Achieving Your Fitness Goals in 2015

20140720_0234“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.” — Cavett Robert

Well, we are a few weeks past the day when many of us resolved to make some positive changes in our lives. So if you want to be one of those that actually accomplish their goals in 2015, here’s some tips to follow that those who succeed adhere to…Achieving Your Fitness Goals in 2015 IS possible!

Step 1: Set SMART Goals!

Setting goals is the key to success – just ask any successful business person.  But it’s not enough to say, “I want to get into shape”. Effective and realistic goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reward-based and have a Time frame. Here are some examples of SMART goal setting:

  • Run on the treadmill for 20 minutes 3x/week so that by April 1st I’ve completed 25 workouts
  • Register, train for and complete the Couve Clover Run on March 22nd
  • Resistance train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so that by June 1st I’ve completed 50 workouts
  • Register, train for and complete the Vancouver Half Marathon on June 21st
  • Work out with a personal trainer 2x/week until April 1st
  • Train to climb Mt. St. Helen’s this July
  • Register, train for and complete the Columbia River Triathlon on July 18th
  • Train to participate in the Hood to Coast Relay event at the end of August
  • Learn how to Snowshoe by February 15th

Each goal is clear, easy to measure and has a deadline. You can set up a chart and map your progress. But don’t stop there.  Successful goal-setting requires you reward yourself once you’ve achieved a goal. For example, treat yourself to a massage, a new outfit or a trip.

We also want to offer you a warning.  Avoid setting goals that are weight-loss oriented like deciding to lose 10 pounds by February 1st We find that clients who use weight loss as their ultimate goal fail more regularly than those who use action-oriented goals.  Setting a goal like those listed above puts purpose to your training and in the process of preparing to accomplish the goal, the weight takes care of itself. Setting an external goal is far more positive than focusing on body weight.

Step 2: Take Itsy, Bitsy Baby Steps

Sometimes, when starting an exercise or nutrition program, we can get overzealous and decide to change a million things all at once.  It soon becomes clear that you’ve taken on too much and it becomes almost impossible to succeed at anything.  To avoid this, look at your list of goals and determine what’s most important to you and focus on that first.

It’s also important to understand that if you’re undertaking a major lifestyle change, the big picture may be a bit overwhelming.  Take your ultimate goal and split it into small, easily achievable goals.  It’ll help you succeed on a regular basis and that will give you the momentum you need to stick to the plan.  For example, if your goal is to finish the Girlfriends Half Marathon, then your ‘baby steps’ will be to:

  • Register for the event – then you’re committed
  • Sign up for a weekly running clinic (we offer one that starts in February) or join a local running group like the Clark County Runners Club or Vancouver Run, Grub & Chug club. Those weekly group runs will keep you accountable. What Runs, offered 1x/month, are also a really fun, social and FREE way to get to meet some new running buddies ().
  • Purchase a new pair of running shoes and running gear so weather is never an excuse
  • Consult with a trainer who will design your exercise program and/or a running coach who can make sure you’re not progressing too quickly and risking injury. Search Ronald Homer or Robby Halterman on Facebook as popular and reputable running coaches in the area.
  • Create a chart/calendar that has you running 3x/week up to the date of your event. So if the event is 8 months away that’s 32 weeks x 3 runs/week = 96 runs. Set up a chart or calendar with 96 boxes that you have to check off.  The mind loves to see this type of progress.

Treat your fitness goals as a Project Manager would tackle organizing a big event or project. First, decide what the perfect, end-result will look like.  Once you have a clear picture of success, then work backwards and decide exactly which action steps need to be taken by which date to guarantee that end-result.

Step 3:  Determine Obstacles and Strategies

You’ve most likely tried to lose weight or start an exercise program before. Most people do. They try over and over again. Something like a New Year’s Resolution motivates them to try again.  Eventually, they fail because they’re basically mimicking exactly what they did last time.  This represents the definition for insanity – doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. Whatever forced you off track last time, will more than likely surface again. We need to develop a strategy for overcoming roadblocks posed by work, kids, fatigue or lack of time.  For example, if previously you found work or family responsibilities got in the way of you achieving your goals, your strategy may be to book your workout appointments into your schedule like you would any other important appointment.  Another strategy may be to hire a personal trainer, which will force you to stick to your exercise appointment or ask a friend to join you in a commitment to walk every day at lunch.

Let’s commit to making 2015 an amazing year!

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at or

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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