Let’s begin by acknowledging that we compare ourselves to other people all the time. Why? We’re the only species with a capacity for self-reflection and the easiest way to evaluate something is to compare it to something else, or in this case, someone else. Comparing yourself, especially your health and fitness, to others is detrimental for many reasons. We’ll explain why comparison is harmful and what steps you can take that will actually benefit you and focus your time and energy in a productive way.
Comparison is Counterproductive
Time is a limited resource and if you spend your time focusing on someone else’s journey, how will you be able to spend enough time adopting new healthy habits and creating your own goals? Adopting what someone else is doing is a waste of time, because it is specific to them. Your efforts would be better spent discovering what your “healthy” looks like.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” Teddy Roosevelt
You can’t be content if your focus is on someone else because you’ll overlook your own wins. There is a major difference between competition when it comes to something that is inconsequential to the bigger picture vs. comparison that leaves you feeling anxious and depressed.
It’s not an apples to apples comparison
You are looking at your reality and comparing it to their “best foot forward” The old adage of the “camera adds twenty pounds” is now “What Instagram filter are they using?” Not only are you usually seeing a best case scenario on social media but they may have been working on their goals for many months or years but you are just starting out. You may have tunnel vision and are not looking at the whole picture. While one part of their life may seem enviable, you have no idea about the silent battles they may be fighting. This is not an invitation to dive deeper and pry into why their life may not be as perfect as it seems but it is something to consider.
Steps to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Remove Tempting Triggers
If you spend a lot of time on social media, recognize that doing so may play into how often you compare yourself to others. Turn on your smartphone feature that records how much time spent on these apps and resolve to set a limit based on those results.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Have you noticed that the most content people are not burdened by jealousy? Instead other people’s wins are occasions to be celebrated? Also because science. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. With gratitude as your guide, make an effort to verbally thank people, bring back the hardcopy thank you note and jot down the things you are thankful for. If you’re looking for a way to practice gratitude, lessen stress and feel more physically fit, you can’t go wrong with yoga. Yoga encourages students to slow down and connect with THEIR bodies and THEIR breath. Your practice is not the same as the person next to you because it’s not a competition.
If You Have to Compare, Keep it to Yourself
We mean this literally as in only compare yourself today to yourself a year ago, or to the way you felt last week when you made a concerted effort to eat more greens. It’s a fair comparison when the subject is the same but the time frame is different. Compare the amount of time you could spend on the treadmill when you started going to the gym to the amount of time you can spend on it now. This exercise can help you recognize the incremental improvements you are making.
At Healthful Life MD, our team is focused on helping you get out of your own way. Comparing ourselves is in our DNA but it doesn’t have to derail your journey. Once we acknowledge comparison steals our joy and stresses us out, we can redirect our attention to the things that matter. Our team is committed to a holistic wellness approach and understands that positive proclamations are only meaningful if we know HOW to make them work in our own lives. Call (303) 336-5681or schedule a free consultation to speak with Dr. Abby Bleistein about where you’re headed on your health journey.