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Fitness Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

I remember the first time I got to pick out a pair of shoes as a kid. I knew exactly what I wanted and was absolutely stoked when I brought the shoes home. I remember what they looked like: black canvas shoes with bright yellow palm tree print. the very next day I wore them to school and was instantly made fun of. I’d made the mistake of picking up the Airwalk brand shoes… and the cool kids were wearing Vans. My shoes were now “generic”… and all my happiness and pride went straight down the crapper when I began to compare my shoes to those around me. I wore those shoes with embarrassment from there on out and did everything I could to wear them out– all be cause I allowed comparison to get into my head.

So what does that have to do with anything? Comparisons are commonplace. They’re also commonly destructive. Not so say they can’t give value to a lot of things in our lives.  There are definitely things that deserve and even need comparison (eat this not that, fitness program choice vs. your goals, etc.) but what I’m getting at here is one thing you should never do in your fitness journey: never ever make the comparison of you vs. someone else.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s OK to aspire to something- the best version of you- but it’s never OK to say “They’re better than me because they have bigger muscles, less fat, better results, etc.” because 9 times out of 10, you don’t know what it took for them to get there and how far along in their journey they are. To think you’re a failure because someone else accomplished something before you is ridiculous and frustrating– comparison truly becomes the thief of joy. Measuring your progress by your own journey can be hard but by focusing on you and your successes, it’s possible.

Here’s a few ways to look at things that might help:

Different Time Different Climb

As mentioned, your journey is different than the guy/girl next to you. You may not have started at the same time they did. You may be facing different physical challenges. I’ll say it again: you really can’t compare yourself to anyone properly because you’ll never know the totality of their experience. And even if you did everything Person A does, you may still have a different journey on your way to results.

I say it all the time: Compare YOU to YOU. Your best milestones are those you cross yourself. Not the milestones of others. Concentrate on YOUR strengths.

A couple way to help if you’re struggling in this area:

  1. Put your accomplishments out there and let others bolster your confidence as you do so. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back and don’t be a hermit with your accomplishments. You’ll inspire others, you’ll inspire yourself and in the process, others will be happy to give you a nice ego boost… but they have to KNOW you’ve done it.
  2. When you catch yourself thinking about how someone else has accomplished their fitness goals and feel those pangs of envy, think to yourself- why am I envious? Do a little self inventory- you might answer a few questions and more often than not, it allows some self-introspection that reveals some areas of improvement. On the other hand, if you’re doing everything you can, smile, give them a mental high five and know you’re on your way.

Daily Reminder: This is YOUR Journey

Stop Trying to Be Someone You’re not. It sounds cliche but being true to yourself takes all kinds of resistance out of the equation. Comparison goes away. Take paralympic athletes, for example. They don’t concentrate on what they can’t do- they concentrate on what they CAN do. And they excel at it. They’re true to themselves and make huge accomplishments in their pursuit of that goal.

You can have the same purpose of mind. You may not be able to jump and crush pushups and pull ups off the bat. But the fact is you CAN accomplish some pretty awesome stuff as you work at it.

You can change to be the best you, but don’t change to be someone NOT you.

Understand Your Time Is Coming

Time. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s your ally. If you’re consistent and honest with your fitness journey, you’ll get there. Virtually everyone started somewhere- the only difference between you and them is they kept after it. And that’s a distance you can easily close.

The key here is to be honest with yourself. If you started at 50 lbs. overweight, chances are you’re not going to see the same changes someone who started at 10 lbs overweight will see at day 30. If you’re not following the nutrition plan, if you’re not working out, you can never, ever expect to get to where someone who is who has.

Keep it honest, keep it in perspective and be consistent with your program. The rest falls into place.

You’re NOT “Less Than”

Many times we think we’re failing because someone else succeeds.

Say what?  It’s crazy when you really think about it.You suck because someone else got ripped? Huh?

Try this on for size: Someone’s success simply shows YOU CAN DO IT TOO.  Instead of thinking “Oh, they’re winning and I’m failing”, think “They’re winning and I can too!” Shift the “losers” perspective to “winners” and you’ll find you’ll encounter a lot less tress on this crazy fun fitness ride.

Got questions, comments or anything in between? Want to make changes and leave the comparisons behind? Hit the comments below or or hook yourself up with free coaching right here. 

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