October 23, 2014 11:44 UTC

As It Is

Clock Is Ticking to 2014 - It's New Year's Eve!

A festive place to count down to the New Year - Times Square in New York City, where confetti flies over celebrating crowds,after the clock strikes midnight.
A festive place to count down to the New Year - Times Square in New York City, where confetti flies over celebrating crowds,after the clock strikes midnight.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story

From VOA Learning English, welcome to As It Is for New Year’s Eve. I’m Steve Ember.

Today, calendars – choosing the right one takes time – and New Year’s Resolutions:  Making ones you can keep takes…well, we’ll talk about that, and even share some of ours.

You'll need a new calendar - Got yours yet?

The New Year is the time for new beginnings. It is also the time to buy a new calendar. Have you bought yours yet?

With so many choices, it can take a lot of time just to choose the right one. There are small ones. Big ones. Calendars that sit on a desk. Calendars that hang on the wall. Calendars you can carry around with you. Calendars that show a whole month, or one day at a time.

Of course, in one way all calendars are the same. They all list the same days
of the year in exactly the same order. But people do not buy calendars just
to know what day it is. Calendars have become popular gifts because many
are filled with beautiful pictures.

You can even learn from calendars. They often give information about their
subject -- such as famous writers or American Indians or flower gardens.

There are calendars about food and about beautiful places in the world.

A Cat a Day CalendarA Cat a Day Calendar
x
A Cat a Day Calendar
A Cat a Day Calendar
[Sound of a playful cat]
      
For pet lovers, there are calendars with pictures of cats doing unusual things. Three hundred sixty-five of them – one for each day of the year. And of course, there’s one more in leap years.
     
Trains are a popular subject for calendars (Steve Ember/VOA)Trains are a popular subject for calendars (Steve Ember/VOA)
x
Trains are a popular subject for calendars (Steve Ember/VOA)
Trains are a popular subject for calendars (Steve Ember/VOA)
Would you rather look at pictures of cars? Or trains? Or airplanes? There are calendars with those, too.
        
Some people do not just look at their calendars. They use them to write down important things they must remember, like meetings or doctor’s appointments. Busy people can buy small calendars to carry around to help them organize and plan their life. But what if they forget to look at their calendar? No worries there - there are electronic organizers that make sounds to remind people of things they must do. These days, if you forget something, it is getting harder and harder to find a good excuse.
   
Then, there are some people do not like little calendars, or big ones, or noisy electronic ones. They are happy just to write down notes to themselves on small pieces of paper.        

Then, there’s the matter of New Year’s Resolutions. Have you made yours? More importantly, do you keep yours? We’ll talk about that next.

It’s As It Is, New Year’s Eve edition from VOA Learning English, I’m Steve
Ember.

New Year’s Resolutions – Plan to keep yours?
 
Now, depending on where in the world you are and when you’re joining us,
the start of the New Year is just hours, or maybe minutes, or even seconds
away.  
 
Yes, the clock is ticking toward 2014.  As far back in history as we can tell,
people have celebrated the start of a new year. The people of ancient Egypt
began their new year in summer.  That is when the Nile River flooded its
banks, bringing water and fertility to the land.
 
Today, most people celebrate New Year’s Day on January first.  People
observe the New Year’s holiday in many different ways, usually starting with
New Year’s Eve.
 
The ancient Babylonians celebrated the New Year by forcing their king to
give up his crown and royal clothing.  They made him get down on his knees
and admit all the mistakes he had made during the past year.  
 
That idea of admitting mistakes and finishing the business of the old year is
found in many cultures at New Year’s.   
 
So is the idea of making New Year’s resolutions.  A resolution is a promise to
change or do something different in the coming year.  
 
Making New Year’s resolutions is a common American tradition. Breaking
them is, too!
 
Today, popular resolutions might include the promise to lose weight, stop
smoking, or be more productive at work.
    
Some members of our Learning English group have offered New Year’s
resolutions of their own, and told me I could share them. So here goes.
 
One of our people promised to stop telling stories about others. That practice
is known as gossip. Another staff member promised to spend more time with
his family. Our boss resolved to be “the best Dad ever.”  
 
And one said about resolutions, “Oh, I gave that up years ago.”  
 
Here’s one we’ve all at least thought about:
 
[Sound of lottery terminal]

“I resolve to win the lottery.”

Another colleague wants to stop smoking. Every year, she says, she makes that resolution…and every year it hasn’t happened. Well, maybe in 2014. 
 
Another one of our group is resolving to lose some weight. Those resolutions
usually have to wait until after the holiday season. Lots of festive meals, you
know.
 
Here’s one I like: My resolution is to stop making resolutions, because I
never keep them. For example, this colleague told me, I have not given up
eating too many sweets, resolved on many a January first.  She says, she
will still work for chocolates! That’s good to know.

One person - that would be me - decided to get a new cat to replace a much loved one that had recently died. 

Mewer enjoys the sunshine in his bay window. (Steve Ember/VOA)Mewer enjoys the sunshine in his bay window. (Steve Ember/VOA)
x
Mewer enjoys the sunshine in his bay window. (Steve Ember/VOA)
Mewer enjoys the sunshine in his bay window. (Steve Ember/VOA)
Now, that resolution was made at the end of 2002. It took me almost two years to keep it, but in October of 2004, at an animal shelter in Virginia, I was “adopted” by a very handsome, and very talkative, gray and white cat. Mewer and I have been together ever since. He even helped me out on a recent As It Is, all about cats. Perhaps you heard him? He’s the one that purrs like a diesel locomotive.
 
Other people use New Year’s resolutions to make changes in how they live their lives.  One such resolution might be to “stop and smell the roses.” That’s always a pleasant thing to do, but what the expression means to take time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures…instead of always being too busy and in a hurry. 
 
Another resolution might be “don’t sweat the small stuff.”  This means not to worry or get angry about unimportant things.  Another resolution might be to be happy now and to forget about bad things that happened in the past. Or, to be thankful for the most important things in life, like family and friends.   
 
Here’s a little musical resolution I made – to wrap up today’s program with a
musical question.

Maybe it’s much too early in the game
Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same
What’re you doing New Year’s Eve?


That’s Margaret Whiting’s classic recording of the Frank Loesser tune “What
Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”

As It Is is a production of VOA Learning English.

Steve Ember here, and no matter what you’re doing New Year’s Eve our
resolution is to wish you a happy, healthy and productive New Year!  See
you in 2014.

[Margaret Whiting continues]
Maybe I’m crazy to suppose
I’d ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations you’ll receive…

Comment Sorting
Comment on this story (12)
Comments
     
by: Shakerullah from: Jalalabad, Afghanistan
01/04/2014 3:05 PM
My Resolutions: I need to work hard to achieve my goals. prepare my research paper, , study hard, give more time for my beloved family, and meet with friends as much as possible.

In Response

by: Steve Ember from: Washington, DC
02/22/2014 8:13 PM
Thanks, Shakerullah, for sharing your New Year's resolutions. I hope you are successful in achieving all of your worthy goals!
Best wishes in the New Year,
Steve


by: Ammar from: Iraq-Baghdad
01/01/2014 7:20 AM
My decided to keep follow up the VOA learn english to improve my langouge to fluency


by: Cong Nguyen Thanh from: VIetnam
01/01/2014 1:31 AM
I resolve to live in my own way, follow my self and never never give up on me ! i'll grow up and try by all my power to accomplish what i want ! that's it ! yes ! i'll do it ! :)))


by: Noon from: Bangkok
12/31/2013 9:36 AM
One of my New Year's resolutions is to practise more English since it's my major. I still have nothing to do on New Year's Eve. We don't have a party here. I may stay at home and watch movies.

In Response

by: Duc Nguyen from: VietNam
01/04/2014 5:31 AM
I love this page, and I like your thought too.

In Response

by: Steve Ember from: Washington, DC
02/22/2014 8:15 PM
Hello, Duc Nguyen,
So happy to read that you enjoyed the program.
All good wishes in the New Year!
Steve


by: kamil from: Russia
12/31/2013 7:57 AM
my New Year resolution is to keep on learning English (thanks for your help VOA!) Happy New Year to all!

In Response

by: seeyoung from: Seoul, Korea
01/01/2014 1:42 AM
You have one of my owns. Happy new year too:)


by: John from: Tianjin PRC
12/31/2013 3:17 AM
Why I can listen the audio files on my Google Chrome or Firefox browser. What software do I need to play them?

Thanks!

Wish you a happy New Year!


by: Tony C
12/22/2013 5:45 AM
My 2014 new year's resolution is to follow this program, As It Is, for one year with no break on any single day. So far, I have been with this program for about a month. Every day, before going to bed, I come to this website to listen & watch As It Is. Please keep posting new articles on time, so there will be no excuse for me to give up. Thank you so much!

In Response

by: Steve Ember from: Washington, DC
02/22/2014 8:22 PM
Thank you, Tony. Comments like yours make me - and all of my colleagues in VOA Learning English - feel proud of what we are doing.
Happy to have you listening every day!
Steve

Learn with The News

  • Armed officers approach Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014.

    Video Deadly Attack Shocks Canada's Capital

    Also, Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq vote to send Kurdish forces to the Syrian town of Kobani. China said 43 people tested for possible Ebola infection do not have the virus. Russia and Ukraine are still working to reach an agreement on Ukraine's payments for natural Gas. More

  • FBI Director James Comey speaks about the impact of technology on law enforcement, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at Brookings Institution in Washington.

    Audio Apple, FBI Battle Over Privacy Rules

    Apple recently said it was increasing security settings on its latest operating system for the company’s wireless devices. Apple said its new encryption rules are designed to protect users from search and seizure of their iPhones. But the changes are of concern to federal investigators. More

  • Survivors of the Ebola virus pose for a picture outside a clinic near Tubmanburg, October 15, 2014. A total of 4,493 people have died from the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record as of Oct. 12, statistics released by the World Health Organization showe

    Audio Ebola Survivors Speak Out about Their Experience

    The number of Ebola cases continues rising. But there is some hope for those who survive the disease. Recently, a conference for Ebola survivors was held for the first time in eastern Sierra Leone. The goal was to offer advice to survivors and increase understanding of the disease. More

  • Men convicted of drug related crimes hear the public announcement for their death sentences in Shenzhen, China, on August 15, 1996.  (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

    Audio Activists: China Executed 2,400 People in 2013

    The number of executions in China is lower than in earlier years. However, it is more than three times higher than the number of executions in the rest of the world combined. That information comes from Amnesty International. Death penalty numbers are a state secret in China. More

  • Ebola-CDC brief

    Audio  WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

    Also, student leaders in Hong Kong not satisfied with first talks with government officials. North Korea has releases one of three American prisoners. And South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for the deadly shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

  • Millions of years of history, which can be found on the ocean floor, are collected and analyzed at the Core Repository in New York.

    Video Scientists Create New Maps of Ocean Floor

    Until recently, scientists had mapped only about 20 percent of the sea floor. But our knowledge of the deep seas is changing because of information from satellites. Scientists have produced a new map that provides a detailed picture of the oceans. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs