You've most likely heard the saying, "Comparison is the thief of joy", but it's a difficult thing to stop doing when comparison is an innate part of human nature.
With the world of social media giving us an open glimpse into the perfectly painted pictures of people's 'reality', it's become too easy to mindlessly compare our successes, physical appearances, and accomplishments to the fitness journey of others.
This culture of comparison can be damaging to our sense of self-worth and self-acceptance when the pressure to measure up to others manifests into dissatisfaction, envy and low self esteem.
We spoke to Mindset Coach and neuroscientist Alexis Fernandez to get her advice on how to stop the obsessive comparisons, and transform these feelings into a motivational driver towards your goals.
Alexis explains that it all comes down to changing your perspective.
"If you are participating in a challenge and you see others hitting their goals faster than you, remember that they are not highlighting what you have not achieved. They are expanders, showing you what is possible to be achieved!"
You need to remember that everyone has a different starting point, different levels of experience, and are on a completely different path, so you really can't compare your results or the journey that leads to the results, to that of anyone else.
The strategies that work for others won't necessarily work for you. If you decide to follow a style of training you don't enjoy, only because someone with your 'dream body' does it, you're doing it for the wrong reasons and you're likely to fall off track.
So instead, focus your energy on finding what YOU enjoy, so you can be content in your journey and live with a happy mind, body, and soul.
Create clear goals
If you haven't set clear and specific goals for yourself, it's easy to lose track of your reason why, and resort to comparing yourself to others.
Once you have identified what it is you want to achieve, physically write down each goal, so you can remind yourself regularly what you're working towards, and satisfyingly cross them off when you've reached them.
Track your achievements
Redirect the energy you'd spend checking in on your Instagram stories, and start checking in on your own progress and habits regularly.
Keeping an accountability log of your daily routine and wins will help keep your vision clear, your drive and determination strong, and comparisons at bay because you'll be more focused on yourself.
Instead of competing with someone else, aim to beat your own records, push yourself to level up your PBs, and beat your best times. The Workout Tracker feature in the MWU App is the place to keep track of your best weights, reps and log notes of your performance.
Jealousy has a way of making you feel resentful and unworthy, because by putting the other person on a pedestal, you are only deflating yourself and highlighting what you think you lack.
Alexis says, "If you find yourself feeling jealous of what someone has, or what they can do, I would challenge you to go out of your way to compliment them, talk to them or get to know more about them. The more connected you become, the better you will feel.
It’s hard to feel negative when you give someone a compliment and make their day. I promise you will instantly feel better because you will feel more connected, and you will see the person you envy as a human, and will realise that it is possible for you too".
Let go of your emotional attachment
Alexis's biggest tip to overcoming feelings of comparison and low-self esteem is to remove your emotional attachment to outcomes that are not in your control.
"When we become too attached with achieving that win, or beating someone else, or getting that job over the other person, we make that a part of who we are.
It becomes attached to our identity, and if we don't get it, we end up feeling horrible because it feels like we have lost something that was a part of us or meant for us.
You should only ever attach yourself to what is within your control. Every time other people or other peoples’ performance is involved, you cannot control the outcome".
Be your own biggest cheerleader
When you keep your focus on your own internal goals, you will be motivated by improving yourself no matter how well others do.
Sharing your wins is a great way to stay accountable and feel supported by your friends and family. Without knowing you'll likely inspire someone else on their journey too, so never feel embarrassed to celebrate yourself.
The MWU Facebook Forum is a safe and supportive place to share your wins, your struggles and ask any questions about your health and fitness journey. If you're not already a member, you can join our inspiring community here.
If you can recognise whenever these feelings of comparison or jealousy arise, you will be able to consciously reframe your mindset in the moment, and with time and practice these negative thoughts will no longer bother you.
Start moving your mindset today.