History is full of some rather interesting New Year’s Resolutions

2017 has made her appearance and is now residing firmly in the present bringing with her a flurry of resolutions.   Do you think yours are unique?  Check out some of the more colorful characters from history as well as their decisions as they were propelled into a new year…

1. Only Receive Fans As Gifts For The Rest Of Your Life

Queen Elizabeth I, monarch of England, had a huge impact on the development of women’s fashion, but one of her biggest influences seems to have come from a New Year’s mistake. It was the custom at the time to offer gifts to the Queen every New Year if you were a courtier; and it seems that at some point, the Queen dropped some kind of hint that she’d quite like a new fan.



The response was a bit unprecedented: her favorite, the Earl of Leicester, gave her an amazing one in 1574, set with diamonds, pearls and rubies. Other courtiers didn’t want to be outdone, so she received hundreds, maybe thousands, of fans over the rest of her life. They became the only acceptable New Year’s gift for her, and she received everything from swan’s down ones to ostentatious multi-colored ones, many of which popped up in her portraits.

2. Learn To Dislike Children

These weren’t New Years resolutions per se, but rather life resolutions written by the satirist Jonathan Swift, who’d go on to write Gulliver’s Travels. He penned a famous list of resolutions for his future in 1669, at the age of 32.


In the list, he warned his future self not to be “peevish or morose or suspicious,” “marry a young woman,” or “neglect decency, or cleanliness, for fear of falling into nastiness.” In the midst of this understandable — if sarcastic — list was the most notable: “Not to be fond of Children, or let them come near me hardly.” As he never had any kids at all (at least that we know of), it seems to have worked out.

3. Nothing

If you’re going to ask a famously nihilistic writer to contribute to your newspaper, you’d better be prepared for what you get. The Times learnt this to their cost (or their delight) in 1984, when they asked the celebrated Samuel Beckett to contribute his own resolutions for the New Year. They received a now-famous telegram:



“resolutions colon zero stop period hopes colon zero stop beckett” Well, that’s what you get.

Here is to making 2017 more than NOTHING and perhaps less than a year full of fans ?


NOTE: Inspired by JR Thorpe

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