There’s nothing like a good challenge to keep you motivated to reach your goals! That is one reason I participate in them frequently. The funny thing is, I’m not super competitive. Like, I really want everyone else to win! I just like the extra help and motivation that comes with joining a challenge with friends. Even if you don’t have friends as interested in getting more healthy right now, there are several options for you to get the same level of motivation through a few different websites and apps, and a lot will even pay you actual money for reaching your goals!
First up we have Pact. The way Pact works is that you set up a goal… such as record my daily food intake 5 days a week. Then you set up how much you will be penalized for not reaching your goal… such as $5.00. If you reach your goal, you get money! If you fail, you lose money! I used this a while back, and totally loved it! There were a couple things that made me stop using it though… one being I became a bit lazy (which has brought us to my current situation), but the main reason was the lack of partner apps. I do a daily workout at home with my TV. The Pact app had no way to really record this. You can check-in at your local gym to log a workout, but my “local gym” is my living room. You can also sync steps with a Fitbit, which, while I do use a Fitbit I wish it had more partner apps such a Garmin or UnderArmour (although it does sync up with MapMyFitness, which I know tracks workouts from Record, but I’m not positive if that will come all the way through to Pact as it kinda goes through a 2nd app to get there. It DOES sync up with MyFitnessPal though, so if you want to be better about recording your food intake, it’s a great option for you!
Next we have Higi. While this one doesn’t guarantee you cash like Pact does, there are some pretty great incentives for tracking your health with the app. There are even stations around your town for you to check in that will take your blood pressure, pulse, weight and calculate your BMI. Checking in at these stations gives you some bonus points. You can also connect several partner apps to the service such as Fitbit, Under Armour, and Garmin (all my favorites!). When I weigh in on my smart scale, it will automatically transfer the weigh in to Higi, and gives you points. The points can make you eligible for challenges that have really great prizes (like $150 and a Fitbit Aria scale!). You can also trade in your points for discounts at healthy type locations (like a 20% discount on Garmin products, etc). It also helps turn doing healthy things into a game where you get points and trophies!
When you are ready to really get after it, you can sign up for DietBet or HealthyWage. Both of these sites require you to put money in the pot to bet on yourself, and whoever meets their goals splits the pot. The main problem I have with these sites is that I really don’t have that many pounds to lose. So, it would be difficult for me to win since my pounds lost would be super low. I can still definitely play, but it’s a little harder for me to hit those percentages, or goal lbs lost to really make some good money on it.
You can also join up with some online challenges such as one SixSistersStuff does, and this one that April Kennedy does. What is great about these is that you are accountable to someone that isn’t your friend, even though you can be accountable to them too… but they don’t care that it was the school’s Halloween party, or you went to a bridal shower that day. They only care about your checkins and points. These do take a little bit more manual effort than the others that can automatically get data from places you are already tracking, but that could actually help you with motivation if you are actively thinking about it more during your day.
Lastly… you can host your own challenges with your friends! One of my favorites guides to use is also from SixSistersStuff, you can access and download the guide here. You can get a group of your friends together, decide how much everyone will put in, decide on what will warrant prizes (most points, most lbs lost, etc) and then you have at it. My sister and I have found that in running these types of groups, it’s helpful to put everyone in teams of 2 (the team total points is what counts), cause I can miss points if I’m just in it for myself, but if I end up letting a teammate down because I missed points, I’m going to feel really badly about it. We usually create a Facebook group with just the people in the challenge to encourage each other and ask questions, and to let everyone know the standings. The last challenge my sister and I ran got our friends to lose 131.8 lbs (combined total)!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com