CamelBack_Sherri_ShantinaHave you ever stopped to look closely at a tombstone?  Usually it will list the deceased’s name, perhaps a few words to remember them by and then it will list the date they were born and the date they died, with a dash in between.  This dash – that interval – represents their life. It’s bizarre to think your whole life could be summed up in a dash!

So today’s column includes a 5-part Soul-searching assignment for you to hopefully assure that the dash is the best darn dash you could have ever imagined! Grab a pen and a piece of paper.

Step One:

Write down all the things you’ve ever wanted to do in your life and haven’t done yet.

Step Two:

List all the things/people that mean the most to you.

Step Three:

Write down how your life would change if you found out you only had 3 months to live.

Step Four:

List in detail what you did yesterday from the moment you woke up to the moment you went to bed.

When most people complete this drill, they most often find that there are lots of things that they’ve always wanted to do and haven’t yet done for no apparent reason. They find that they’re not doing the things that matter the most to them and are not spending a lot of time with the people that they love.

There is a disconnect between what most people say is really important and what they actually do.

The unfortunate reality is that most people are not living their Dream Life and instead, are just going through the motions day-in, day-out.

But here’s the good news – you have the choice right now as to the type of life you will live.

Your Career:

  • You could choose to be a highly-stressed business executive running from appointment to appointment, deadline to deadline fueled from caffeine, fast-foods and adrenaline until things start to catch up to you, your health deteriorates and your relationships crumble.
  • You could choose to live to work or you could realize that work shouldn’t take over your entire being.
  • You could decide to only spend minimal non-quality time with your kids a day or you could decide to leave work at a decent hour and get home to spend time with the people that you love.

Your Social Life:

  • You could choose to become hooked on TV or you could instead decide to participate in life.
  • You could decide to see your friends and loved ones only occasionally or you could take the initiative to schedule quality outings together.


You could choose to allow your kids to zone out in front of the TV or you could choose to shut the TV off and have game night or go for a bike ride or a walk together.

Your Physical Life

  • You could choose to age in an unhealthy fashion with significant limitations becoming dependent on others for even the simplest tasks.
  • You could choose to exercise and eat well and enjoy your health into your later years.
  • You could choose to always have dreams that never seem to come to fruition or you could take action steps to make them happen.

Just Do It:

  • If you’ve always wanted to hike the Grand Canyon, then what are you waiting for?
  • Have you always dreamed of learning how to scuba dive or snorkel, then just do it!
  • Have you always wanted to hike more in the summer and enjoy the outdoors?  Stop talking about it and make it happen.

It seems that the people who get the most out of life are DOERS – doers of the things that they love doing and doing them with the people they love the most.  As personal trainers we hear so often “As soon as I get fit, then I’ll start hiking or snowshoeing or skiing….”  This is a very backwards approach. You see, if you set the date to go hiking, then in the process of training to prepare for the hike, you are going to get fit. The hike will give you the incentive to stick to your fitness program.

No one ever dies and regrets not having spent more time at the office, watching more television or wishing their house would have been more spotless.

Instead they often wish they would have spent more time with loved ones, they’d been involved with more fun, exciting activities and learned to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us every day.

Step Five:

This is the last part of the drill. Make your action steps specific and realistic.

  1. List one thing that you could do today to allow you to live your Dream Life.
  2. Write down three things that you could do next week to allow you to live your Dream Life.
  3. List three things that you could do next month to allow you to live your Dream Life.
  4. Write down one thing you will do within the next 3 months to allow you to live your Dream Life.

My hope is that this column will serve as an inspirational wake up call to anyone who needs it.

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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