Comparisons kill results. Don’t be a murderer.
This seems to be a lifelong lesson: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. We learn it while we’re little, but later in life we hear people comparing themselves to others ALL THE TIME! Why don’t I have her arms? Why can’t I have his endurance? They’re so much stronger than I am.
Comparisons kill results because they completely halt your momentum. Forward momentum is EVERYTHING! As long as you’re progressing, as long as you’re moving in the right direction, you are KILLING IT! Your health journey stops the moment you decide that it’s not worth it. And that decision is usually made when comparing the beginning of your journey, to the end of someone else’s.
If you came into the gym for a 5 o’clock group workout, you’d probably end up in class with Valerie. Now if you watch Val workout, you’d be impressed. She rocks out strict pull ups like it’s nothing, she hardly ever takes breaks during workouts to catch her breath, and her box jumps are insane. To compare your performance in your first workout to Val’s performance would be extremely misleading and extremely inaccurate. Val’s pull ups, endurance, and box jump height are all a product of her consistency over a long period of time. The only time comparisons may work is when you’re comparing your progress to someone else’s who is in the EXACT SAME POINT within their journey. Val is not at the same point as someone coming in for their first workout. And here’s why it’s misleading: If you want a true comparison, you’d compare your first workout to Val’s first workout. During class #1, there were no pull ups. There were a lot of breaks to catch her breath. There was no jumping at all. Literally no jumping; her feet never left the floor. But today? 24 inch box jumps are just another Monday!
Unfortunately, I have a lot more stories about people who sabotage their progress before they even give themselves the chance to start. Looking for inspiration on social media can be an awesome way to surround yourself with motivation, if it’s used properly. Filling you feed with Victoria’s Secret models to inspire your weight loss journey? How long do you think that inspiration will last when you’re looking at pictures upon pictures of women whose bodies are entirely different from your own? How motivated will you feel to exercise, to eat clean, to drink more water?
This isn’t to say that social media cannot be helpful; it absolutely can and I myself use it often. But my Instagram and Pinterest feeds don’t show the body I want; they show the habits I’m practicing. There are so many inspirational health & fitness accounts that share content around mentality and positivity when becoming healthier; they help you through the process by teaching you about internal changes that can make that journey easier or more simple. If you’re following an account that shows both the positive and negative sides of that journey, you’ve found an effective person/company to follow for inspiration. If you’re following an account that shows only what you “should” look like without speaking to the difficulties and challenges that you’ll experience along the way, with all due respect, please unfollow immediately (if not sooner).
Pinterest can be an awesome tool to keep on track with your health goals – I download pictures and quotes that remind me of current habits: to drink more water and to eat more protein and vegetables. Not only do I view my boards on the app often, but I also create and hang vision boards to look at for reminders about my goal and how I plan to get there.
Here’s another example: Have you ever joined your friend at their gym for a class or a workout? Your friend has been working out there for months and you decide to try it out. You’re with your friend, so what could go wrong? I will tell you exactly what can go wrong: You struggle through the entire workout while your ‘friend’ (in quotes because you hate her more than anything right now) breezes through the hour with ease and finesse. After comparing your experience suffering through an hour of brand new movements with a now very sore body, you decide that this type of exercise just isn’t for you. If it was, you’d have an easier time like your friend.
Don’t lie, you’ve totally had that experience before. And even if you’ve never experienced being the newbie, you’ve most likely experienced bringing a beginner-level friend to your gym. Here’s what you didn’t tell your workout buddy that could have really helped: “Our experience with this workout will not look the same.”
This can be a discouraging thought in the beginning; especially since we tend to assume that we’re alone and everyone else will run circles around us. In some cases, that might be true. But here’s the good news: If you try out a gym where the majority of the other attendees are kicking ass, those workouts are doing something right. Instead of looking at the other members with disdain because they know exactly what they’re doing, ask this instead: “If this gym helped these people get to that level of fitness, what could it do for me?”
When we feel singled out we have a tendency to view our feelings or experience as ours and ours alone. But friends, please let me remind you, no matter what age you are, no matter your size or your ability…
Or put another way:
IT WON’T BECOME EASIER WITHOUT IT SUCKING FIRST
Poetic, I know. But true nonetheless.
It’s always so ironic when someone tells me that they want to start exercising, but before they join a gym they want to get in shape first. WHAT?!?! Are we forgetting the purpose of a gym in the first place? We expect every single new member to know NOTHING. Yup, that’s right! If it’s your first class at Dew It Fitness, we assume you don’t know how to do a push up, a sit up, or a crunch for that matter. The reason we assume this is because the majority of our members started out knowing very, very little about the movements they’re now practicing like champs. And because we have the best FitFam out there, they share their early experiences as proof that the hard, sweaty, gritty work at the beginning is inevitable if you want to become more proficient. They’ll tell you about days they left the gym discouraged, times they wanted to give up, mistakes they made along the way. Having others around you who have already succeeded in the thing you want will force you to level up. To remind you that the first class, the first workout is the hardest.
Here’s how to avoid the common mistake of self-sabotage:
- Know your WHY. Why do you want to become healthier? What reasons are propelling that decision and are they strong enough to keep you on track when it gets difficult? Keep unpacking those reasons by asking yourself, “Why do I want to make this change?” over and over and over again until you find the real reason. Once you have your true WHY, you’ll have more reasons to start than reasons not to.
- Social media makeover! Say goodbye to all those accounts that rid you of motivation. The pictures and videos that make you feel discouraged to the point of quitting before you even start. Replace those energy suckers with stuff that will make you feel like a million bucks! Follow accounts that inspire you, that reflect your WHY, that help you with the part of the process that you are at. Fill your feed with both inspiration and truth about what the process really looks like.
- You will fail. Someone needs to hear this today. You will hit a point in your journey when it gets really tough – for some, that might be the decision to begin exercising. Take some pressure off yourself by acknowledging that even the most consistent and proficient gym-goers fail their way to success. You’re not striving for perfection; you’re striving for progress. Standing back up after you fail – whether that’s missing a workout, eating something outside of your nutrition guidelines or having difficulty getting through a workout – is the only part that matters. Acknowledge the failure, know that you’re in good company, then get back up and go again.
- Have someone in your corner who will keep you accountable; who will share your victories and remind you of your WHY when the going gets tough. They do not necessarily need to be on the journey with you, but everyone needs a cheerleader – our friends will force us to acknowledge wins that we tend to overlook.
Check out our Dew It Fitness transformations for real-life stories of real people who did the thing that you want to do to. These are people of all shapes, sizes, and age groups who made a decision to start exercising and just kept going. You could be next!
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