When I first start working with a private client, I always ask them with their goal is. What they would like to achieve by working with me.
And if I’m working with them on creating a stronger and healthier body, more often than not I get an answer like this, “I want to look like Gisele Bündchen, Gwyneth Paltrow or (insert another celebrity name here)”.
To which I reply, “Well I don’t think you can achieve that by working with me. But you can try writing a letter to God for some sort of incarnation or miracle and see if he replies”. After the shock wears off from my direct answer, there is usually some laughter. They realize that my answer was ridiculous because their goal was- you can only have one body. Your body. You can be the best you can be, but achieving someone else’s body is impossible. And comparing yourself to someone else leads to nothing positive.
Constantly comparing ourselves to others and wishing we were more like them is quite common. And it doesn’t only happen with body image. Maybe you compare your career to someone else’s who seems to have a better or bigger one. Or your relationships, friendships, bank account and even your wardrobe. Or even worse, all of it!
I’ve certainly fallen into this trap of comparing myself to other people before. And from time to time I find myself getting sucked back in to that same old story again. It’s easy to do.
It can start off by looking at someone we admire, or who we are inspired by. And next thing you know, you are thinking …. “They are so successful and my career sucks. She has the perfect body and I don’t. Why don’t I have my shit together like they do?” And we begin to think that our path isn’t good enough and their path must be the right one.
So why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it so easy to compare ourselves to others?
I think sometimes we do it because we’re looking to see if what we are doing is right; looking for some kind of feedback. Sometimes we do it because we want to compare ourselves to someone who maybe, in our minds at that moment, isn’t doing as well as us -and we want to feel good. And a lot of the times we do it because we’re feeling crappy. We feel bad about ourselves and we want to validate those sabotaging thoughts.
Whatever the reason is. It ain’t good for us. It really doesn’t serve us in any way.
Because focusing our energy on somebody else’s path only takes us away from our own.
So this week, I want you to challenge yourself to focus on your journey, and your journey only.
Here are 3 ways to help you out when you get stuck.
1. Gratitude. Often when we’re comparing ourselves to others, we are so focused on what they’ve got, and we are not appreciating all the awesome stuff we have in our own lives. So if you find yourself starting to enter comparison mode, stop and write down 10 things you’re grateful for in your life right now.
2. Realize that you actually kick ass! That there’s only one of you, and you’re pretty awesome. I know this is a hard one to do. But here’s a trick I use myself. Around 15 years ago I was given some Brian Tracey CDs to listen to. One of the exercises on these CDs was, when you’re feeling down, go to a mirror and repeat “I like myself. I like myself”. When I first tried this I felt totally nuts- I’d never heard of affirmations. But I did realize after a few repetitions, it is impossible not to smile and feel good. Seriously. It may sound like a lot of woo woo crap, but there is some science behind why they work.
3. Honour your journey. There is no perfect or correct time to achieve your goals. Comparing your career to someone who has been working in your industry for 2 years longer, or your body to someone who has been fit for 3 years and you’re just starting to make some healthy changes is silly. You are you. And you are where you are. If you find yourself getting sucked back in to the comparison game, stop and write a list some of your biggest achievements or moments in your life where you felt strong and at your best.
I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, I’d love for you to share an area in your life you are committed to stop the comparison game.
As always, thank you for reading.