Lady Matilda’s Guide to New Year Resolutions

Hello darlings, and welcome back! I trust Christmas filled you with all the joy, peace, and pies of the season, and that you’re looking forward to another year of sharing your dreams, dreads, and decorating tips with me in the new year.

But what about those pesky resolutions, those promises we make to ourselves that we’ll do better, improve ourselves and our families? How do you make them? And, more importantly, how do you stick to them? At the end of the year, YOU want to be the one celebrating your achievements and wishing your neighbours better luck on theirs next year!

How to Make Them

I use a little formula revealed to me by an ancient travelling holy man. He stopped to preach to my bees, then offered his mystic advice: when you need to accomplish something, be smart. Confused? So was I, until the man showed me his secret: each letter means something! (I thought him terribly clever).

S – make your resolutions Specific, and not too vague

While it’s fine to resolve not to catch the plague, this goal is much too vague. Try this: I resolve not to catch the plague from Lady Marchese. MUCH better, not vague at all.

M – make your resolutions Measurable

“I resolve to plant more crops in the west field.” Good for you, except how many more? What does more mean? A better goal is: “I resolve to plant more crops in the west field than Lord Smythe does in his east field.” All it now takes is to plant one more flax plant and you’ve achieved your goal!

A – make certain that your resolutions are Achievable

I’ve noticed over the course of my long career that people tend to have similar goals in life. One of the more common ones is to gain the favour of an elevated personage, like the Archbishop. But is this truly an achievable task? A more realistic goal would be to gain the favour of a lesser person, for example a local priest. That way you can work your way up to the Archbishop!

R – your resolutions should be Relevant

Ask yourself: are you resolving to gain weight JUST because Lady Buller did, and received great praise for how her new dress fit? Or maybe because the townsfolk all have unrealistic ideas about a Lady’s weight and you feel pressured? These are NOT good reasons! Resolve to add weight for YOU, and you alone! And when you show off your new physique in that little blue linen number, you’ll be glad you did!

T – your resolutions should be Time-bound

Give yourself enough time to achieve your goals. If you resolve to finally get that illuminated manuscript ordered and done in time for the Bishop’s birthday, don’t wait around until the last minute! Plan ahead! Research your illuminators early, and maintain regular communication with the artists. If you don’t give yourself a realistic amount of time, you’ll find yourself giving the Bishop candles or red slippers again, like everyone else.

To demonstrate that I, myself, follow these guidelines, below are my own resolutions for the new year:

  • get my Lord to lose weight – at least 2 stone – by All Hallow’s eve – remind him of how handsome he used to look, and that the cost of armour is due to go up
  • use more arsenic in my cooking – as you know, I am a gourmet cook, and resolving to use more arsenic (and vinegar!) will ensure my family’s safety from the pestilence – include at least one meal a day with arsenic and a glass of vinegar once a day

  • get the servants to stop stealing – stop the thievery of, or aid the recovery of, at least two candlesticks and three goblets a week
  • invite the Archbishop to dinner more often – at least once a month (the more he sees you and is sent home with a fully satisfied belly, the more likely he is to include you in his prayers!)

That’s it, darlings, I hope I’ve been of some help! Remember, focus on achieving the small goals and soon you’ll find that your larger resolutions have almost completed themselves!

I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy new year!

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