About six months ago I jumped headfirst into something that I had never done before. I had ACCIDENTALLY agreed to be a part of a team and compete in the GameDay Competitions (a CrossFit style competition). Barbell cleans, fancy kipping on a pull-up bar, toes-to-bar, chest-to-bar…just a few things that I had to learn - and attempt to learn well.
This style of training was very intimidating to me given that I was not a fan of high-intensity cardio workouts and I didn’t normally take the time to do them. As a competitive person, it can be pretty frustrating when movements don’t come together instantly, and you can’t compete on the same level as everyone around you.
As humans, we compare ourselves to others. It’s second nature. It takes practice to STOP the comparisons to others and begin to look at how far YOU have come. Sure, the person next to you may be lifting more weight than you, the guy across the room may have more muscle mass, your training partner may be losing weight faster than you, your coworker may have more energy than you, but guess what…that’s okay.
It doesn’t matter where they are, it only matters where YOU are. You don’t know their journey, you don’t know what they have done to get to where they are now. Let them work on their goals and you work on yours. You deserve to be happy, so why compare yourself to others? All that does is bury your success. Everyone is at a different place in their lives with a different background and a different future.
This applies to all aspects of life, not just fitness. You could be at a lower level than someone else at your current job and wonder why, but you don’t know what sort of time they have truly put in. They could be at home every night, thinking about and working on how to do things more efficiently, attending classes on their own time to further their education, etc.
Here are a few tips to help you STOP the comparison:
1. Make it a priority to intentionally remove the nature of comparison. Think about how comparing yourself to others affects you. It’s usually in a negative way. Why would you want to bring that negativity into your daily life? Try to make a mental note (or even write it down) when you find yourself comparing. Doing so will make you more aware of the action. When you find yourself comparing, instead look at how far you have come. This will help to stop the comparisons between others and help you focus more on YOU!
2. Compete less, appreciate more. There is a time and place for competition, but it is not in everyday life. Learn to appreciate the time others put in, and compliment them on their successes. Find inspiration in their accomplishments; they’ve put hard work in to get to where they are at. Let that help motivate you to be a better, stronger you.
3. If you have to compare, compare with yourself. You should strive to be the best version of yourself that you can be. You are the only you that exists, so the only true comparison that matters is one against yourself. Now, that’s not to say that this can’t be dangerous at times too. Life happens and things are not always going to improve. In fact, what was once easy could turn into something quite challenging; we can’t always hit PRs. We have to realize this in order to truly be successful, in order to truly be happy with ourselves.
It’s not easy to stop comparing yourself to others, but the more time and effort you put into focusing on you and your accomplishments, the less time you will have for comparisons. Once I started focusing solely on what I was doing in my training for GameDay Competitions, things started to come together.
I was able to take each piece of advice given to me and use that to improve. In doing so, I started looking forward to my training sessions and had fun with them! We didn’t finish in the top 5 at the competition, we didn’t even finish in the top 10, but I was still proud of all that I was able to accomplish in such a short period of time. That became possible once I stopped comparing myself to everyone around me.
It takes time, but little by little you will find your own progress a lot more satisfying.
Smile, you’ve made progress, you’re growing in more aspects than one, what’s not to be happy about?!