Unseen Passage: Resolutions

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 and 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 deep-rooted liars, 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 resolution 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 exercise every morning and to read more every 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 exercise 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 upsetting but I fended off the taunts and jibes of the family good humorously 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 10th January, 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 got home from work. Resisting the hypnotizing effect to 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 the 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.

Q. Answer the following questions by choosing the most appropriate option:

  1. According to the writer, past experience of resolutions has taught us
    1. frustration results from failure.
    2. certain accomplishments are beyond attainment.
    3. New Year is a time for resolutions.
    4. failures are a part of life.
  2. Most of us fail in our efforts at self improvement because
    1. our schemes are too ambitious.
    2. we never have time to carry them out.
    3. we announce our resolution to everybody.
    4. All of these.
  3. It is a basic mistake to announce our resolution because
    1. we have no excuse to revert back to our earlier life.
    2. we can’t be nice to people we don’t like.
    3. we look more foolish when we slip back to our old ways.
    4. None of these
  4. The writer did not carry out his resolutions on New Year’s Day because
    1. he had attended an all night party.
    2. he was glued to the TV.
    3. the exercise was only for eleven minutes.
    4. everyone was awake and watching him.
  5. The writer thought of keeping his mind fresh by
    1. watching TV.
    2. exercising for eleven minutes.
    3. reading.
    4. finding that more time to play with children.
  6. The word which similar in meaning to ‘decrease ’ is
    1. formidable
    2. monotonous
    3. attainment
    4. diminish

Answer

  1. certain accomplishments are beyond attainment
  2. we never have time to carry them out
  3. we look more foolish when we slip back to our old ways
  4. he had attended an all night party
  5. reading
  6. diminish

Q. Answer the following questions:

  1. The New Year is a time for __________.
  2. Past experience has taught us certain accomplishments are beyond __________ .
  3. I limited myself to two modest __________ .
  4. The self-discipline required to drag myself out of bed eleven minutes earlier than usual was __________ .
  5. ‘The next morning the whole family trooped in to watch the __________ .
  6. I still haven’t given up my __________ to do more reading.

Answer

  1. resolutions
  2. attainment
  3. ambitions
  4. considerable
  5. performance
  6. resolution

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