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Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.
I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for beginners. The name of the story is New Year, New Me. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/New. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/New. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
So, Happy New Year to everyone! As I record this, it is the 1st of January, and this morning it snowed and it was really pretty. So hopefully, that means we are going to have a good year. Hopefully, 2021 will be better than 2020!
I hope you had a fun New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve is the 31st of December. It’s the last day of the year, and people have big parties on this night. ‘Eve’ is short for ‘evening’.
Personally, I had a very relaxed New Year’s Eve. I watched a film called The Princess Bride, I ate some food, I chatted with a friend online and I read a book.
Maybe you had a more exciting New Year’s Eve than I did. I would love to hear what you did. So come to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/New and leave a comment and tell me, what did you do on New Year’s Eve?
Anyway, today’s story is all about New Year’s resolutions.
A New Year’s resolution is when you say, ‘Next year, I’m going to change this thing in my life.’ Usually, people make New Year’s resolutions a few days before the New Year. Most people make resolutions like, ‘I’m going to go to the gym every day this year,’ or, ‘I’m going to stop smoking this year.’ Personally, I don’t think New Year’s resolutions work. I don’t make them myself. Hopefully, this story will show you why!
Another phrase that is in this story is ‘slow and steady wins the race’. This means that it’s better to work, to move, slowly and steadily. We work a bit at a time. We shouldn’t run ahead really quickly because then we’ll get tired.
This phrase comes from a very popular story called The Rabbit and the Tortoise, and you can read this story on the podcast! So go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Rabbit. This story will really show you the meaning of this phrase.
In other news, I finally finished Billy and Dim!
If you don’t know, Billy and Dim is a longer story that I wrote for the podcast. So you can listen to the first three chapters on the podcast, and you can read the whole story at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/BillyAndDim.
The reason I didn’t release all the episodes on the podcast is because it’s an advanced story, and I know that it’s too difficult for many of you.
If you want to hear all of the story and not just read it, you can do that at Patreon. For just $5 a month, you can get all of Billy and Dim, as well as a bonus story every month. So that’s at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.
So Billy and Dim is a love story about two werewolves, two men who can turn into wolves. It’s kind of based on Little Red Riding Hood, but really, I just like writing stories about werewolves and kissing!
Anyway, I’m so sorry it took me so long to finish the story, but I’m really happy with it, and if you want to read the whole thing for free, go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/BillyAndDim.
It’s longer than the usual stories on here. It’s eight chapters long. So if you want a challenge for your English in 2021, this could be the perfect thing!
Anyway, I hope you like it, and I would love to hear what you think. You can send me an email at Ariel@EasyStoriesInEnglish.com.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
A wise person is someone who is clever, always acts after thinking and has good judgement. Older people are usually wiser, because life has taught them many lessons. For example, Dumbledore in Harry Potter is a very wise character.
A spontaneous person is someone who does things without thinking. For example, maybe one day you wake up and think, ‘Today, I’m going to drive to a new place and make a friend.’ Or someone invites you to a party, and you say, ‘Sure!’ without thinking. Then you are a very spontaneous person. Personally, I am not spontaneous at all. I think carefully about everything, and I like to have plans. I hate doing things without a plan!
Some people are very fun. They like to play games, make jokes and go to parties. But some people are serious. They like to stay at home, read books and have long conversations. Personally, I’m quite a serious person… Well, I do like to make jokes and play games a lot, but also I don’t like going to parties very much!
The time when you are a child is your childhood. Your childhood goes from ages 0 to 13, usually. After that, you’re a teenager. Your childhood is very important, because if you have a bad childhood, it can be difficult to have a happy life later. People often think about their childhood when they’re older.
A gym is a place where you go to exercise. You pay some money every month, and then you can go to the gym and do exercise there. Gyms have all kinds of machines you can use, weights to lift and so on. Some gyms even have swimming pools and saunas. Personally, I have never gone to a gym. I am very nervous about doing exercise in front of other people. But now I work out at home. Maybe after coronavirus, I’ll join a gym… We’ll see!
When you frown, you push your eyebrows together. Your eyebrows are the hairs above your eyes, on your head. When you are angry, or you don’t understand something, you frown. You shouldn’t frown too much, though, because then you’ll get wrinkles, lines on your forehead.
When you do something all at once, you don’t do it in small parts. You do 100% at the same time. For example, maybe you have a big chocolate cake. Normally, you would eat it slice by slice. Maybe it would take you a few days to eat it. But you love chocolate cake so much, so you eat it all at once! Mmm… Well, then you’ll probably have a stomach ache. Ouch! Children usually like to eat things all at once, but adults eat more slowly.
When you have water in a bottle, but you want to have it in a glass, you pour it. I am very bad at pouring drinks. Usually, half of the drink goes into the glass, and half goes onto the floor! When you pour beer, you have to be careful so that the beer does not all turn into white stuff called foam, because the foam then goes away and you have less beer to drink.
When you smile, you move the sides of your mouth up. It is like a laugh, but smaller. You want to show that you are happy. If you like someone, you smile at them. In some countries, people smile a lot more than in other countries. Sometimes, Thailand is called ‘the land of smiles’.
In the morning when you wake up, what’s the first thing that happens? Your alarm clock goes off! It makes a horrible, loud sound and you run across the room to turn it off. When someone rings your phone, it goes off, too. Finally, if someone tries to steal your car, the alarm will go off. Well, hopefully it will!
If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support us on Patreon. For just $2 a month you can get exercises with each episode, and for $5, you get an extra story every month, as well as Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners. Last week I talked about how the UK government cancelled Christmas, quitting technology for a day, the end of Brexit, strange New Year’s traditions and the film You’ve Got Mail. You can support the show and get all the extra content at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.
A big thank-you to our new patrons: David Meir, Choi Wai and Agnieszka Lupa. Thank you so much. Your support really means a lot to me.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
New Year, New Me
Once, there were two sisters. One of them was very wise, and always thought before doing something. She was called Minerva. The other one was very spontaneous. She always started new things without thinking, and she often had many problems. She was called Diana.
One year, Minerva and Diana were spending New Year’s Eve together. Usually, Minerva spent New Year’s alone. She read books, thought about the year, and planned the next year. Usually, Diana spent New Year’s with other people. She partied, drank lots of alcohol and felt very bad the next day.
But Minerva and Diana hadn’t seen each other all year, so they decided to spend New Year’s together. Minerva thought, Oh no, it’s going to be so boring for Diana! It will just be me and her. Diana thought, Oh no, I’m going to bother Minerva so much! She’s so serious, and I’m always so loud and spontaneous.
But actually, they had a lovely time together. They ate dinner and drank wine, and laughed a lot as they remembered their childhood.
Finally, Diana said, ‘Oh, Sister. I suppose usually at this time you are making your New Year’s resolutions.’
Minerva laughed. ‘No, no. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.’
Diana was surprised. ‘You don’t make resolutions? But you’re the most serious person I know! You go to the gym, and cook healthy food, and read books… How do you do all that without New Year’s resolutions?’
Minerva drank some wine. ‘Let me ask you something. How much are you planning on drinking tonight?’
Diana frowned. ‘You plan how much you’re going to drink?’
‘No,’ said Minerva. ‘But just tell me. Around how much are you going to drink?’
Diana thought. Usually on New Year’s, she drank a lot. But tonight, it was just her and her sister. So she would probably only drink one bottle of wine.
‘One bottle,’ she said finally.
‘And are you going to drink it all at once?’
‘Of course not!’ said Diana. ‘I know I drink a lot, but I don’t drink that much.’
‘Ah,’ said Minerva, ‘but you are still drinking one bottle. You are just drinking it all at once.’
‘We were talking about resolutions,’ said Diana. ‘Why did you ask me about wine?’
Minerva laughed and poured Diana more wine. ‘Tell me then, Sister. What are your resolutions this year?’
‘Oh, this year, this year!’ said Diana. ‘This is going to be the year I change my life. I’m going to change everything, you understand? Actually, this bottle of wine is going to be my last. In the New Year, I’m only going to drink water and tea. And I’m going to exercise every day, just like you. Yes, I’m going to go to the gym! And of course, I need to change what I eat. I always eat burgers and chips, and look at what happens.’ She showed Minerva her stomach. ‘Horrible! No, next year I will make salads and soups and all kinds of healthy food.’
‘Mm-hmm,’ said Minerva. ‘And which will you do first?’
Diana frowned. ‘I’m going to do all of them at once, of course! What about you? You don’t have any resolutions?’
Minerva sighed. ‘I suppose I have one resolution. But it’s a bit different. I’m going to learn to draw.’
‘Oh! That’s a good idea. So you’re going to practise every day?’
‘Yes, I think so,’ said Minerva.
‘How much do you have to draw, then?’
Minerva frowned. ‘Well, I don’t have to draw anything. I’m doing it because I want to. But I’m planning on doing five minutes a day.’
‘Hah, five minutes!’ said Diana. ‘You really are quite strange, Sister. Wait!’ Diana stood up. ‘I have an idea. Let’s have a competition. Oh, we always had competitions in our childhood! Next year, we’ll talk again, and we’ll see who completed their resolution better.’
Minerva smiled. ‘OK, Sister. But you know I’ll win.’
So the next day, on the first of January, Diana woke up early to go to the gym.
Well, her alarm clock went off, but she felt horrible, so she turned the alarm off and went back to sleep.
Two hours later, she got up and went to the gym. It was filled with people.
Aha, thought Diana. Everyone else has the same idea. That means it’s a good idea! I’m going to be so healthy.
She had eaten so much the night before, so she needed to work hard today. She got on the exercise machine and ran. She lifted heavy things. She rode exercise bikes. She swam.
In the end, she exercised for two hours. She was so tired, and her body hurt so much, but she was happy.
‘I’m going to show Minerva!’ she said.
But the next day, when Diana’s alarm clock went off, she couldn’t get out of bed. Her whole body hurt too much!
‘That’s OK,’ said Diana. ‘Everyone needs a break. I’ll do something else today. I’ll cook a healthy meal!’
But Diana didn’t cook very often. She didn’t know what food was healthy, and she didn’t know how to cook it. She went to the supermarket to buy food, but it took an hour, because she didn’t know what food to buy. Then she had to carry the heavy bags home, and her arms hurt so much.
When she got home, Diana said, ‘I’ll just take a short break.’
She poured a glass of wine and then stopped.
‘No!’ She remembered what she had told Minerva. ‘I can’t drink wine! I’ll have tea.’
She made a cup of tea, but she left the glass of wine on the table. The glass of wine stood there, looking at her. The tea wasn’t very nice. It was a strange, healthy tea. Diana didn’t know what was in it. But it wasn’t good. And the wine looked so good…
‘Well, it’s just one glass, isn’t it?’
Eleven months later, Diana was at a party.
‘So, Diana!’ said her friend Victor. ‘What are you doing for New Year’s?’
Suddenly, Diana remembered her competition with Minerva.
‘Oh no!’ she cried.
She had forgotten about her New Year’s resolutions. She had stopped going to the gym, but she still paid money to the gym every month. She had stopped cooking healthy food, and there were still old carrots in her fridge. And she had drunk lots of wine and beer all year.
‘What is it?’ said Victor.
Diana ran to the bathroom and poured her wine into the toilet.
‘I still have a month!’ she said. ‘I have a month to win the competition… This is going to be the healthiest month of my life!’
Victor didn’t understand what she was saying, but she left before he could ask.
For the whole of December, Diana was healthy. She went to the gym every day, she cooked healthy food and she didn’t drink any alcohol. Oh, it was hard!
But she had to win. All her childhood, Minerva had won their competitions. Just once, she wanted to win. Today, she wasn’t going to be spontaneous. No, she would be wiser than Minerva!
When New Year’s Eve arrived, Diana was very tired. She had worked so hard. She had exercised for hours every day.
‘Now who’s serious?’ she said. ‘If Minerva only did five minutes a day, she will still be very bad at drawing!’
So Diana went to visit her sister. When she came into the house, she gasped.
All of the walls had pictures on them. They were big, beautiful pictures that Minerva had drawn!
‘How is that possible?’ said Diana. ‘You only drew for five minutes a day!’
Minerva smiled. ‘Well, yes, at first I did. But after a month, I really enjoyed drawing. So I drew for ten minutes. Then twenty minutes. Now I draw for over an hour every day.’
‘You can’t do that!’ said Diana. ‘That’s… how did you do that? All year? I exercised so much on the first day, and then…’
‘Then you stopped?’ said Minerva.
‘Yes! How did you know?’
Minerva smiled. ‘You can’t change your whole life in one day. You know what they say, slow and steady wins the race.’
‘Ugh!’ said Diana. She sat down on the sofa. ‘Do you have any wine? I’ll drink it slowly and steadily.’
‘I love you, Sister,’ said Minerva, and kissed her on the head. ‘Maybe next year, just go to the gym for five minutes a day? At first.’
Diana smiled. ‘You’re so wise, Sister. I want to be like you.’
‘Now, now,’ said Minerva. ‘I want to be spontaneous like you. All our childhood, everyone said that you were so fun, and I was so serious and boring.’
Diana was surprised. ‘You want to be like me? But I do everything wrong!’
‘No, you don’t,’ said Minerva. ‘There’s one thing you know how to do very well.’
Diana thought, but she didn’t know what it was. ‘What do you mean?’
Diana laughed. ‘Alright, then. This is going to be the best New Year’s Eve ever!’
If you enjoyed the story and want to say thank you, you can buy me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Just go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com and click the orange button that says Buy me a coffee! Then you’ll be able to send me $3 so that I can buy a coffee, but really, I’ll probably get a bubble tea. And I’ll think of you while I drink it! Thank you for listening, and until next week.