How to Be Your Own Competition

We are all just running a race with ourselves.

When it comes to our appearance, it can be very easy to compare ourselves to others. Social media makes it very easy to fall into the trap of admiring other people for their looks, bodies, or fitness, without taking into account the fact that they likely don’t look like that all the time.

The internet can be great for a lot of things, but our self-esteem isn’t often one of them. When we see a photo of a fitness influencer, we immediately ask ourselves why our body doesn’t look like theirs, and we feel bad about ourselves. We don’t take into account that they most likely haven’t eaten that day, and that photo captured one second of their life, and left out the fact that they immediately stopped flexing and/or sucking in after snapping the pic.

It is dangerous to compare ourselves to others, so I have a solution for you.

Be your own competition.

I know people always say that you should only compare yourself, to yourself. But the truth is that nobody else has the same mental and physical constraints as you. Everyone’s body is different, and fitness comes more naturally to some people. So if you think about it that way, it isn’t really fair to compare yourself to anyone else.

The key to being your own competition is as follows:

Set realistic goals. In any race, getting to the next hurdle or obstacle should be your only concern. Start by setting a small, but realistic goal for yourself. Such as working out twice a week. Once you reach that goal, you will want to increase it.

READ MORE: Five Motivations to Keep You Fit Through the End of Summer

Use your own body for motivation. Think back to the fittest version of yourself, and use that as your motivation. Using someone else’s body as your motivation doesn’t really work because genetics, age, and a slew of other uncontrollable factors might stand in your way. If you don’t have a fittest version of yourself, even better. Now you have a goal.

Don’t be a sore loser. Be kind to yourself. If you don’t reach your goals, don’t feel sorry for yourself, just reset the clock and start the race again.

Focus on the positive. When thinking about your self-image, instead of thinking of all the things ‘I’m not’, think of all the things ‘I am’. Being your own competition involves being a good competitor. And the rules of good sportsmanship dictate that you be gracious to your competition. Instead of thinking: ‘I’m not reaching my goal this week’, think: ‘I am losing weight and getting in shape’.

It’s a small switch of perspective that can make all the difference in the world.

Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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