I’ve written and read a whole heap of things about how we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people. Like we all know everyone is different and yet human nature still compels us to constantly beat ourselves up because we dont perform/make gains etc at the same speed as others, we all know we shouldnt compare, we all know we shouldnt get jealous or put ourselves down based on what other athletes/friends/co-members do but I think that sometimes we lie to ourselves…
I think that what we do sometimes is say to ourselves ‘im not comparing, or judging myself, or beating myself up’ and then we see someone do something and we go ‘OMG I ‘should’ be able to do that’ so then we go off and try to do it. Then one of two things happen – we either validate ourselves by being able to complete the same movement/weight/rep scheme/etc or we dont manage to do it and then we validate our insecurity because we think we’re not ‘good enough’ – we’ll tell ourselves we’re not comparing ourselves but I think that what we’re actually doing is comparing..we’re comparing by chasing
So I’ll start this with one thing – I was extremely guilty of chasing and not that long ago. I chased members in the gym, I chased people I admired online – I reasoned with Myself that this was because it gave me a ‘goal’ a ‘target’ to hit. Id find people with similar height/weight/background to me and I’d figure ‘if they can do it I should be able to too’
I was wrong…and it made me SO insecure in my athletic ability.
I’ll get the obvious stuff out of the way first – we’re are all completely different, no matter if someone is the same height & weight as you – even if they had an identical athletic background – you will not perform the same as them end of story. We know this, we tell ourselves this, its time to cop on and actually accept this.
Right, now Im done with that I’ll explain the real reason we need to stop doing this..
Its a mental thing, its a happiness thing, its a self-worth thing.
If you are chasing someone else’s dream, someone else’s goals you will never, ever find satisfaction in what you do – even if you match or even beat their goals. Why? Because they have set out their goals, they are working tirelessly for them, its what they want and so when they get it its like all their Christmas’s have come at once – but for you..well you’ve just hit someone else’s goal – there will be a fleeting moment of self praise and a little ‘I told you so’ and then you’ll be back wondering what to do, where will you get that next goal from – and you’ll be sat around waiting until they say/post/do something for you to chase again. This results in ZERO self satisfaction, zero self worth and a pretty awful feeling of ‘nothing’ – trust me, I know.
In the last 6 months I have made more progress in my athletic career than in the whole 2 years Ive been into CrossFit. Ive been wondering why alot… like I didnt suddenly get stronger, I didnt suddenly jump up on a bar and ‘know’ how to do gymnastics, I didnt all of a sudden start Weightlifting and realise I was half decent at it.
So what did I do??
6 months ago I set Myself my own goals. I stopped aimlessly attending classes and looking at what other people could (or couldn’t do) do for my ‘goals’ , I decided what exactly I wanted to get out of CrossFit & Weightlifting and I stopped giving a shit about what anyone else was doing in ‘comparison’ to me.
What happened? I made serious progress in my athletic ability and more importantly I got and get WAY more satisfaction out of my training. Mentally I felt good, this translated to my training. Having clear goals gives me focus, something to work too and means that nothing can get in my way – most importantly my head.
I have my ‘big’ goals that Ive set out for the year but actually what I do is set myself lots of little goals along the way, take double unders as an example. I basically didnt bother my arse learning them. Three weeks ago I set myself the ‘get double unders goal’ and I got them – ULTIMATE self satisfaction.
My little goals develop day to day/week to week/month to month – completely dependant on how my training is going, how Im feeling, what I need to work on. Notice Im saying ‘I’ alot. This wasnt always the case, it is now and I never ever mentally beat myself up over something someone else can do. This mental FREEDOM is what keeps my training fresh, fun and progressing. Im never ‘lost’ looking for a goal. Im completely focused on what Im doing and why.
If your training is feeling ‘stale’ or you find yourself a bit lost, not knowing what your next goal is or not feeling satisfied when you leave the gym, if you find yourself frustrated or beating yourself up about what you cant do in comparison to someone else – or even dare I say it secretly high fiving yourself because you can do something someone else cant then I would ask you to sit down with yourself, pen and paper and have a think – what is it you want to take from your training? Are you inadvertently chasing other people and their goals? How do you feel about your progress?
Write down 3 little things that YOU want to get from your training and start chasing yourself down, DREAM BIG, chase your dreams and get the ultimate self satisfaction of knowing you set your goal, you chased your goal and you smashed your goal!!!