New Year’s Idioms

In the United States, when the new year is approaching, many people think about what they accomplished and what mistakes or wrong choices they made so they can change them in the year that’s about to start. In other words, they think of the new year as a new beginning – an opportunity to leave anything they don’t like about their life in the past and set goals to change them, or they just set new goals for self-improvement. Here are some idioms or phrases connected with this practice.

New Year’s Resolution– a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.

Example: “Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?”

     “Yes, I’m going to eat healthier and give up smoking.”


turn over a new leaf– to change your behavior in a positive way.

Example: She turned over a new leaf; she began getting to school on time and doing all her homework.


kick the habit– to give up something that you have done for a long time.

Example: He used to smoke but he kicked the habit last year.


bite off more than you can chew– when you do something that proves to be too difficult 

Example: I think he’s bitten off more than he can chew taking all those classes; he should’ve started with just a couple of classes at first.


get the ball rolling– to make something happen or the beginning of something 

Example: We want to get fit this year so we joined the gym to get the ball rolling.


back to the drawing board– to go back to the beginning of a plan, and start over

Example: My plan to read one book per week did not work last year. I have to go back to the drawing board and think of a new way to accomplish my goal of reading more. 

New Year’s – What is it to you?

On Christmas Eve, a blanket of wispy fog hovered our skies- which gave the day an extra boost of holiday spirit. Here in Orange County, we do not get snow. Your best bet will be the Disneyland Winter show. Yes, soap bubbles! To some, this might come off as absurd.  However, in retrospect, there are people in America who have never seen real snow; there are people from all corners of the globe who have never seen snow; there are a handful of ESL students here at Poly Languages who have never stepped in snow, even some of our staff that are native Californians! To these people, and then some, the substance that is known to them as a cleaning agent (soap) transforms into a holiday spectacle that will remain in their memories for time to come.  


Once Christmas celebrations are over, the holiday spirit isn’t over. In America, at least, the festive spirit remains because of the soon-to-come New Year. Like the soap-bubbles snow, people see New Year’s Day in different ways. In many countries, the New Year’s date is determined by astronomical and astrological factors.  Though some other countries’ New Year’s Day are practiced in the United States, there is one day that the nation recognizes as a national holiday. The U.S. New Year is observed on January 1st on the modern Gregorian and Julian calendar.


Traditionally, the New Year is an occasion where people spend time with their loved ones. The night is accompanied by fireworks and parties. Probably the most famous New Year’s Day celebration is held in New York City. The famous Times Square Ball is lowered with a countdown a minute before midnight. A gigantic series of celebrations is followed by the New Year announcement. A great display of fireworks, music, live performances, and shows are put on. People can also enjoy these grand spectacles in the comfort of their own home–on television.  


There is more to the New Year’s Day tradition in America. A common practice done by many Americans is to make New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all made promises or goals during our lives, and these resolutions are no different. What makes New Year’s resolutions so significant? To some, it signifies a new cycle of life–shed last year’s mistakes and woes and start off on a clean slate. It’s definitely a positive mindset. To others, it serves as a motivational tool. Some find similarities in their resolutions and work together to achieve them. Regardless of the rationality, New Year’s resolutions reflect the holiday spirit of bringing people together.


Whether it’s soapy snow, fireworks, music, a giant ball being dropped in Times Square, or making resolutions, the holidays are a time of celebration and community.