For the most part, people trying to keep New Year's resolutions tend to think a 'tough-as-nails' approach to fitness and exercise is the way to go.

Saskatoon-based life and wellness coach Angie Marshall claims there's a better way.

Speaking to CBC's Saskatoon Morning, Marshall said silencing your inner critic and focusing on the positive is a much better strategy.

Are New Year's resolutions a good idea?

Well, I think for most people, it's that fresh start that gives us that opportunity to really look at what hasn't worked the last year. So, it's not a bad idea to step back and have an opportunity to reflect. However, what happens with most people is they just feel really bad, and they put out these goals that are somewhat black and white and unattainable. And they get off on the wrong foot, and it's very discouraging. So, what you're going to find is, most people who set New Year's resolutions find they don't actually work. From my perspective, we have to look at it from a different way, so we actually get what we want.

So, what might that resolution look like, then?

I approach it more from the perspective of how it would feel if you lost weight. Instead of the goal of, I want to take off 20 pounds, or I want to feel confident in my jeans, that's not motivating. It's really negative. You go to the gym, nothing happens. It takes some time for that to come off. We have all kinds of excuses and everything, and when we're not seeing progress towards that, it just drops off. If you ever go to the gym in January, it's super busy, by February, it's not at all. So, the reason why we want to actually lose that is so we feel good in our body, we're comfortable, we're energetic, we're feeling healthy and so on. If you wake up every day and look at how can I actually move towards that each day, like three small little baby steps, that would be nourishing your body. That one word, nourish, even thinking about that, you can do three things that can nourish your body every day. And that might be where you're doing some sort of activity, or choosing tea over coffee, something like that. But those small steps, each and every day, they're so doable, and when you think about it, by the end of next year, you've actually made really big changes to your body. Even drinking more water is such a huge thing. So, if you come at drinking more water versus losing 20 pounds, what's doable? And what actually happens. It's a big trickle-effect all the way through the year.

You mentioned focusing on one word--nourish. Why do you think it's important to pick a word that captures what it is you're trying to achieve?

Anything that we actually want is for the feeling that we think we would have if we accomplished our goal. So, if we're taking goals and actually want to achieve them, to have that inspired action, it always is going to come out around that action. Whether it's nourish or it's energetic, that's a pulling factor rather than, 'Oh, I've got to stop eating chocolate.' Then you're going to eat chocolate, and you're going to have that inner critic that beats up on you and then you go into a negative spiral. You need a feeling that moves you towards what you're wanting, versus that military voice inside your head saying 'Thou shalt not do that.' You can just feel which is actually different. One inspires action and the other takes you off of that, you drop right off of what you're really wanting.

What about other examples? What would be a strategy for working on shrinking your debt?

Focus on abundance. Abundance is actually a feeling of well-being. I'm a money coach as well. What happens is we emotionally eat, and we emotionally spend. When you're buying something, when it's coming from a feeling of well-being, versus I'm feeling stressed out, and I'm overwhelmed, and I'm just going to go and shop and get into that high of what we're doing. Any kind of goal that you're not achieving is a pattern that is coming from a negative emotional state. So, if you find you're spending more than what you're earning, that's not rocket science. It's like eating things we know are good for us, and we don't. So, if you come from that feeling-state of abundance, which is a state of well-being, and you stop and you pause before you purchase something, you're going to feel the difference of why you're actually doing it