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What does "To Turn Over a New Leaf" mean?

What is the meaning of "To Turn Over a New Leaf"?

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This common phrase originated sometime in the 1500's. The original meaning was actually in reference to the physical act of turning pages in a book. In today's society we use it in reference to a person who is trying to better themselves emotionally, mentally, or change their way of life for the benefit themselves and others around them.

The famous 19th century writerand poet, Oscar Wilde, once blamed of being a recidivist (defined by Wikipedia as - the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or have been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior) pronounced that he "Earnestly intended to turn over a new leaf, but he hadn't gotten to the bottom of the page yet", meaning that when he was done with the project at hand he would be true to his word.

Personally, this phrase will take show itself in numerous ways. New Year's resolutions possibly being the most common, vowing to quit smoking, pledging to lose weight, promising yourself you won't judge others so quickly, anything that usually involves an individual changing for the better.

The phrase "To turn over a new leaf" can also be used more loosely in regards to a business or town improving on financial dealings, or cleaning up and making things more pleasing to the eye. An example would be, "The town of Brazil, I.N. really turned over a new leaf by beautifying the main street that runs through town" or "When that real estate business changed owners they really turned over a new leaf with the way they conduct business now".

A majority of individuals believe that ideally, if something is important to you, than you make time for it, and what better time than the present. They feel that if there is time to reflect on your past transgressions, you can focus on how to better your future.

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