The New Year is a time for resolutions. Mentally, at least, most of us could compile formidable lists of 'dos' and 'don'ts'. The same old favorites recur year in year out with monotonous regularity. We resolve to get up earlier each morning, eat less, find more time to play with the children, do a thousand and one jobs about the house, be nice to people we don't like, drive carefully, and take the dog for a walk every day. Past experience has taught us that certain accomplishments are beyond attainment. If we remain
inveterate smokers, it is only because we have so often experienced the frustration that results from failure. Most of us fail in our efforts at self-improvement because our schemes are too ambitious and we never have time to carry them out. We also make the fundamental error of announcing our resolutions to everybody so that we look even more
foolish when we slip back into our bad old ways. Aware of these pitfalls, this year I attempted to keep my resolutions to myself. I limited myself to two modest ambitions： to do physical exercise every morning and to read more of an evening. An all-night party on New Year's Eve provided me with a good excuse for not carrying out either of these new resolutions on the first day of the year, but on the second, I applied myself assiduously to the task.
The daily exercises lasted only eleven minutes and I proposed to do them early in the morning before anyone had got up. The self-discipline required to drag myself out of bed eleven minutes earlier than usual was considerable.
Nevertheless, I managed to creep down into the living room
for two days before anyone found me out. After jumping about on the carpet and twisting the human frame into uncomfortable positions, I sat down at the breakfast table in an exhausted condition. It was this that betrayed me. The next morning the whole family trooped in to watch the performance. That was really unsettling, but I fended off the taunts and jibes of
the family good-humouredly and soon everybody got used to the idea. However, my enthusiasm waned. The time I spent at exercises gradually diminished. Little by little the eleven minutes fell to zero. By January 10th, I was back to where I had started from. I argued that if I spent less time exhausting myself at exercises in the morning, I would keep
my mind fresh for reading when I got home form work Resisting the hypnotizing effect of television, I sat in my room for a few evenings with my eyes glued to a book. One night, however, feeling cold and lonely, I went downstairs and sat in front
of the television pretending to read. That proved to be my undoing, for I soon got back to my old bad habit of dozing
off in front of the screen. I still haven't given up my resolution to do more reading. In fact, I have just bought a book entitled How to Read a Thousand Words a Minute. Perhaps
it will solve my problem, but I just haven't had time to read it!
resolution n. 决心
mentally adv. 内心里
compile v. 编辑，编制
formidable adj. 令人畏惧的
recur v. 再发生，又出现
regularity n. 规律性
accomplishment n. 成就
attainment n. 达到
inveterate adj. 根深蒂固的
self-improvement n. 自我完善
cheme n. 简单的计划，方案
ambitious adj. 雄心勃勃的
pitfall n. 意外的困难，易犯的错误modest adj. 要求不过度的
assiduously adv. 刻苦地
self-discipline n. 自我约束
frame n. 躯体
betray v. 暴露，显露
troop v. 成群结队地走动
unsettle v. 使不安
taunt n. 嘲笑，奚落人的话
jibe n. 嘲弄，挖苦
good-humouredly adv. 和气地，心情好地
wane v. 逐渐变小，变弱
diminish v. 减少，缩小
hypnotize v. 使欲睡，使朦胧
undoing n. 祸根，毁灭的原因
screen n. 电视机屏幕
1. Mr Kirk is a formidable candidate, but not without weaknesses.
2.The Economist was fortunate that Norman decided to park his formidable intellect
at 25 St James's Street.
英英：happen or occur again
1. His illness is likely to recur.
2. Let us recur to the subject later on.
3. When his wife left him he had to recur to drinking.
1. It is possible of attainment.
2. They think it may contribute to intellectual growth and lead to the attainment of
1. Hitler was not only an avid reader but also an inveterate underliner.
2.The inveterate thought of the first language will influence you when you try the
1. The pitfall of working abroad is numerous.
2. The pitfall is the trappings of success can catch you off guard.
1. But in almost all cases they carry only a modest risk for the disease.
2. The seemingly modest unemployment rate of 4.4% in February understates the pain.
1. I will apply myself assiduously to the new work.
2. Every turn of the affair is assiduously shared on Twitter.
1. She would not betray his secrets to me.
2. A friend does not betray confidences.
3. Time has left many scars on his body; thousands of wrinkles betray his age.
英英：disturb the composure of
1. This strike may unsettle the economy.
2. Were the arrests an attempt to unsettle Rio and gain the upper hand in the negotiations?
3. Mass violence threatened to unsettle the very foundations of government.
1. The moon wax till it become full, and then wane.
2. As time went on, their hopes began to wane.
3. Dick Cheney, the hawkish vice-president, has seen his influence wane.
英英：decrease in size, extent, or range
1. Anger is much likelier to mount than diminish.
2. Nothing could diminish her enthusiasm for the project.
3. Our water supply have diminish as a result of the drought.
1. This temptation to cover the distance between himself and reader can be his
undoing： he has begun to write to please.
2. Our attempt to climb higher was our undoing：we fell off the rock.
【year in year out】年复一年
【a thousand and one】许很多多
【little by little】逐步的
【keep mind fresh】保持清醒