Your Brain On Fitness Part 1: Overcoming Comparison

On Site Coaching in Paoli - OPEX Upper Main Line

Overcoming Comparison

“Everyone has his or her unique power, it is our individual responsibility to find that power and use it in the service of ourselves and others” 


We live in an age where digital media, specifically social media platforms are primarily where we get our information, and its easy to allow what we see on those platforms get confused with reality.  Our own accomplishments too often become diluted by what we see on Facebook and Instagram, especially if we lack self confidence to begin with, or are too impressionable to keep in perspective that constant success, PR’s, luxurious lifestyles of the rich and “insta-famous” that typically display perfect abs, eating donuts on the regular, candid shots in really fashionable clothes while at coachella with your “crew” against pinterest approved background sunsets, as part of what seems like some endless hipster crusade to capture the best selfie while hiking the sierra nevada and drinking pour-over coffee at the summit of some mountain with your dog … can often leave us wondering how people (who must not have jobs right?) can live such fantastical lives? 


For most of these folks, its just that. Fantasy land. To be honest, it is impressive how creative we have become as a society (despite narcissism being at an all time historic high) and it is equally enjoyable that we have technology available to be creative and express ourselves through telling our stories on these platforms. I am a huge fan of social media. I am genuinely excited to see what the future holds on these platforms and connecting peoples passions for years to come.  This being said, it is vital that we keep a grip on distinguishing reality from fantasy, particularly when this establishment pertains to how we compare ourselves and our successes and failures to others. 


I hear it a lot within fitness. “Im not strong enough. Im not talented enough. I can’t do __________.” The question then becomes, WHY? Why do you feel this way? What are the external forces that cause this self doubt and depletion? Why not focus on the accomplishments and the progress you have made relative to 12 months prior? Why are we so fixated with focusing on what we can’t do—especially when it has no connection to what we actually want to accomplish, our personal values, or would be something we describe as necessary for our individual function in life?  Just because Rich Froning does Muscle Ups, doesn’t mean you will do one, or need to do one, ever. Accept it— and move on! Chances are, you already know thats the truth, and you can get a lot more happiness and fulfillment understanding and falling in love with what fitness means to YOU, rather than chasing someone else's aspirations.  These shortcomings can leave us feeling unworthy and deplete our emotional bank accounts so greatly over time that we forget why we even started with getting fit in the first place.  This is unsustainable for the client and can often be counter productive in the long term.  So what can we do to combat this de-valuation of self worth and constant comparison of ourselves to others achievements?  How can we defend against being constantly bombarded with the accomplishments of our peers? Consider the following: 


You are Unique: Try seeing the world and everyone in it as individuals who share your short-comings but each of us us has unique abilities and strengths. Celebrate those. 


Find Value- Get aligned with the things in fitness and in life that you are most passionate about and pursue those things to the best of your ability. Don’t waste anymore time living up to someone else’s expectations, that you may have even made up in your head somewhere along the way. 


Align Value to Function, and Function to Action: Know why you do what you do. Structure your training, your goals, and your career around the value that you set behind what it is that you make a regular habit of doing.  Actions dictate priorities, not the other way around.


Once this is established, the last step is making sure you have a personal attachment to what the outcomes will be over time and how these outcomes will look exactly like “what you want” and will give you fulfillment regardless of what you see from others, and the outcomes will allow you to adapt and repeat the process over and over for the long haul. 


The only person you need to compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.


Go Forth, 


Cody Loeffler 

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