Does Healthy Competition Encourage Positive Habits?

Real talk: I’ve never been someone that enjoyed competitive sports. I know many people thrive off of competition with others, and it does have its place — it teaches the valuable life lesson that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and can also encourage teamwork and camaraderie, which are valuable professional skills that you can include on your LinkedIn profile. But I think I’ve never been competitive with others because I’m the type of person that wants everyone to succeed for the sake of bettering themselves, not to prove to others that they can do something better than someone else. 

And I think this is why the concept of goal-oriented “challenges” — where you work towards a specific goal, like swimming 15 miles in last months’ Swim Challenge — appeals to me. I love challenging myself to achieve a goal and ultimately prove to myself that I can improve my performance, especially if there is a sweet prize or free reward upon completion of the challenge. While a prize can keep you going throughout the challenge, there are so many other awesome benefits that last long after the challenge completion date passes:

Challenges provide a roadmap to achieving a goal
A challenge like any of AFF’s Fitness Challenges is a first-hand lesson in goal-achieving. In a challenge the goal is set for you, but it’s up to you to work towards it — after all, the goal isn’t going to achieve itself! Most challenges include a framework for completing it, including how long you have to complete it, daily limits, and any other rules to keep the challenge fun and fair. They often include a prize incentive to keep you going, but it’s up to you to determine how you’ll make it to the end. You’ll need to plan daily and weekly goals, determine the best way to track your goals and strategize how you’ll finish should any roadblocks present themselves during the challenge. 

With a plan in place, you are more motivated to complete the challenge
Do you know the saying “Out of sight, out of mind”? This definitely applies to goal-setting in challenges! Studies have shown when you write down your goal (or for many of us, input your goal into your preferred fitness tracker), you’re 33% more likely to achieve it. When you rely on an imagined outcome without a written, strategized plan to achieve that outcome, it’s less likely to happen. Write it down and it can become a reality!

 

You can easily keep track of your progress and see the big picture
By logging your daily workouts into the AFF App or preferred fitness tracker, you can visibly see how close you are to achieving your goal. Having a visual record of your progress can allow you to see the big picture and strategize how to progress through the remainder of the challenge.

Challenges can teach you to become resourceful
Just because you signed up for a challenge doesn’t mean that challenge will complete itself — you have to plan your daily schedule to include the challenge, strategize how many miles per week and per day you’ll need to swim to stay on track, prioritize the challenge over other activities (you may have to say no to Happy Hour 🙁 ), set daily and weekly goals to hit, and monitor your progress throughout so you know where you stand. Challenges teach you how to plan and strategize for the short and long term, which is an important part of goal setting. 

You gain confidence and autonomy
Achieving a goal feels SO GOOD! You feel accomplished and unstoppable, and as a 
result, become more confident in yourself and your abilities. You also learn how to make decisions for yourself and how to take action to achieve a goal, creating greater independence and confidence. 

You can experience these benefits and sharpen your goal-crushing skills with us by participating in our next fitness challenge! Stay tuned for more information. Log on to the AFF App, click on “Challenges” and track your progress in the app. Stop by the Welcome Desk at your club with any questions.

Lauren Rinker is the Group Fitness Manager at Virginia Center Commons and teaches a variety of classes, including POWER®, CORE®, BLAST®, Yoga, and Fusion small group and team training. She started her Group Fitness career in 2012 after her childhood dream of being a 🌪 chaser didn’t work out due to immense fear of 🌪s, and accredits Group Fitness for transforming her life 💪. She loves how Group Fitness and Social Media share the same impact of making and maintaining meaningful connections between people ❤. When she’s not teaching or taking 📷s for the VCC Facebook page, you can find her 🏋️‍♀️-ing, 📚️-ing, checking off her To-Do lists 📝, drinking ☕️, or eating any or all of the following foods: 🍣🥞🥓 A self-proclaimed cat lady 😻 and night owl, Lauren loves to recharge in the evenings by watching Netflix with her two Instagram-famous cats 🐱 🐱

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