New Year’s Resolution Reality Check

No, you CAN’T achieve anything you set your mind to…

cape-horn-trail-just-east-of-washougalI’ve said it myself many times. “You can achieve anything you set your mind to”. But the reality is that’s just not true. For example, no matter how bad I want to run a 4 minute mile, it’s just not a possibility. I could train as hard and as smart as possible, but genetics and my physical potential would trump my effort every time. No matter how bad I want it, it just ain’t happening.

Well this isn’t really sounding like the typical New Year’s Resolution pep talk!

But in fact this really is a column with motivation and inspiration as its primary focus.

One thing I’ve learned after working in the fitness industry for 27 years is you can achieve any goal you set your mind to IF it is attainable and realistic.

You have to consider genetics, current lifestyle, desire etc. A 4 minute mile is physically not possible for me. Accomplishing an Ironman goal if someone is work-a-holic logging 70+ hours per week at work, just had a baby and is currently going through a divorce would not be a great goal to set at that time. Setting a goal to finish a marathon if you hate running and think running 26.2 miles is stupid probably wouldn’t be too smart.

Bottom line though, I am a firm believer in setting goals or New Years Resolutions…if you don’t like that word think of it more like setting your intentions. Ask yourself what were the highlights of this last year…And then set the intention to do more of those things. Be very clear with your goals or intentions for all aspects of your life…physically, professionally, mentally, socially, travel, relationships…Paint a very vivid picture of what the very best 2017 would look like.

The most important step is to Write It Down! The brain processes things differently when it’s written down and you read it. So grab a sheet of paper and create a list of all the goals you would like to achieve in 2017 in all areas of your life.  Which goals, if achieved, would make this year unbelievable?  Have you ever wanted to hike the Grand Canyon, complete a marathon, cycle through Italy, learn to Rock climb, or would you just be happy with working out 4x/week consistently? Would you like to strengthen your relationship by scheduling a date night once per week? Would you like to learn to speak Spanish? Would you like to strive for a promotion? Would you like to commit to financially sponsoring a child or a cause close to your heart?

One critical factor to achieving any goal is figuring out your ‘WHY?’  If a goal is realistic, once there is a will, there is way.  But without a compelling force, success is so much more difficult.  The motivation and inspiration to stick to your program or your goals is within you. You have just got to find the right reason – the reason that will make you so emotionally charged that you will take action, make the changes and stick to them regularly – no matter what! What is going to motivate me is not necessarily going to motivate you. Keep asking yourself why, why, why and get to the heart of the matter!

Over my years in the fitness industry, I’ve found that the biggest difference between those who succeed and those who don’t has nothing to do with intelligence or beauty or money…but those who succeed know exactly what they want, believe they can achieve it and are willing to do what it takes to get it!

Taking Action

Go back to your wish list.  Take the top three goals that you are most drawn to and that would make 2017 especially memorable and break them down into smaller goals and action steps that will act as milestones towards your ultimate goal. 

If you are undertaking a major lifestyle change, the big picture may be a bit overwhelming. So by taking the big goal(s) and splitting them into small, easily achievable goals and itsy bitsy baby steps, it will help you succeed on a regular basis and that will give you the momentum you need to reach the ultimate goal.  It’s called “Results Momentum.” No matter how small or insignificant the action step is, if you do it, it will give you the belief and self-confidence to achieve the next goal and the next goal and soon you will be there!

Last, Avoid the Law of Diminishing Intent

This states that you may be motivated after reading this. You may have a few AHA moments and decide you need to start or stop doing something. But the longer you wait to do something, the greater the chance that you will never do it. So take action right away! It doesn’t matter what it is…anything that points you in the right direction towards your goals. Just do it!

Start this process now and you will be well on your way to an incredible 2017!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Join us for the….

We will make you earn your post-event party by running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles, but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.


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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