New Year’s ins and outs: Our tips for making achievable goals in 2024 to benefit your mental health and wellbeing Mental Health News and Blog | Aspris Wellbeing Centres UAE

How to stick to your New Year goals

This year, a new trend has been taking social media by storm, which involves making a list of ‘ins and outs’ as New Year’s resolutions or goals.

What are ‘ins and outs’?

Similar to a pros and cons list, the ideas is to make one list of ins, which are the things you’re keeping in or introducing into your life, and one list of outs, which are the things you’re keeping out or removing from your life. (Whenever we are trying to change take a behaviour out of our lives, we should always replace with another as our habits do not appreciate blank spaces). In-and-out lists are individual to the person making them, and often incorporate behaviours, habits and goals.

How to be successful in your New Year goals

Whether you’ve made an 'ins and outs' list or some goals or resolutions for the New Year, what’s important is to make them achievable and not put too much pressure on yourself. Some things to consider when trying to stick to your goals include:

  • Try setting monthly goals instead of making big changes – after the festive period it can be especially difficult to get back into routine whilst making big changes in your life. Why not set monthly goals rather than trying to change several things at once, which may become overwhelming and cause you to give up.
  • Try to break your goals down into smaller steps – if your goal is to get fit and healthy, for example, you could break this down into achievable tasks such as joining a gym, going once a week for 30 minutes, going twice a week for 30 minutes, then build up to once a week for 1 hour, then twice a week for 1 hour each session. Once a habit is formed, you can then expand on that.
  • Avoid repeating past mistakes or failures – if you’re setting a goal that you’ve not achieved in the past, consider why this may be and put steps in place to prevent this from happening again. For example, if your goal was to learn a language but you stopped at a certain point, think about why you stopped at that time. Was it time constraints? Was the method for learning not right? You could then consider a different way of learning, such as using a tutor or a fun app. You could set daily reminders and reward yourself when you achieve milestones.
  • What does a healthy goal look like – goals should be definable and measurable, and involve self-reflection. Make sure it is something that you want, not others. Your new desired behaviours or goals should be clear and measurable, for example: ‘I will save x amount of money, I have saved half of this already so I’m half way there.’ Writing it down can help with goals as we can easily forget or find ways to procrastinate, so writing reminders around the office or the house can help. Also consider that sometimes more urgent matters or situations might arise to change our goals our behaviours - being flexible always helps, as rigid things always break easier.
  • Be prepared for common obstacles - procrastination, balancing life, lack of resources or knowledge, overwhelm and burnout, health issues, resistance to change are all things that can set our progress back, but keeping going through setbacks is always key.
  • Try to enjoy achieving your goals – find ways to make your goals seem less like a chore and consider what you can do to help you enjoy them. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier food, you could try finding healthy meals or ingredients you really enjoy, look at new recipes you can make and try to be creative.
  • Seek support – let the people around you help and support you in your goals, or talk to a professional if you feel it will help you. Letting people close to you know what you are trying to achieve can help you to stay on track and be accountable for the decisions you make. For example, if you are attempting to give something up this year, having a person you can speak to about this can help you stay on track when you may be tempted to give up.

The mental impact of New Year’s resolutions

People often start the year in high spirits with enthusiasm and determination, but if motivation drops and you fail in your goals, this can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. This is why we encourage you to take a considered approach when setting your goals. Five things we recommend to protect your mental health during this time are:

1. Try to avoid comparing yourself to others

2. Reflect on how you’re feeling throughout the process of achieving your goals

3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

4. Be kind and compassionate to yourself

5. Make your mental health a priority

If you notice that your mental health isn’t as it should be or is deteriorating, it’s important to address this and seek help if necessary. Our specialists at our wellbeing centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are here to help. We have extensive experience in supporting people to make positive changes in their lives, and help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, stress, anger management and more.

Talk to us

If you’d like to speak to one of our friendly team of experts about any of our mental health services, please contact us today on (+971) 4 385 4493 for our Dubai clinic, or (+971) 2 651 8111 for our Abu Dhabi clinic. Alternatively, please click here to make an online enquiry.

Alongside our adult services, we also have specialist and dedicated teams of child therapists, highly experienced in supporting a wide range of mental health, development and behavioural needs. Find out more about our child and adolescent services here.


Ozan Akbas, Psychologist

This blog was written by Ozan Akbas. Ozan Akbas is a registered Clinical Psychologist with years of experience in individual therapy for adolescents, adults and couples counselling. View Ozan's full profile here.