Here's How To Keep Your Fitness New Year's Resolutions Without Being Hard On Yourself

For 2019, I'm doing my New Year's resolutions a little differently. In the past, I've fallen into the all-too-familiar trap of burning out of my workout resolutions within the first few months of the new year. The first time I'm hit with a nasty cold, or can't seem to escape the lure of my latest Netflix obsession, my carefully planned fitness schedule goes out the window, along with my motivation. This year, though, I'm putting a positive spin on things. If prioritizing exercise is one of your goals for 2019, figuring out how to keep your fitness New Year's resolutions without being hard on yourself isn't as difficult as you might think.

Generally speaking, the key to keeping up with your resolutions, says Evan Renfroe, a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist, is finding a balance between knowing what your end goal is, and being kind to yourself along the way. "I personally love the idea of viewing the process like an 'old school' lantern," he tells Elite Daily in an email. "The light is only sufficient to illuminate the next couple steps, so we're following the light of the lantern to guide those steps. Also, we need a direction to go that is aligned with the intended destination."

In other words, straying a few steps away from your goal, no matter what it is, isn't the end of the world, because you can always regroup and adjust accordingly at any point in time. So remember to be patient with your fitness journey throughout the new year, and keep these five things in mind as you work toward your goals.

Plan To "Fail"

During those first few gung-ho days of the new year, it can be tempting to be super strict with yourself in working toward your resolutions, and to assume that meeting your goals equals success, and skipping a day equals failure. But an all-or-nothing outlook like this actually puts you at a disadvantage, says Renfroe.

"We place most (if not all) of the 'satisfaction' and 'fulfillment' in the expected outcome, deferring any and all enjoyment until the objective (as we initially perceive it) is complete," he explains. The idea of keeping "perfectly" to your resolutions might sound great, but it's just not reasonable, says Renfroe.

Recognize that you are human, and that you'll have days when you need to skip the gym in favor of a night out with friends, or even just an ice cream party with yourself at home.

Find A Partner

"The mentality of 'going it alone' is an unnecessary stress," says Renfroe. Ideally, finding a partner who has similar goals can help you stay balanced along the journey. Not only will they be able to remind you that a good workout session can really benefit your energy levels and your mental health, but they can also encourage you to take a few days to rest if you need them — without beating yourself up over it.

Celebrate Small Wins

Instead of waiting until you've met a big goal to celebrate, try to set little benchmarks along the way so that you feel encouraged on a regular basis, suggests Renfroe. For example, if one of your goals is to be able to do 10 push-ups in a row, take a moment to appreciate yourself when you do crank them out without stopping. "If you like to shop and enjoy the feeling of wearing new workout clothes or shoes, pick a pair of new shoes or activewear you've had your eye on," he suggests.

Set Broad *And* Narrow Goals

In past years, I've resolved to work on my fitness in a more general way, such as planning to use physical activity to improve my mental health. Other times, I've mapped out very narrow goals to achieve, like being able to run a certain number of miles without stopping, or do an unassisted pull-up. But the truth is, according to Renfroe, including both of these approaches is key to meeting your fitness goals.

"If we only set a long-term outcome and lose sight of the process, we may never realize our progress because we've never looked down at the process," he tells Elite Daily. "Conversely, if we only look at the daily objectives and never look up to the long-term, we may be 'off-course' and never realize it."

Remember Your Motivation

As you begin to make resolutions for 2019, make sure you keep in mind why you're setting these goals. "Don't lose sight of why you're setting these resolutions. It's so easy to obsess over the actual 'resolution' and lose sight of the reasons and motives behind them," says Renfroe. "The actual resolution is neutral, or even pointless, if not anchored to something of significance."

For example, if you'd love to be able to chase your puppy around all day long, keep that in mind while you're going for a run or doing sit-ups in the gym, and chances are, thinking of a day at the dog park with your precious fur baby will give you an extra boost of energy.