Comparison is Killing Your Progress
Comparison is the thief of Job.” Theodore Roosevelt
The gym is a wonderful place. Everyone goes to the gym for different reasons, whether it's to clear our head, destress, or simply lift heavy weights. In short, the gym is haven from the daily stressors of life.
However, when we see others performing impressive displays of strength or having a certain physique, a small part of us starts comparing. We look at them thinking," I'll never look like them" or "man, I'll never be that strong." or "man I wish I had their arms/shoulders/butt etc."
At one point or another, we've all compared ourselves to define our self worth throughout our lives. I know because I have. Early in my fitness journey, I used to compare myself to my peers during my high school summer conditioning. "I wish I was as strong as them." "why can't I be as fast?" "Why can't I get rid of my ugly abs?" I even created imaginary situations and reasons why they were better than me. Every time , I compared myself to my peers, I always felt inferior, unworthy, and disappointed with myself. Theodore Roosevelt perfectly summed this sensation with the quote, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
Instead of staying within the comparison trap, focus on the following:
1) Focus on what you Gained rather than what you Lack
Everyone is at a different point within their fitness journey. Keep focusing on how far you’ve come, rather how far you feel you still have to go. If you have never squatted before but now can do 40lb goblet squats, that’s progress! If your workouts were brutal before, but now more doable, that's progress!
2) Compliment Other’s progress
Are you envious of someone’s ability to go to the gym 4 times a week when you have to drag yourself there once a week? If your first reaction seeing someone else’s achievement is jealously or envy, ask yourself where that feeling is coming from. Often, that feeling stems from our lack of action and knowing we can do better. Instead of silently envying their progress, go over and ask how they do it.
3) Allow other’s achievements inspire you
While it's a normal to draw inspiration from others, it's not ok to diminish your self worth because of someone else's achievement. Use their actions and behaviors to inspire you as a means to grow and learn from. Instead of focusing on what others have done, turn your focus towards your own behaviors. Focus on controlling the things you can control, like how many times you can go to the gym and your effort level within each workout.
When it comes to our health and fitness, everyone is at a different point on their journey. Everyone has had struggles and setbacks along their path. The truth is this is completely normal and expected because growth and improvement is never linear.
When we compare our journey to others, we feel like failures for having to do "more work" than what we perceive. We have absolutely no idea how long their journey has lasted. This is especially true when comparing yourself to others on social media. Never compare your month #5 to someone else's year 6 or highlight reel.