In our last blog, we looked at why comparing yourself with others actually slows down your weight loss results.
In case you missed it, you can go and read it here.
Now you understand how this habit impacts your weight loss journey, you probably want to know how you can stop comparing yourself to others, and focus on your own journey.
Here are our top tips.
Accept where you are
A key step towards quitting comparing yourself with others is to accept where you really are. When we don’t accept where we really are, we fixate on where we’d like to be. We pretend we’re further down the track than we really are, and comparing ourselves with people who have achieved the kind of goals that we wish to achieve. You might think that this will help you reach your goal faster. However, if you haven’t accepted where you really are, you’ll try to start working from the place you think you’re at, instead of working from the place where you really are. This will mean that you won’t be doing the right things to get out of your current reality and on the right path to reach your ultimate weight loss goals.
Understand where you want to go
Speaking of goals, it’s important that you set your SMART goals, so you know where you’re headed. A SMART goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. It also needs to be important to you, not other people. This will help you define why you want what you do, and will help you stay focused instead of distracted by other people’s journeys.
Focus on YOUR goals
Comparing yourself to others wastes time that you could invest into your own body transformation journey. Instead, have tunnel-vision, focus on your own goal, and use your time wisely to do the work you need to do, to achieve it.
Know that every journey is different
It’s important to understand that everyone’s journey is different. For example, the habits that one person may have to overcome are likely to be different to the habits you need to overcome. You may have more habits to work on than someone else, or it may take longer for you to change your habits than you initially think. You may have more weight to lose than someone else. You may not be able to train as effectively as another person if you have an injury, or a mobility issue. You may have spent more years compromising your metabolism through dieting, which will mean it will take longer to get your body to where it will burn fat effectively. There are no rules around how long permanent weight loss will take, so focus on yourself.
Understand what you’re comparing
When you compare yourself to others, you’re comparing their outside (or highlight reel), with your inside (reality). The truth is that this isn’t a fair comparison. It’s like the cliché, ‘comparing apples with oranges’. You can’t possibly compare because they are two different things. Your perception of someone else is not their reality, just as someone else’s perception of you, isn’t your reality. For example, if you’re currently doing the work to build a firing metabolism, and working on your habits and mindset, it may appear that your journey is taking longer than someone who is doing a quick-fix, like a detox, or fad-diet. On the surface, the person doing the quick-fix may be losing weight faster than you. If you compare your results to theirs, you may question what you’re doing, or feel that you’re not progressing at all. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll realise that you are laying down the foundations to lose weight once and for all, while the other person is simply setting themselves up to have to lose their weight again, because diets never lead to permanent weight loss.
Stop trying to be perfect
No one is perfect. But when you compare yourself to someone else, you’ll generally only focus on the things they do well. This can lead you to believe that you have to be perfect to lose weight. However, aiming for perfection will actually derail your results. Understand that no one is perfect, and that what you are aiming for is unrealistic and unattainable.
Being grateful for what you do have, and practising this daily will make you far less likely to fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others. When you’re happy and grateful for what you have, you won’t mind what others have, or what they seem to have.
Be aware of your triggers
Of course, if you understand what triggers you to compare yourself with others, you should learn how to block out the noise. A prime example is social media. We’re constantly bombarded with fitness models on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If this causes you to question your self-worth, then unfollow these posts. If you’re not sure what triggers you, start noticing situations that cause you to start playing the comparison game. Maybe it’s looking through a magazine, or going shopping for clothes, or when you eat out, or when you exercise. Whatever it is, when you increase your awareness, you’ll be in a better position to change your situation.
Compare yourself…with yourself
The only one you should compare yourself to is you. Check in with the person you were 12 months ago, 6 months ago, 3 months ago. What have you changed? What have you improved? What progress have you made? When you focus on your own journey and the achievements you make, you’ll see that you’re heading in the right direction, and you’ll be less tempted to look at what others are doing.
Celebrate your wins
While we’re talking about achievements, take the time to celebrate yours. Celebrating progress and being proud of your achievements is an important part of your weight loss journey. Little wins add up to big progress and will motivate you to keep going. And when you’re motivated to continue, you’ll find you’ll spend more time working on yourself and your own weight loss journey, and less time focused on other people.
Use it as inspiration
Instead of comparing yourself with someone who is where you want to be, and complaining that it’s not fair that you’re not there, ask yourself what you can learn from that person. Instead of comparing and being jealous of them, humble yourself to ask for help. While the journey to permanent weight loss is different for all, everyone needs to master the same habits. Speaking to someone who has mastered a habit that you’re currently working on may just help you to master it that little bit quicker.
Change your habit loop
At the end of the day, comparing yourself to others is a habit that you need to overcome. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, the only way to overcome your habit is to understand the habit loop.
It’s a 3-step process that involves a cue or trigger. This leads to a routine — the behaviour that we automatically engage in without even thinking about. This results in a reward of some kind, which keeps us engaging in the habit over and over again.
In the case of comparing yourself with others, the key to overcoming this habit is to change your routine.
For example, you might begin comparing yourself to others when you see a person shopping for clothes. This is the trigger.
The routine is to compare yourself with them, justifying that person’s success is due to luck (e.g. they’re young, they don’t have kids, they’ve never struggled with their weight, etc.), rather than hard work.
The reward in this situation is feeling good about yourself, because you don’t have to face the reality that you’re not putting in the work.
To change this habit of comparing, you simply change the routine. In this case, when you see someone else shopping for clothes, reflect on how far you’ve come instead of comparing yourself to them. This will avoid the negative feelings associated with comparing yourself to other people, yet still provide you with the same reward — feeling good about yourself because you’re working towards your goal and you’ve already made progress.
Embark on your own journey
At Imani Tribe, we help people focus on their own journey to lose weight and keep it off. We develop personalised plans for each of our members to help them work through the habits (including comparing themselves to other people), that have prevented them from achieving long-term weight loss. We do this by providing them with structure and accountability, along with the tools and support they need, to master new habits. Are you ready to join us?