In most areas of our lives, including the gym, we compare ourselves to others frequently. It’s far too simple to mindlessly compare our efforts, physical appearances, and successes to others’ fitness journeys. With the world of social media gives us a clear view of the flawlessly painted pictures of people’s “reality.”
Unfortunately, researchers and medical professionals assert that this may harm your physical and mental health because it may affect your motivation, self-esteem, and general development.
WHY SHOULDN’T WE COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHERS?
- Everyone’s journey is unique: Everybody has a different place to start when it comes to fitness. While some people may be beginning from scratch, others may have been active their entire lives. Therefore, it would be best not to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. It’s not fair or accurate to compare yourself to someone who has been working out for a long time, and it might be discouraging if you feel like you need to improve as quickly as they did.
- Comparison can lead to negative feelings: Comparing yourself to others may trigger unpleasant emotions like jealousy, inadequacy, and insecurity. These emotions may demotivate you and prevent you from achieving your goals.
- Everyone has different goals: Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and what works for someone else may not work for you. When it comes to fitness, every individual has different goals. For example, while some people may strive to grow muscle or improve their endurance, others might focus solely on shedding weight. Therefore, comparing yourself to someone with different goals can be misleading since it will draw your attention away from your own development and achievements.
- Everyone has different limitations: Everyone has unique physical restrictions and medical issues that may limit their exercise capacity. Some exercises may need to scale for your body type! If you feel like you need to catch up, making comparisons with someone who doesn’t experience the same constraints as you can be discouraging. Instead of comparing yourself to others, it’s critical to concentrate on what you are capable of and what benefits your particular body.
- Everyone’s progress is different: Everybody’s fitness journey is progressing differently. While some people could get effects right away, others might not. Comparing yourself to someone advancing more swiftly than you might lead to feelings of inadequacy or a lack of effort. It’s critical to remember that improvement takes time and to concentrate on your journey.
- Comparison can distract you from your goals: Constantly comparing yourself with others can cause you to lose focus and sight of your goals. Focus instead on your fitness path and goals; it’s necessary to create small plans for the week that has passed, whether they are to put on a little weight or lose a little. Use your time and energy to concentrate on your development and what you can do to improve.
- Comparison can affect your Mental Health: Your mental health is probably the biggest reason not to compare yourself to others. We are all unique in our own ways. If you constantly compare yourself to others, you could develop harmful behaviors that are bad for your overall health and emotional well-being. It has been proven that issues with body image play a significant role as a catalyst for mental illnesses like melancholy, anxiety, eating disorders, and more. In general, it’s critical to realize that we must adapt to our own circumstances, not those of others.
What are the disadvantages of comparing yourself to others?
There are several disadvantages to comparing yourself to others, including:
- Negative impact on self-esteem:
You could start to feel inferior and lose confidence if you constantly judge yourself compared to others. In addition, your mental health and wellness may suffer due to these emotions of inadequacy and self-doubt.
- Unfair and unrealistic expectations:
When you compare yourself to others, you may have inflated expectations and feel under pressure to live up to them. However, everyone has different skills and weaknesses. Thus it’s only sometimes possible to obtain the same achievements as others.
- Distraction from your own goals:
Overemphasizing what other people are doing can cause you to lose sight of your own goals and progress. As a result, you can feel dissatisfied and demotivated because you think others are moving more rapidly or successfully than you are.
- Lack of appreciation for your own achievements:
Recognizing your accomplishments and progress might be challenging when you constantly compare yourself to others. You can be so preoccupied with what other people are doing that you fail to recognize your own successes, which can cause you to feel frustrated and discouraged.
- Unhealthy competition:
By comparing yourself to others, you may develop an unhealthy sense of rivalry, resulting in hate and a lack of empathy and support for other people. Your interpersonal relationships and general well-being may suffer as a result.
Instead, Focus on your own journey
It’s simple to fall into the trap of comparing our journey to others in today’s world. It’s simple to feel that we’re not accomplishing enough or that we’re not as successful as we should be, whether that feeling comes from glancing at social media feeds or hearing from friends and family. But for success and personal development, it’s essential to concentrate on our own journeys. We’ll look at various tactics in this essay to assist you in focusing on your personal trip.
- Define your own success:
We don’t always know what success means to us, which is one of the reasons we compare ourselves to others. If you haven’t set clear, defined goals for yourself, it’s simple to lose sight of why you’re doing something and fall back on putting yourself in comparison to others. To define success, we frequently look to societal norms or what others are doing. But as success is a relative concept, what one person may deem successful may not be so for another. Therefore, it’s crucial to clarify what success means to you to concentrate on your own journey. Once you’ve determined what you want to do, physically write down each goal so you can periodically remind yourself of what you’re aiming for and joyfully check them off as you complete them. You can use this to develop objectives that are relevant to you and in line with your beliefs and priorities.
- Stay away from social media:
Social media is a comparison breeding ground. On social media, it’s simple to get caught up in the trap of comparing your experience to that of others. However, individuals only share positive things on social media, which is frequently like a highlight reel. Therefore, setting time restrictions or taking a break from social media is crucial to concentrate on your own journey. By doing so, you’ll be able to stop comparing yourself to others and instead focus on your development and accomplishments.
- Celebrate small wins:
It’s easy to lose track of the more minor victories along the way when focusing on the end goal. However, you may maintain your motivation and commitment to your personal quest by acknowledging tiny achievements. Simple things like treating yourself to your favorite meal or taking a day off can be used to mark small victories. Even if it seems modest, it’s crucial to recognize and appreciate your success.
- Practice gratitude:
Practicing gratitude can help you appreciate what you already have and focus more on your journey than on how you compare to other people. Spend a few minutes each day listing three things for which you are thankful. This will assist you in refocusing on the positive aspects of your life and developing an appreciation for the adventure you are now doing.
- Surround yourself with supportive people:
You can keep your focus on your journey by surrounding yourself with encouraging people. These folks won’t criticize you for where you are in your journey; instead, they will inspire and motivate you. A supportive community can also give you access to other viewpoints and thoughts that might aid your personal development.
In conclusion, comparing yourself to other exercisers can be detrimental to your motivation, self-esteem, and overall growth. So, instead of comparing yourself to others, it’s critical to concentrate on your own particular starting point, objectives, constraints, and advancement. Remember, everyone’s journey is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to success. It is not a race, and the most crucial thing is to remain consistent and keep improving. Embrace your journey and trust the process.
March is the founder and owner of The Barbell Beauties which she started in 2015. She is from the Philippines and currently lives in beautiful Thailand with her American husband and daughter. She is an avid Crossfitter and has just started her journey into Muay Thai (kickboxing).