The New Year is a great time to set new goals, or intentions, for the year ahead. 

I usually like to take some time to reflect on the year past and get clear about what I want to bring in for the next 12 months. 

It’s also a really great time to set some clear goals for your English learning. 

In this lesson I’m going to teach you 6 Idioms To Talk About New Year’s Resolutions. 

A resolution is a strong decision to do or not do something.

Let’s start by looking at a natural conversation about New Year’s Resolutions. See if you know or can guess any of the idioms here;

IDIOMS IN CONVERSATION: 

Michelle: So how did you ring in the new year Andy?

Andy: My friends and I went out on a boat and watched the fireworks in Sydney harbour! It was incredible!

Michelle: Wow, sounds amazing. My boyfriend and I went camping in South Australia. It was so nice to get away from it all.

Andy: Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?

Michelle: Well, we chatted about that. I’ve got lots of habits I want to kick. I want to stop eating junk food and wasting my money on alcohol. So, I’m thinking I’m going to turn over a new leaf for this year. A whole new diet and budget plan. How about you?

Andy: I always set lots of goals and I do tend to bite off more than I can chew. This year I want to start a new online business, learn Italian, take guitar classes, buy a new house and find a girlfriend!

Michelle: Wow, that is a lot! Do you have experience with online business?

Andy: No. I’m going to have to start from scratch with it. But I’m meeting with a friend this week who has his own business so he’s going to help me get the ball rolling.

Michelle: Well, good luck with it!


THE IDIOMS:

  1. TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR

This means to celebrate the new year at midnight on December 31. We often ask people: “How did you ring in the new year?” which means “In what way did you celebrate / How did you celebrate?”.

We had a big party on the rooftop to ring in the new year. 

2. TO KICK A HABIT

This means to stop a habit, to quit doing something you often do.

He can’t seem to kick his habit of eating chocolate every night. 

3. TO TURN OVER A NEW LEAF 

We say this when we want to change our habits and act in a better or more responsible way. It means to start again with a new attitude or perspective.

I’ve wasted my life playing too many video games. It’s time to turn over a new leaf and get a new hobby!

4. TO BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW

To accept too many tasks and responsibilities, more than one can handle. 

I think she’s biting off more than she can chew by taking three jobs and studying full time!

5. TO START FROM SCRATCH

To start from the very beginning, with nothing. We often say this when we want to start a new project or task with the basic, raw materials.

We built this house from scratch. We used brick and stone and did it with our own hands.

I always like to make Indian curries from scratch. I use herbs and spices, I never use packets from the supermarket.

6. TO GET THE BALL ROLLING 

To begin a process. To start taking action. 

I felt so much better once we got the ball rolling on the project and everything was happening.

 

 

OTHER CONVERSATION NOTES:

– “My boyfriend and I went camping.” We use GO + VERB ING when talking about leisure / recreation activities, such as;
go swimming (went swimming) / go shopping / go hiking / go rock climbing etc.
– To ‘get away from it all’ means to escape from everyday life and problems. 
– ‘Junk food’ is unhealthy, fast food from places such as McDonalds and KFC. 
– To ‘set goals’ means to make new plans for your future. 
– To ‘tend to do something’ means to do something regularly or often, as a habit.

So, how did you go? Were you able to guess the meaning of the idioms from the conversation first? Do you know how to use these idioms?

WRITING PRACTICE:

Practice using the idioms by answering these questions:

1. How do you usually like to ring in the new year? How did you ring in the last new year?

2. What is a habit you have that you would like to kick? Which habit is difficult to kick for you?

3. When was a time that you turned over a new leaf? What did you change?

4. Have you ever bitten off more than you could chew? When was a time that you did this?

5. Tell me something that you started from scratch.

6. What do you need to get the ball rolling on? (What project or task do you need to start doing?)

Do you set goals at New Year? What are your New Year’s Resolutions? I would love to know!