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Life is composed of many loops. The sun rises and sets every day, Sunday comes every week, the moon revolves the earth every month, and New Year 新年 (xīnnián) comes every 12 months.
Our time is a construction of smaller repeated periods; and this reassuring repetition encourages us to keep trying. There is a second chance, another opportunity to do our best. New Year is always a good time to re-examine what we want, and to make New Year’s resolutions 新年计划 (xīnnián jìhuà).
Nǐ de xīnnián jìhuà shì shénme?
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Some of the most common resolutions are about habits. People hope to get rid of bad habits. For example, to quit smoking 戒烟 (jièyān), or drink less 少喝酒 (shǎo hējiǔ). Most are determined to adopt good habits. Like exercise more 多运动 (duō yùndòng), or save money 存钱 (cún qián). Other popular resolutions are about improving one’s friendships and relationships. To make friends 交朋友(jiāo péngyou), or to find love 找到爱 (zhǎodào ài). Some wish to acquire new skills, like play the guitar弹吉他 (dàn jítā), or cook food 做饭 (zuò fàn).
But some people – Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook – for example, challenge themselves every year with new ambitious and exceptional resolutions. This bilingual article on China Daily summarizes Zuckerberg’s New Year’s resolutions since 2009. In 2010 his wish was simple: to learn Chinese 学习汉语 (xuéxí hànyǔ). His resolution for 2017, tough, was much complex:
Tā de xīnnián yuànwàng shì zài 2017 nián niándǐ qián dào fǎng měiguó gèzhōu, yǔ gèzhōu mínzhòng jiànmiàn.
He wished to visit and meet with people from every state in the United States by the end of 2017.
I’m not as creative as Mark Zuckerberg. I have one simple resolution for this year – to lose weight 减肥 (jiǎnféi).
Wǒ de xīnnián jìhuà shì jiǎnféi.
My New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.
Xīn de yī nián wǒ xiǎng jiǎnféi.
In the coming new year I want to lose weight.
It’s easy to say, but hard to do. New Year’s resolutions are too difficult to achieve新年计划太难实现 (xīnnián jìhuà tài nán shíxiàn). Some believe that New Year’s resolutions will always fail新年计划总会失败 (xīnnián jìhuà zǒng huì shībài). I think the problem lies in phrasing. To lose weight is a general formulation; It’s sounds great idea, but it will probably remain an idea if we won’t break it down to how and when. If we will set a realistic goal, it will be much easier for us to achieve. For example:
Wǒ yuànyì jiǎn wǔ gōngjīn.
I want to lose 5 kilos.
Wǒ de yuànwàng shì shòu wǔ gōngjīn.
My wish is to lose 5 kilos.
In order to lose weight, I need to start eating healthy 吃得健康 (chī dé jiànkāng), and to exercise锻炼身体 (duànliàn shēntǐ). In order to lose 5 kilos 五公斤 (wǔ gōngjīn) I will have to do the same. But this measureable objective of五公斤makes it easier to measure and follow, and increases the chance to achieve the goal. I am not going to set a schedule to the weight lose, but I’m definitely going to devote every day for it: watch what I’m eating and spend my free time working out.
Wǒ huì bǎ wǒ de xīnnián jìhuà jiānchí xiàqù.
I will stick to my New Year’s resolution.
For inspiration I will use this video. It’s cute, funny and with Chinese subtitles.