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Comparison is the Thief of Joy

The health and fitness world is full of comparison.

By Stuart Perry, Personal Trainer at Bangor

The health and fitness world is full of comparison and not just with new comers, it's actually more prevalent with experienced gym goers . A lot of the time it’s really damaging to our self-image and motivation and can rob us of the joy our own journey brings. So today were going to break down how to use comparison in the right way to help you rather then hinder you.

Generally, there are two types of comparison the first one is outcome comparison, this is where you see or hear about someone’s achievement or see how someone looks or how much they can lift or how far they can run and then immediately start to compare it to what your able to do, then judge yourself or that other person depending on those results. I have found this is the most damaging form of comparison as it generally only leads to negative thoughts or judgement with no real understanding of what it took that person to achieve that outcome or the sacrifices they made. This side of comparison I’m suggesting you avoid at all costs I believe it serves no benefit to you and will only lead to you thinking about your training in a me vs someone else perspective and you can’t control what someone else does. So if they are able or willing to sacrifice more then you and achieve a far better result that’s not something that you can control and to compare yourself to the end result is only seeing half the picture. Instead of a me vs me perspective where you have all the background on the process and are able to put into context the process surrounding every result you achieve making it easier to reflect on when and why things have gone well and when and why things have gone not so well.

So the second type of comparison is role model comparison and this is something that can be far more useful when is comes to achieving your goals. This is more idolizing traits and actions rather than comparing your end result with someone else’s. This type of comparison is a fantastic tool to understand the different levels of commitment and process that are involved in getting to the end outcome. To do this effectively you need to start with a self-assessment to find out where your current processes and barriers are so you can accurately gauge them against your role model of choice without taking into account your end result vs theirs this isn’t comparing what they have vs what you don’t this is simply following the principle that success leaves clues and if you find someone who you deem successful in an area you would like to be, making a healthy comparison on their process, time commitment and barriers is a very useful tool to guide your expectations on what that next level of achievement may take.

Remember the purpose of the exercise is to gain perspective of how someone is a position you would like to be does things different your aim is to gain new tools or processes to aid in achieving your goals. You may only look up to this person for one particular thing but if you can level up your game in this area from some healthy comparison with them then great this exercise has served its purpose. Because until we reach out in this way all we know is the way we have been taught which has got us this far but may not be the best way to get us any further.

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