The New Year is a time for resolutions. Mentally, at least, most of us could compile formidable lists of ‘ do’s’ and’ don’ts ‘. The same old favourites 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 exercises 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 from 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!
间与孩子们一起做游戏;做大量的家务;对不喜欢的人友善一些;小心驾车;每天都要带着狗散步;等等。 以往的经验告诉我们有些事是办不到的。如果我们烟瘾大，戒不掉，那是因为屡戒屡败，失去信心。我们 大多数人想自我完善却遭到失败，这是因为我们的规划过于宏大，而又根本没有时间去实施。我们还犯有 一个根本性的错误，即把我们的决心向大家宣布。这样一旦滑回到那些老习惯上去，我们在别人的眼里会 显得更加难堪。我深知这些问题，于是，今年我对自己的计划要严加保密，只给自己定下两项适中的任务;
早锻炼一共只有 11 分钟，我打算在别人起床之前进行。这就要求我比平时早 11 分钟把自己从床上 拽起来，这种自我约束是很艰苦的。不过开头两天我还是成功地蹑手蹑脚地来到楼下起居室，被谁也没发 现。我在地毯上跳来蹦过去，扭曲身子，摆出各种姿势，弄得浑身不舒服，然后坐到桌边吃早饭，一副筋 疲力尽的样子。正是这副模样泄露了我的秘密。第二天早晨全家人结队来到起居室看我表演。这真叫人不 好意思，但我心平气和地顶住全家人的嘲笑和奚落。不久，大家对我习以为常了，而这时我的热情却减退 了。我花在锻炼上的时间逐渐减少，慢慢地从 11 分钟减到了零。到了 1 月 10 日，我恢复了原来的作息时 间。我辩解说，早晨少耗费精力锻炼，晚上下班回家看书时头脑更清醒些。有几天晚上，我极力摆脱了电 视的诱惑，坐在自己的房间里，两眼盯在书上。可是，有一天夜里，我感到又冷又孤单，便来到楼下坐在 电视机前假装看书。这下我可完了，因为不一会儿，我就恢复了以前的坏习惯，在屏幕前打起瞌睡来。但 我还没有放弃多看些书的决心。事实上，我刚买来一本叫《一分钟读一千字的诀窍》的书。也许这本书能 解决我的问题，但我一直还没时间去看这本书!