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Resolution is a word with more than one meaning. However, when talking about a New Year, a resolution is a promise people make to themselves to be better. The person decides to make a serious effort to do something over the next 12 months.

Many people use the start of a new year as a time to try something new or change something about themselves. This use of resolution dates back to the late 1700s. These earlier resolutions were usually of a religious nature.

However, these days, New Year’s resolutions are usually about living healthier, having more success and finding greater satisfaction in life.

So, some common New Year’s resolutions are to:

· lose weight,

· exercise more,

· keep in contact with family and friends,

· stop smoking,

· save money,

· go back to school,

· cut back on alcohol,

· or get more or better sleep.

Some people may make a New Year’s resolution to improve only one area of their life. Others may feel they need to completely change everything. These people may use the New Year as a time to turn over a new leaf! (cải tà quy chính) Turning over a new leaf means to make a change and behave in a more responsible manner.

At the start of a New Year, you can wipe the slate clean. (quên đi chuyện củ) This means you can simply wash away all the mistakes you made from the past year, as one would remove chalk from a school black board.

Just remember that before you start from a clean slate, learn from the mistakes you made. If not, you may find yourself going back to square one. Some word historians say this expression comes from a board game called Snakes and Ladders. In this game, you begin on square one and win by climbing the ladders to the last square. However, landing on a snake could send you back to the first square, or the very beginning.

The expression back to square one could have come from the game Hopscotch. This game also begins on a box marked with the number “1.”

If your plans for the New Year are not working out at all, you may have to go back to the drawing board. This means that your plan or method is not working. So, you have to go back and develop a new solution to the problem. People who draw images, such as cartoonists, use a drawing board.

The phrase go back to the drawing board comes from Peter Arno, who worked as a cartoonist for New Yorker magazine. In 1941, he made a cartoon showing military men running toward a crashed plane. The designer of plane is seen walking away with his designs under his arm. The caption says, "Well, back to the old drawing board".

So, for many people the New Year is a good time for a fresh start.

Still, many people do not make New Year’s resolutions. They do not want to put added pressure on themselves. Or they are happy with what they are doing and how their lives are progressing.

And some people may think that there is no reason to try so hard to change yourself. They may agree with the old saying that a leopard never changes its spots. This means you are born as you are born and no amount of effort can change that.

After all, change can be hard. Getting up early to exercise every day is hard.

Setting aside time every day to learn a new language or musical instrument is not easy.

As we get older, it might be even more difficult for people to change their behavior. Maybe that’s way we say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

I’m Anna Matteo. Have a Happy New Year!



Sydney, one of the first cities to usher (báo hiệu, mở ra) in the Lunar New Year, has seen its famed Opera House lit up red on the eve of the holiday.

Combined with the annual fireworks display, the Circular Quay (Cầu Cảng) has drawn thousands.

Sydney's Mayor Clover Moore.

"Sydney's very proud of the fact that we have the biggest celebration of the Lunar New Year, the Chinese New Year, outside Asia. And it's something that has grown from a very small community event - 21 years ago - to be this very large event. And people come from all around the world, especially from Asia, to celebrate with us."

Celebrations in Sydney are due (arranged or expected) to last until early February, with millions expected to attend the festivities.

Night food markets and dragon boat racing will continue for the coming week in Australia's largest city.

In Japan's historic Chinatown in district in the city of Yokohama, holiday festivities have included prayers, firecrackers and lion dances.

25-year-old Chinese student Sun Yuanyuan says the events in Yokohama are almost like being at home.

"I felt like I was in China. I'm so happy and excited to celebrate the new year all together in this temple. It reminds me of home."

At the stroke of midnight, Malaysia put on huge celebrations on the outskirts of the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Large bird-shaped lanterns surround the Dong Zen Temple, marking the start of the "Year of the Rooster."

Matt MacDonald is from New Zealand.

"Well the design, my first impression was it's an interesting contrast between portraying the peace and tranquility with intense light and decorations but overall it gives a very nice effect - something that I'm not very used to but very impressive."

In South America, Brazil has marked the start of the Chinese New Year by lighting up the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in red.

Many locals are joining cultural activities organized by the Chinese community there.

"I wish I knew how to write my last name in Chinese. Chinese characters are so beautiful. I'm really into Chinese calligraphy, and I'd love to learn it someday. I always find Asian cultures intriguing. That's why I'm here. I'm glad we have the opportunity to experience Chinese culture in person."

In Peru, thousands of people have lined the streets of Lima's Chinatown to celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year.

Peru is home to roughly 10-percent of people of Chinese origin.

While typically a time for family, the Lunar New Year has also become an opportunity for people to travel.

China's tourism authorities estimate around 6-million people have opted to travel abroad this year, an increase of over 13-and-a-half percent compared with last year.

Composed & Edited by Lê Quốc An
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