By Tim Von Dohlen

LOOKING AHEAD – Be Positive, Take Risks, Take Action

January 26, 2020

I still believe in New Year’s Resolutions. There are those who say don’t worry about New Year’s Resolutions because you don’t keep them anyway. My view is (1) even if you do not keep them they have caused you to think about where you need improvement in your life, and (2) whatever positive outcome occurs you are better off than if you had not thought and acted upon them even if only for a short time.

My 2020 has started off great in the lovely old town of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Great place to stay at the Inn on the Alameda, excellent restaurants especially Sazón, temperatures in the teens with snow and away from cedar pollen, and the beautiful St. Francis Cathedral for Mass to give thanks to Jesus for our blessings.

Are you in a rut? Get out of it!

I think about businessmen and women who go about from week to week, month to month, year to year feeling lost, tied to the same routine which they don’t like, expecting different results from doing the same thing over and over. If you are in this place with your life, Bob Gass Word For Today has a way for you to get yourself out of that rut – ask yourself these three questions:

1) Is this rut of my own making? We choose a rut because it’s comfortable and requires no risk. And getting out of it requires courage and a willingness to make tough choices you follow through on.

2) Who am I following? We adopt certain patterns because someone has taught them to us directly, or by example. Instead of mindlessly following the crowd, seek God’s will for your life and commit yourself to doing it.

3) Where am I going? The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”(Pr 29:18). If you want to get out of the rut you’re in today, ask God to give you a vision for your life – He will! And when He does, pour yourself into it.

It is all up to you and nobody can do it for you. It’s called “attitude.” You can be a glass half full person or a glass half empty person. It’s all in how you choose to see it. You can give praise to others, remove the “P” and you raise them up and in the process you raise yourself.

Life offers amazing possibilities

One of my resolutions is to spend more time reading the work of terrific authors, and one of my favorite authors is Matthew Kelly.

Here are my summaries or paraphrases—not direct quotes—of few excerpts from Matthew Kelly’s Advent reflections to help your life and your New Year:

Life offers amazing possibilities. Be fully awake for life. You have no idea or what you are capable of until entering into a powerful conversation with God. Step back, for opportunities I do not see, because I am caught up in my own little world. Pride and arrogance blinds us to opportunities of to whom we’re called to be. God invites us to holiness and humility each day.

Collaboration with God that let’s me be the best version of myself. Life is an invitation to a powerful collaboration with God. Stay focused on a dynamic collaboration with Him.

Stimulate a desire to do things differently. Get away from busyness. Busyness destroys virtue! Less patient, less present to God, our prayers, our work. Every virtue requires practice. Your challenge? How to be less busy?

A human tragedy is loneliness. Be present for those you love most. Bring about new and enriched encounters with those you love and God.

Are you satisfied with your life or world? Discouragement does not come from God. Live life one moment at a time – beautiful and holy. Let us look at all areas of our lives where we can yield greater fruit. Do not let your critic determine the direction of your life.

Stay focused on people, help them be the best they can be one Holy moment at a time.

When our life gets out of alignment with our beliefs, God gives us wake up calls. Live your life in alignment with your beliefs and values. When we study the saints, the saints tell us how things are. We need more friends like that.

The world is a mess because they have left their “little bit” undone. Do your little bit.

Fear belongs to people without firm direction in their own life. They are paralyzed by fear. With firm conviction, we act with boldness.

Life is difficult and messy. Everyone is carrying a heavy burden.

Experience the things in the world to the fullest extent possible. You are changeable and your future depends on you and not the past. God uses all your possibilities if you will sit with him. Stop underestimating yourself.

More words of wisdom

Here are a few other quotes offering words of wisdom:

“I am optimistic and confident in all that I do. I affirm only the best for myself and others. I am the creator of my life and my world. I meet daily challenges gracefully and with complete confidence. I fill my mind with positive, nurturing and healing thoughts.” —Alice Potter

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” —Henry Ford

“I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody.” —Benjamin Franklin

“All the best things in life come packaged in a ribbon of risk. You untie the gift, and you assume the risk, and equally, the joy. Parenthood is like that. Marriage is life that. Friendship is like that. In order to experience life in the full sense, you expose yourself to a bottomless pit of vulnerability. That is the essence of true love.” —Kristin Armstrong

“An idea that isn’t risky is hardly worth calling an idea.” —Oscar Wilde

“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” —Will Rogers

“Even if you’re on the right track you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” —Will Rogers

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” —Mae West

The decision is yours

Hopefully this wonderful advice for each of us will spark you to action to get your vision to make your life better and if you are in a rut to get you out!

Will you take the necessary steps to work on your attitude and use this advice to become a positive person who goes out and takes risks and takes action to create your world with God’s guidance? The decision is yours!

Now go out and have a great 2020!


Timothy Von Dohlen is the founder and president of the John Paul II Life Center and Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas. ( He may be reached at

View Articles If you’ve met Tim, you know that his life was shaped by good values that were imparted to him by his parents and he... MORE »

Leave a Reply