Besting Myself

One of the major things I used to get hung up on (and I know most others do, too) is comparing myself and my fitness and weight loss results to those of others.

I still do from time to time.

Even if I worked my butt off and had dropped 2 pounds in one week, I’d envy the woman who lost 3 instead. I’d let it hurt my feelings and begin to wonder if my work was worth it at all. Looking back on it all now, I have to laugh. I was complaining about “only” losing two pounds in a week?! Biggest Loser contestants, starvation diets, and 5 hours of exercise aside, two pounds is PLENTY to lose in a week to be healthy. Even as a personal trainer, I have to remind myself that that’s the best way to go, but it’s so hard not to look at other people, compare yourself and wonder why you can’t measure up. I’d hear stories from some of my lifetime runner friends who can complete a mile in under 7 minutes and I start to downgrade myself, momentarily forgetting that I just started running regularly about 3 years ago or so. I haven’t had as many years of practice. But, damn. And then I’d watch as other peers drove around in their brand new Range Rovers, landed a new promotion, or climbed a new mountain, made a new scientific discovery.

Don’t get me wrong, folks. Competition is a crucial part of staying motivation to keep giving more. But when it gets to the point where you can’t acknowledge your own hard work, your own success, and verbally or literally pat yourself on the back… it’s time to stop staring at others and start looking at the one in the mirror. How can I improve myself? How can I be better/do more than I did last year, last week, yesterday?

Instead of wasting so much time internally kicking yourself, feel proud that you’ve even decided to begin to change. Do you realize how huge that is? Millions of others haven’t even reached that step yet. Getting started is the hardest part. I have to focus on how far I’ve been and get excited, rather, about how far I’d still like to go. You can reach your goals when you’re focused solely on yourself and stop “measuring up” to others. For me, I know I can run a stable 8 minute mile, can complete 180 pushups during a workout, can do 15 overhanded, unassisted pull-ups, and love the way I feel in my size 4 jeans. I can do all of this because I didn’t quit, because I didn’t stop for too long to rubber-neck other people. Ready for a harsh realization? They don’t even care. Everyone is mostly worried about themselves to spend time to criticize you. And those who do take that time aren’t deserving of your attention anyway.

It isn’t about perfection. It’s about being better than yesterday. That’s all it is. Better than yesterday.

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