On Dec. 17, 2009, I watched the Olympic torch make its way down Yonge Street in Toronto. As I cheered and pumped my fists into the air with delight, I was filled with a sense of excitement I hadn’t felt in years - 30 years to be exact.

When I was 16, I was bundled off to Lake Placid with my family for the last weekend of the Olympics. I didn’t know much about the games or the athletes except that I was madly in love with one speed skater named Eric Heiden*. I dragged my family all over the Olympic village searching for any sightings of him.

When I finally did see Eric, he was in action on the rink. I was in the stands with my mother as he won his fifth gold medal of the games. I cheered, yelled and jumped up and down as he broke an Olympic record. The energy in the arena was electric.

When the weekend ended and we headed back home, I was a different person. I was touched by the magic of the Olympics. Eric and the other athletes’ commitment, dedication and sacrifice inspired me to bring my best to my sport, swimming.

A few motivated weeks later, I joined a swim team and soon after brought home a first and second from my first meet.

As you watch the 2010 games in Vancouver, think of how you stay motivated and inspired in your life. Since it’s a often a challenge to stay the course, here are some tips:

1. Have a visual reminder, like a picture, quote or memento, displayed close by to remind yourself of that goal.

2. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you in your dream. Telling someone else about your goals can help you achieve them especially when they can help you stay the course when times are tough.

3. Remain focused on your dream despite all obstacles and challenges. Imagine yourself in that dream as if you were actually crossing the finish line or getting that promotion. Use all your senses as you step into that dream; what do you see, feel, hear, taste and even smell?

* Heiden is the only athlete in the history of speed skating to have won all five events in a single Olympic tournament and the only one to have won a gold medal in all events. In 1983, he was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

Author's Bio: 

Wendy Woods is a certified laughter yoga leader and has developed unique programs to bring laughter into the workplace to reduce stress, improve relationships and boost productivity. For more information, please contact her at wwoods@watershedtraining.ca, follow WatershedFlow on Twitter, or visit http://www.watershedtraining.ca for more information.