Many people make fun of New Year’s resolutions. Not me. I’m a fan.  Of course, I don’t always refer to them as resolutions.  I call them goals.

Today is the last day of the year. On December 31st of every year, I print my resolutions/goals for the upcoming year.  Then, I make several copies and post them in highly visible locations.  For example, I always have a copy on my desk.  Sometimes, I will tape them to the top of my desk.  This kills the temptation to file my goals away.

Years ago, I listened to a talk by Zig Ziglar.  This one, in fact.  I listened to it over and over again.  Eventually, the cassette tapes wore out.  These days, it’s free on YouTube:

Mr. Ziglar stated that if you actually wrote the goals down… you would eventually hit 80% of your goals.

I wanted to see if it would work.  So, I tested the theory on myself.   It worked.

Some of my goals were one-year goals.  Some were five-year goals.  And, some were ten-year goals.  I started about ten years ago.  It worked.  Today, I have hit about 80% of my goals.

If it sounds as though I am boasting, I am.  I am boasting about the power of goal-setting.

Take some time today to listen to Mr. Ziglar’s talk.

Then, instead of laughing at new year’s resolutions, why not take some time today to make some?  Why not take some time to dream?  Why not take action?  Why not improve yourself?  Why not set out to accomplish something you have always wanted to accomplish.

You will likely not hit 100% of your goals.  That’s okay.  Isn’t half a loaf of bread better than no loaf at all?

Have a Happy New Year, my friends!

Dwane Thomas’ Tip of the Week, December 31, 2016

Hey, Europe. Stop apologizing. Hey, America. Wake up.

I majored in History in college.  I never heard any of this.  Did you hear any of this when you were in college?  I doubt it.

Author Douglas Wilson comments on this same subject in a post from 2011 entitled, Seven Memes for Keeping Christians in their Place.

“The Crusades were actually a long overdue defensive reaction to many years of Muslim belligerence, militarism, agressiveness, and provocation. If a “crusade” is an unprovoked military attack on religious grounds, then we need to start speaking of the Muslim Crusades. One could, however, criticize Christian Europe for being so slow to respond.”

Dr. Bill Warner throws down the gauntlet.  I am paraphrasing. “Don’t like what I am saying?  Disagree?  Do your own research.  This is not hate.  This is history.”

Here are some sobering statistics:

I personally think Islam is nervous.  Here is why:

Like it or not, Christianity will spread until it conquers the globe.

Christianity is not shrinking.  It is not diminishing.  It is not retreating.

On the contrary, it is a wildfire.

Read The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, by Philip Jenkins.

American and European Christians need to stop apologizing.   Like it or not, Christianity wins.

Ignore the rest.

One of my favorite living authors is Bob Bly.  His writing is full of practical, no-nonsense advice.  I usually leave his articles with an idea I can use right away.

Today, this showed up in my inbox.  I found this inspiring.  Perhaps you will as well.


In his best-selling book “Essentialism: The Disciplines Pursuit
of Less” (Crown Business), Greg McKeown preaches his philosophy
of Essentialism as the path to having a better and more rewarding

After reading it, I am a born-again Essentialist!

The core idea of Essentialism is, in McKeown’s words:

“There are far more activities and opportunities in the world
than we have the time and resources to invest in.

“And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the
fact is that most are trivial and few are vital.

“Only when you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it
all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest
contribution towards the things that really matter.”

If you know people who pursue a primary goal, activity, or
mission with laser-like focus — whether it’s building a business,
mastering the violin, or accumulating wealth — they are almost
surely, with rare exceptions, Essentialists.

If you know people who volunteer for everything, have a calendar
filled with diverse activities, pursue a dozen hobbies and
interests, and volunteer for every committee in every worthwhile
organization under the sun — I can virtually assure you that they
are not Essentialists.

I only came across McKeown’s book a couple of months ago. But I
have been an Essentialist my entire adult life.

I focus, to the exclusion of almost everything else, on just the
few things that matter most to me — my business and my clients,
writing, and my family.

Yes, I would like to do more. But as McKeown correctly points
out, our time, attention, energy, and bandwidth are shockingly

So if you try to do everything, you accomplish — and get good at
— almost nothing.

“The overwhelming reality is: we live in a world where almost
everything is worthless and a very few things are exceptionally
valuable,” McKeown writes.

“We can choose how to spend our energy and time. We can’t have or
do it all.”

He quotes John Maxwell: “You cannot overestimate the unimportance
of practically everything.”

Marcus Aurelius says it this way: “If thou wouldst know
contentment, let thy deeds be few.”

The way I put it is this: If you are someone who is “all over the
place,” you will never really get to the one place you want to

The key to Essentialism is laser-like focus on one or two things.
Steve Martin said:

“I did stand-up comedy for 18 years. Ten of those years were
spent learning, four were spent refining, and four were spent in
wild success. The course was more plodding than heroic.”

I have always described myself as a plodder, too. If you write,
as I have, 12 hours a day, 5 days a week for more than 3 decades,
you can’t help but get better at it!


Bob Bly

P.S. My Essentialism does not mean I make zero contribution to
worthy causes outside my small number of core activities.

But I do so in the most time-efficient manner — by donating money
rather than my time to these worthy causes.

By focusing just on my business, I make more money … which in
turn enables me to make bigger contributions to curing cancer,
feeding the hungry, and other things that are important but that
I do not have the bandwidth to participate in directly.

Bob Bly
Copywriter / Consultant
31 Cheyenne Dr.
Montville, NJ 07045
Phone 973-263-0562
Fax 973-263-0613

What now?

I received this question:

So what do you recommend after we have completed Latin 2??

Here is my reply:

Ah.  What a question.

This rant may help:

And, this page may help:

There really are two directions you could go.  You stick with the ancient past.  You could go deeper into Latin.  If you choose this route, I recommend Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.  There is nothing like it.  If you tackle it and get if you find yourself stuck, I teach the book live every year.

Or, here is the other direction.  You could abandon the ancient past.  You could learn a modern language.  I highly recommend Italian.  After Latin, it’s a lot of fun.  Well, I think it is, anyway.

If you go with a modern language, start with DuoLingo.  It is free, pretty fun, and unbelievably effective.  I am using it to teach myself Italian and Greek these days.  I love it.

General questions

I received the following series of questions:

Can you give me a little more info about this?

  • How many video lessons per week is it designed for to get through in 1 year?
  • I per day 5 days a week?
  • Or 1 lesson per 5 days of work?
  • Is it sent to our email address? 

Here is my reply:

Happy to answer any questions you have.  But, I do need to know… Are you asking about Visual Latin, or are you referring to the live Henle classes that I teach on my site:

The live classes on my site are really designed for those who have completed Visual Latin.  However, many students who are in classical conversations, and are already in the Henle course opt to join the live classes on my site.  

The classes on my site are a bit aggressive. Since the name of the course is First Year Latin by Robert Henle, I teach the entire course in one year. We cover, roughly, a chapter a week.  This pace is a bit much for many students.  But, that’s okay. After all, I rarely remove old classes. I leave them up on my site so that students can move through at their own pace if they like. This means that some of my students are moving through at the pace of one video a week, While some are moving through the course at the pace of one video a day.  

Since members of my site have access to every video available (currently about 600 videos) many of my students choose to use my site as a self-directed Latin learning site.  

I only charge per family.  A subscription grants access to every live class I teach. It also grants access to every recorded class on my site. 

As for homework, it’s quite simple. Students send work to me as a regular old email. If you choose the grading option, be sure to not send homework to me as an attachment. This actually speeds the process up for both of us. I will be able to grade your work more rapidly if you just send it to me as a regular old e-mail.  

I hope that I have answered all of your questions. Feel free to send anymore you think of.

Am I doing okay?

I received this question:

Is it ok that I can’t translate very well at this point?   It will come eventually, right?   I just want to know if I am on track  OR  if should I spend extra time reading Lingua Latina and going over the vocabulary?   

Here is my reply:

Good morning!

You are in a tough, tough, tough Latin course.  I have seen Latin teachers struggle with this book.  I am not kidding.  When I read your translations, I feel you are getting 85 – 90% of it.  And, that, Amy, is good.  I think you are doing fine.  Forget perfection.  Work toward progress.   You are doing that.  

There is always more you can do.  Always.  I am teaching myself Italian right now.  I spend about 3 hours a day studying.  At the end of the three hours, I usually feel inadequate.  I could have done more, should have done more, etc.  But, if you take a long-term view, you know you will be back the next day.  And, the next day.  Over the course of several years, you will get good at it.  It just takes time.  

If you want specific advice, then yes.  I would recommend going over the vocabulary.  I recommend you review vocabulary every day if you can.  I also recommend you re-read the chapters daily if you can.  

A bad poem, and a better story.

This Christmas, I am thankful for many things.  You are high on the list.  A few years ago, I launched my site praying that I could survive for a year.  Now, heading into my third year, I am thankful for you.  You have kept me going.

As you know, I teach Latin online.  You may also know that most of my students are Henle Latin students.  And you may further know that I receive many tearful emails inspired by Henle Latin.

This Christmas, I thought I would write a Henle Latin inspired poem for you.

Twas a night with a Henle book and all through the house, students were crying and mothers pulled their hair out.

And way off in history, Caesar in his tent sat, writing gerunds and dependent clauses, and muttering, “Ha!  Translate that!”

I didn’t get too far before my poetry attempt died.  Oh, well.

Oddly enough, on those same fields where Romans once chased Gauls, an inspiring Christmas story took place years later.  There is even a little Latin in it.  If you have some time today, you may enjoy this:

Have a very Merry Christmas, my friends!

Dwane Thomas’ Tip of the Week, December 24, 2016