three people kayaking

There's nothing more motivating than watching Olympic athletes competing. Even though you're not a gold medal contender, the spirit of the Olympics can inspire you to challenge yourself. Don't grow discouraged just because you think you'll never be the best. Instead, let the Olympics motivate you to achieve your own health goals. By participating in some friendly competition, you may find yourself reaching new heights of fun and fitness.

Physicians recommend asking friends and family to join you in your health and fitness goals to help you stay motivated. Whether your goals involve tackling a new exercise program, quitting smoking, cutting back on junk food, or eating a balanced low-fat diet, you can receive an extra boost of motivation by involving friends and family in the process.

Here are a few ways getting competitive together that can help everyone reach their health goals:

See Who Can Stick to Their Goals the Best
Perhaps you and your family members are each working toward individual health goals. Why not challenge each other to see who can do the best job reaching their weekly objectives? Have all family members state their specific missions at the start of the week, then keep track of the results and see who comes out on top.

Stuck for ideas about which goals to track? Make sure you keep your goals challenging. Consider tracking how long each person works out or how many day a smoker goes without a cigarette. Whoever comes closest to their target is that week's winner and gets bragging rights. Or, better yet, decide on a simple prize in advance.

Organize a Workplace Competition
Colleagues are great at motivating each other in the workplace, so why not support each other's health-related goals. A very good example of this is the "Get Moving Challenge." It's a 10-week fitness competition for the staff and faculty of an organization that allows participants to challenge each other by tracking how much they walk, how much weight they lose, and how often they exercise.

Participants record daily progress toward their goals online, and top teams in each category win trophies. All participants who stick with the program win a small prize such as a t-shirt. Everyone enjoys the rewards of good health and the fun of challenging themselves. If your company does not offer a program like this yet, you can ask your employer to start one.

Join a Competitive Event
When it comes to meeting your fitness goals, if organizing a challenge with others feels like too much work, you can also participate in a pre-organized competitive group event. Knowing you have a competition with others on the horizon can be a great motivator to stay fit.

Some ideas to consider include:

  • Joining local sports teams that has scheduled games or matches
  • Trying an exercise group such as a walking or a running club that organizes competitive workouts
  • Signing up for an organized physical challenge such as a walking, running, or biking race

Whatever path you take toward group exercise, you'll find yourself in a win-win situation. You and your friends, family, colleagues, and teammates will keep each other moving forward toward new challenges, and no one will want to be left behind!