Whether we like to admit it or not, we all do it - compare ourselves to others. After all, we are social creatures, and we have this longing to be accepted and to know exactly where we stand in comparison to other people.
But, at the same time, most of us know that doing so brings little to the table. In fact, it often brings negativity more than anything else.
So, what can we do about this counterproductive tendency?
First, Remember That We Are Our Worst Critics
Let me ask you this:
Have you ever had a conversation with someone close, and you shared something about yourself that you don’t like? Chances are, they were probably surprised and told you something along the lines of, “Huh, I never noticed that about you.”
That’s the thing. We are our worst critics, and we often find faults with ourselves that other people would never notice. This is most likely because we spend a lot of time with ourselves and our thoughts, so we are bound to find things we dislike about our appearance and personality.
What’s important to remember here is that most of our flaws are just in our heads, and others will very likely never notice them.
Stop Making Excuses
Making excuses serves to make us feel good about ourselves, or, at least, not feel as guilty for not doing what we know we should. Plus, we can all admit that coming up with excuses doesn’t take much effort.
But here’s the thing:
Sure, excuses offer temporary relief, but nothing more. In the end, you’re not taking action, and you’re not moving forward with your goals. So, stop making excuses. No matter what it is about or whether or not you do have a valid reason. Own your shortcomings and move forward with grace and confidence.
One of the most common excuses with regards to fitness is that, “Eh, you know. I just don’t have the genetics for this!”
Sure, that’s a decent excuse for doing the hard work and seeing what you’re made of, genetically. But, again, it’s not productive. The fact is, we all start somewhere, and even the most inspiring fitness people today started somewhere - a couple of pull-ups, 65 pounds on the bench press, or something similar. Plus, if you never take the time to eat and train well, how can you truly know what you’re capable of?
Comparing yourself to someone and feeling bad about yourself is counterproductive at best and self-destructive at worst. Simply because someone is ahead of you, it doesn’t mean that you’re hopeless. If anything, you should use them as motivation for what you can achieve with hard work and consistency.
What you see isn’t luck, access to some revolutionary methods, or superior genetics. They are probably just ahead of you. In other words, they’ve invested more time and effort into their fitness journey and are further ahead. But, nothing is to say that you can’t eventually catch up.
Don’t Complain. Act.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s this:
Complaining gets us nowhere, we need to act. Even the smallest of efforts, when repeated diligently, can make a tremendous difference in the long-run. Sure, there will be hard days and bad workouts. Days where you don’t feel like eating healthily or making it to the gym. Days, where staying at home and chilling with some Netflix, seems ten times more alluring than spending half an hour to clear your car from snow and drive to the gym.
But do you know what?
These are the difficult decisions that build character and discipline. Everyone can make it to the gym when they feel motivated or when their buddies make them go. But it takes discipline to do the work, even when you don’t feel like it.
When you don’t feel like acting and instead find yourself complaining (i.e., finding excuses for sitting on your butt), remind yourself this:
You will never regret having done good work. Sure, the workout might be challenging, but you’ll be proud of yourself for going through it. Picking a healthy meal over a greasy burger might be challenging, but you’ll feel much better about yourself afterward.
The point is, sure, it’s not always going to be smooth and pleasurable, and you won’t always stick with your fitness plan down to the T. But, so long as you stay consistent and do the work, you will push yourself forward, and, more importantly, feel more confident in yourself and your ability to endure.
And, as a final note before wrapping this section up:
Screw the haters and critics. You do you. No matter where you are right now and how long the road ahead may seem, attack it with enthusiasm and grace. It might not feel like it right now, but you can achieve great results. And those folks who doubt you right now will eventually find themselves eating their words.
Be consistent, do what you can with what you’ve got (genetics, your gym, and everything else), focus on yourself, and avoid comparing yourself to others as much as you can. Before you know it, others will be looking up to you.