As many people stop going to the gym, or return to eating the food they said they'd cut out this year, they might be asking themselves what happened to their New Year's resolutions?

Victoria-based life coach Rebecca Hass said change isn't easy, but there are steps people can take to get their resolutions back on track.

"It's important that we acknowledge that change is hard," Hass told North by Northwest host Sheryl MacKay.

Rebecca

Rebecca Hass is North by Northwest's newest columnist. (Rebecca Hass)

"It's very, very difficult, and I think what people don't give themselves credit for is it's actually a brave act. It's very brave to want to change your life."

Hass said that she recently discovered the self-help book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Japanese writer Marie Kondo, who is described in the latest issue of In Style magazine as the "Queen of Decluttering."

Kondo, 31, also recently released her second book Spark Joy.

Though much of these books focus on tidying up, Hass said Kondo's advice on decluttering works just as well for goals and resolutions.

Here are Hass' tips for rescuing already abandonded resolutions:

1. Does it spark joy?

"This tidying-whiz woman Marie Kondo says that when you're sorting through items like clothes, books papers … what you're looking for is not what you want to get rid of … but instead you're deciding what to keep," Hass said.

"To make the decision what to keep you have to take the item in your hand and ask, 'Does this spark joy?' And if it does, you keep it, and if it doesn't, dispose of it."

This advice is just as true for resolutions — one must ask, "Does my resolution spark joy?" Hass said.

"If you literally aren't feeling it, then it's not sparking joy, and you're not going to succeed."

2. Follow the instructions

Kondo's book instructs people to empty out all their clothes and other mementos on the floor and to examine each item and ask if it brings one joy — something that she has been criticized for as being "silly", Hass said.

But, it's important that, when a person decides to take a leap with a goal, that they follow the expert advice by someone who has spent time researching and testing it.

Exercise and happiness

If you make a goal to exercise only because you feel like you "should" be more active, then you're doomed to fail, says life coach Rebecca Hass. (Markus Bernhard/Getty Images)

"We all read these self-help books with all these steps, so then we ignore them," said Hass, who added that following expert advice is also important with resolutions.

"My husband is starting to run again. So when it says walk two minutes and run one, it really means that … otherwise it's like self-sabotage."

3. Ban 'the justifier'

'When we're trying to make change we tend to meet the voice of who I'm calling 'the justifier'," Hass said.

"Keep an eye out for the voice of justification, because that's the voice that tells you, you don't need to get up early to run, you're too tired, you worked hard, you deserve that cupcake.

"That  justification  is taking you away from the thing you know you want to do."

4. Look at the big picture

"[Imagine] It's your 80th birthday, you're sitting on your beautiful porch, looking out on a beautiful vista, and you look back on your life," Hass said.

"And if I asked you on your 80th birthday, 'Why are you glad you followed through on that resolution?' It should have some resonance for you. There should be that moment of going, 'I'm so glad I made that decision when I rang in 2016.'

"If it's really meaningful to you, you will want to follow through on it."


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: How to rescue your resolutions, from life coach Rebecca Hass