You’ve heard someone say it before “Dont worry about everyone else, run your own race”. Is it cliché? Yes. However, at some point or another we all do lose sight of just how important this concept really is, and in reality how difficult it can be. Ironically, this phrase can be taken literally if you’re running a 5k, 10k or a full marathon, but for the majority of us, it’s simply just a phrase used to symbolize our lives as a whole. We constantly find ourselves looking at what others are doing and comparing. We look at what they have that we don’t, what makes them “better” or “worse” than us.
This often used phrase of “running your own race” is much easier said than done. While the concept is solid and most of us would agree that we should focus on what we are doing as individuals and resist the temptation to compare ourselves to others, we often find ourselves doing just the opposite. Actually implementing this mindset on a daily basis takes effort and is not one that is easily followed on a consistent basis.
As human beings we come pre-wired to look at what someone else has and well, let’s be honest, envy what they have. Whether it’s a material object, money, job or who they are dating. We all find ourselves at some point in our lives desiring what someone else possesses. From a fitness perspective this can really discourage your motivation to continue or get started. Those thoughts begin to creep into your head “I’ll never look like him/her”. The good news is you don’t want to look like anyone else, because in the end the only one you should be comparing yourself to is, well, yourself. This sounds selfish to say, but in the fitness world, focusing on yourself is the one time in life that you should! We all have imperfections and things we wish we could change regarding how we look. In a way this can be viewed a really good thing since it keeps up motivated to keep pushing forward, always striving to achieve higher goals.
But unfortunately, the reality is that many of us intuitively compare our body’s to someone elses, almost out of instinct. Almost as a way to validate that we are either ‘in shape’ or ‘sexy’. The danger in using someone else as a measuring stick for our own self-esteem and self-image is that we will likely only see the ‘flaws’ in our own bodies rather than our strengths. Remember, no matter how in-shape and fit someone may appear, they too had to start somewhere. That place may very well be where you are today.
If you can’t help but to compare yourself to someone else, at least make a conscious effort to recognize when you’re doing it and then force your mind to view the positives. Use that person as inspiration to motivate yourself knowing that you CAN get to where you want to be. Once you have the right mindset, your body will follow. The key here is to create small achievable goals along the way. This will keep you motivated and on track.
Just remember, in the end you are really only running a race against yourself. Make sure your mind is also aware of this, and use others as inspiration to achieve your fitness goals.