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Compete with yourself

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On Monday I wrote about giving yourself a break. The idea was simply to get you to see yourself as you would a colleague, friend or even a family member and to mentor and guide yourself when you make mistakes rather than chastise and ridicule. One thing we missed was why we do this. Why are we so quick to give ourselves a hard time when we don’t get something first time, slip from our diet or fail to make a certain time/lift a certain weight or the like? One major reason is comparison and competition with others. Compete with yourself!

Compete with yourself

Other people have said it, so it shouldn’t be anything new to you, but don’t compare yourself to others. It’s more easily said than done of course. We are a world built on comparisons to others! Just look at one of our biggest past times: watching sport. We want to know you the fastest man alive is. Who the best footballer is. Whether Andy Murray is better than the next big tennis star. We humans are obsessed with competition and comparison. Look at something purely creative: film. We can’t just leave it at that. We have to have a best actor Oscar. A best film. It goes on and on.

Is it any wonder then that we are all so desperate to compare ourselves to others? No, it isn’t! But that doesn’t give you an excuse to do it! One of my most shared and liked blogs was on the subject of being Social Media selfish. If you missed it first time around, give it a read. Basically, I outline why I think social media can be a negative impact and to ensure it isn’t, you may need to be more selfish with it. I stand by that and I think it applies here. What’s the one thing we all ensure when we put something on social media? That it looks good.

Very few people put up the first photo they take of something, or the first selfie they take. Most people will look at the shot and redo it. Make it better. Get it as close to perfect as they can. Life isn’t like that really is it? You don’t get to redo every little thing you do to make it the best it can be, so why try to compete with people on social media when you are only seeing the best bits!

Only compare to you

You don’t know what the person on the other end of an Instagram account is really doing. Far too many people aren’t who they appear to be or quite as successful as they want you to think they are. It’s all a game, and sadly a fake game. As someone said, “being famous on Instagram is like being rich in monopoly”. Don’t allow yourself to compare your body, face, hair, car, home, friends, family or anything to anyone on social media. Yes, we are a species of competition, but you can’t compete with something people can fake. They can do it over and only pick the best bits. You see you 24/7. No-one is perfect. Let me say that again, no-one is perfect.

Sean Lerwill

Moving forward

From now on, when you are attempting something new or trying to better your physique, or even something as simple as going on holiday; don’t compare what you are doing with other people. You may be going to Rome and are rightfully super excited about it, but you look in social media and someone out there will be in Bali or have just been to Rome and (supposedly) stayed in a hotel overlooking the Colosseum. You may have just got down to 12% bodyfat, yep, they’ll be someone at 8%. Or at least their latest post makes it look like they are.

Don’t compare

The person in Bali may have really bad diarrhea, but they won’t Instagram that will they? Ok, some people desperate for attention would! The person with 8% bodyfat may well just have lean abs, they may hate their legs or arms or the like. The person with the balcony overlooking the Colosseum may be in Rome for one night whereas you are there for three. You both spent your money differently for your own aims. We all have self doubt and many people are just looking for a confidence boost from putting something onto social media that is the best they can muster. Just don’t compete with it.

Look at your last photo, your last run. How much you lifted last time, or how long you held a handstand for. If you only compete with yourself, you inspire yourself. You continually grow and advance. Inspire your loved ones and let them inspire you. Healthy competition between friends can be really useful, but don’t allow comparison with complete strangers who are only looking at making themselves feel good (no matter what they say to the contrary about inspiring others) put you off you positive goal.

 

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It's not all about training. – It happens all too often, someone embarks on a health and fitness journey and all too soon, that journey takes over. Instead of training being part of life, it becomes the focus. All of a sudden everything else has to fit in around training. – Remember that to be truly healthy your mind has to be fit as well as your body. Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical fitness for true health. – Do things that make you happy other than training. Spend time with people you care about and make the time to enjoy the world away from the bench or treadmill. – Our lives are stressful enough with work and sometimes personal expectations, so support your health and fitness lifestyle with times doing things that help lower stress levels. A walk in the park with people you care about is a simple and easily achievable example for everyone. Just as @missbraithwaite and I are doing here. – Photo: @mediaartstudio

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Sean Lerwill - Author

Sean is an former-Royal Marines Commando Officer & Physical Training Instructor. He has been published as a writer five times, has a BSc in Molecular Genetics and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. He is also a Maximuscle ambassador.

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