When was the last time you compared yourself to someone?
If you’re like most people, you probably do it quite often without even realising.
Comparing your looks, your body, your weight, your job, your bank balance, your kids, your house….
The list goes on and on.
Most of the time, when we compare ourselves to others, we come out second-best (because we rarely compare ourselves favourably). Not only does this erode our confidence, but it leaves us feeling unhappy and unsatisfied.
It also makes it a lot harder to lose weight.
You’ll be confused about your own goals
Watching what other people are doing, and spending time comparing yourself with them means you’re likely to be confused about any goals that you may have set for yourself. Sure, you may know what you want to achieve, but there’s every chance that you’ll be distracted by what other people are working towards. You may wonder if you should change your goal, in a quest to be more like the person you’re comparing yourself to. The more people you compare yourself to, the more confused you’ll be. Which brings us to our next point
You won’t focus on the right actions
When you’re confused about what goal you want to achieve, you won’t be focusing on the right actions you need to take. For example, let’s say you want to lose weight. You know someone else who seems to be succeeding at weight loss so you do what they’re doing. In this case, they’re on a strict diet that limits calories and food groups. You also know someone else who has done well with their weight loss, and they’re now working on their fitness, so you add this to your plan. This person is doing a gym class every morning, and walking for an hour every night. So now you’re dieting and over-exercising. Before long, you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and burned out. So you give up because it seems too hard, only taking you further away from your weight loss goal. Instead, you would have been better off seeking the help of a coach, who can help your find clarity around your goals, and then provide you with the right actions to take, in order to help you reach this goal, in a safe, sustainable and enjoyable way.
You won’t be working on your habits
As we’ve mentioned many times, your habits are what determines your success with long-term weight loss. However, comparing yourself with others means you’ll be so busy looking outwards, that you won’t be able to look inwards and become aware of the habits that have led you to where you are. And if you’re not aware of these habits, you can’t work on them and change your situation.
You won’t celebrate your wins
Comparing yourself with others means that you won’t be able to celebrate your wins. When you focus on what others are doing, your wins can seem insignificant. Focusing on what you haven’t achieved, by comparing your wins to someone else’s will leave you feeling frustrated and will erode your confidence. When you lack confidence, you’ll be slow to take action, you’ll doubt the journey, you’ll live a life that’s based in fear, and you’ll end up people-pleasing because you’ll be afraid of what others think. But if you ignore what other people are doing and focus on yourself, you’ll be able to celebrate your progress, no matter how small. This will also improve your confidence and keep you motivated to keep progressing forward.
You’ll feel stressed
How stressful is it to constantly think that you’re not good enough? Believing that you don’t measure up often leads to perfectionist behaviour — trying to do everything properly in order to be good enough. The extreme stress involved in trying to achieve these standards will eventually take its toll, and bring your weight loss to a grinding halt.
You’ll feel powerless
When you compare yourself with others, you’ll always feel inadequate. Sometimes the gap between where you are and where someone else is will seem so big that it will leave you feeling powerless to change your habits and your situation. This will lead you to give up on your weight loss goals altogether. However, focusing on your own journey means you’ll be taking the steps YOU need to take to get you where you want to be. You’ll effectively be taking your power back, eliminating the feelings of overwhelm, and creating the life you want to have.
You’ll fail to do the work
Losing weight and changing your body shape takes work. Anyone who has succeeded in doing so has worked hard to achieve their result. However, comparing yourself with someone else can lead you to disregard that work. It’s easy to think someone else is ‘lucky’ because they have the kind of body that you’d like to have. But thinking all it takes is luck, means you won’t recognise the work that has gone into achieving that result. And if you don’t recognise that it’s work that got them there, you won’t understand that it’s work that will get you there too.
You’ll be unhappy
How many times have you achieved something and felt proud of yourself? What happens if someone else comes along who has achieved even higher? How do you feel? Do you still feel proud, or has some of the joy been sucked away? Comparing ourselves to others removes the focus from what we should be excited about within ourselves, leaving us feeling unhappy and discontented. And when you fail to find joy in the journey itself, you’ll fail to keep going.
What are you comparing?
When you compare yourself with others, you’re actually comparing your reality, with a perception of someone else’s success. In other words, you’re comparing someone else’s highlight reel, to your warts-and-all reality. The perfect example of this is social media. Everyone is quick to post up a good-looking selfie when the lighting is perfect and their make-up is on point. But how many people post a photo of themselves as soon as they’ve woken up? Be aware that when you engage in the game of ‘comparisonitis’, it’s not a fair game at all, and you’ll be the one on the losing side.
However, when you focus on your own weight loss goals, the steps that you need to take, and celebrate your progress, you’ll always be a winner when it comes to losing weight.
In our next blog, we’ll show you how to stop comparing yourself to other people.