follow-through Ė can help. If working the plan becomes the resolution, then accomplishment of the ultimate goal naturally follows.

I canít lose 20 pounds today, but I can exercise for 30 minutes today. I can say ďnoĒ to late night snacks tonight. I can drink more water and less Diet Dr Pepper today. And if I follow-through on the plan every day, every week for 52 weeks, the 20 pounds will naturally fall off.

And come New Yearís Day 2014, my goose-neck will look more graceful than ever.

~ Joseph B. Walker ~
Copyright © 2012

Joseph Walker began his professional writing career as a staff writer for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, eventually becoming that newspaper's television and live theater critic. Since 1990 he has written a weekly newspaper column called ValueSpeak, which has appeared in more than 200 newspapers nationally. His published books include How Can You Mend A Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World for Deseret Book, The Mission: Inside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for Warner Books and three ghost-writing projects.   To read more by Joseph B. Walker please go to www.josephbwalker.com.
[ by: Joseph B. Walker Copyright © 2012 ( ValueSpeak at msn.com ) - {used with permission} ]

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