New Year's Eve is one of my most despised times of the year. Not because I just hate having fun (I love fun), but because it's a time of year that preys on those feeling vulnerable (much like Valentine's Day is designed to make single people feel lonely and coupled up people guilty).
Businesses and media outlets place a huge amount of expectation on this one night of the year, as if we won't wake up on January 1st with the exact same lives we had just hours beforehand.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to more ways for businesses to make money. People pull their hair out trying to figure out what they're going to wear on the night, and online stores conveniently (and all of a sudden) have a plethora of sparkle laden gear available for your purchasing pleasure.
We stress out about where to celebrate the 'big night' and the venues benefit by upping their cost of entry by a few hundred dollars. And don't even get me started on new year's resolutions. No one is selling you a gym membership, wellness retreat or motivational journal because they truly want to see you flourish. They know that people are at their most vulnerable at this time of year – you're likely to feel bad about your body, mind and finances post Christmas and businesses are salivating at the mouth, ready to take advantage of you.
Here are a few ways to combat this time of year with your soul and finances intact.
Set your resolutions in February
Having goals is important and self improvement should never be scoffed at, it's commendable. But when you place expectations on yourself, you should make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. What's stopping you from drinking more water, going to the gym or keeping a daily journal in February, March or November?
There's something to be said for wiping the slate clean and perhaps January is the best time for you to do that. But my advice is to hold off for a month or so. Figure out if you really, truly want to sign up to that gym membership. If you really do, you'll still feel motivated to join later in the year when the new year shine wears off.
If February rolls around and you're feeling less fussed about a 5am wake-up and "summer body" then you, my friend, just saved yourself a few hundred bucks. Thank me later (and with cake).
Set realistic goals
If you really do need to make some kind of change to your life at the stroke of midnight,,don't try and change your whole personality and body shape overnight. You're only going to set yourself up to fail. Start small and work up to the meta-changes you seek.
Spend some time cancelling the service you no longer use, like your Netflix or Hulu account. Go through some photo albums and convert them into digital files, book that dentist appointment, or spring clean your wardrobe/spice drawer/book shelves. Do things that are achievable and make you feel good. You'll get a productive rush from ticking off the small things in your life and that's a great note to start the year on.
Just do what you want
If you don't have the desire to spend your evening grinding up against other humans in the club on your average Saturday night, then why should you spend NYE doing so?
If your ideal way to celebrate involves a bottle of wine, a nice pasta dish and a few rounds of Articulate, then round up your friends and family that share a similar desire and just do that. No one else really cares what you do, they just want to have fun themselves; don't bend over backwards trying to convince yourself to have fun at a party if that's not your vibe.
Remember time is a human construct
At the end of the day, when January 1 hits nothing new will happen. You are still you, the world keeps turning and things will continue to plod along.
Don't get stressed about having to see a bunch of people before the end of the year (they too will still be there on January 1). You've likely had a big year, so just kick back and enjoy some well earned time off. You'll be back in the rat race before you know it, and do you really want to have spent all of your time off worrying about how to best have fun?
Kate Neilson is the founding editor of Twenty Something Humans. She likes to play Bananagrams and enjoys a nice glass of red. You can lurk her @katiepotatierose.