I have friends that are runners. They run 5k's, 10k's, half marathons or just regularly. That is NOT me (yet....I reserve the right to say maybe someday...yes, I also have a very optimistic streak). I have friends that walk/run faster than I do. I have friends that burn what seems like a zillion calories in a day from exercising in some form or another - they go harder or longer than I do. I know that I am not at the same level as some of my peers. I am just starting out on exercising and I will not be able to run a marathon tomorrow.
That said, I do want to push myself and keep making improvements. So I have recently realized,and perhaps more importantly, accepted that the only person I can compare myself to is ME. My goal is to make each day a little better, a little stronger, a little faster than my last. And I have realized through this that I do my best work when I am pushing and challenging myself.
So rather than compare myself to others and getting depressed about how I am not stacking up and comparing to others, I have chosen to compete with me, myself and I. I try really hard not to, and think I do pretty well with not comparing myself to others. I am built different than others, I have a different body chemistry than others, I have different motivation than others....we are just not the same! What motivates me is different. What works for me is different. So what good would it do me to compare myself to them? In my opinion, that just leaves me feeling inadequate and ready to dive face-first into a plate of highly caloric foods. I really don't need that now.
So you might be wondering how I manage to compete with myself. Good question! Each day I push myself to work out longer, farther, faster, harder than I did before. I started out not being able to even make it 5 minutes on the elliptical the first time I tried it. But I timed myself and the next time I worked out on it, I wanted to make sure I was going longer than I did before. And the next thing you know, I was up to 45 minutes on it in no time (less than a month).
If I worked out 200 minutes last week, this week I want to work out for 210 minutes. If I burned 235 calories the last time I did 3 miles on the treadmill, the next time I want to burn 240. I have started doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred video....when I started, I was stopping often. The jumping jacks kicked my @$$! Now I am able to get through the first set of cardio (jumping jacks and jump rope 2x's each) without stopping. I am working on being able to get through all of level one without stopping at all!
I have been monitoring my time on the treadmill. I started out at a 3.0 pace and would increase my speed every 5 minutes. At the end of my workout I log how long I go and how far I go to get an average pace for my workout. My goal is to continue to improve and beat my best pace. Now I am able to start out a workout going 3.3 or 3.4 mph, to increase my speed more often than 5 min, to last longer on the higher speeds, and increase my overall pace. So I continue to beat myself and my previous achievements. YAY ME!!!
I have even started doing this with jogging....I started off going 1 minute, the next time 2 minutes, the next time 3...and so on. I keep hoping that one of these days I could actually turn into a "runner". Ha, ha, but a girl can dream, can't she!
I do this with all aspects of this journey - exercise minutes, calories burned, weight (always hoping to see a new "low" number on the scale), clothing size, inches...etc. Always striving to beat my personal best IN SOME WAY. Having more options keeps it easier to have more frequent success here, which leads me to be in a more constant positive state of mind and able to continue to push forward.
So I encourage you to choose to compete only with yourself. Don't get down on yourself because you are losing as fast as someone else, aren't the same size that someone else is, aren't doing the same workout that someone else is, aren't running as far or as fast as someone else. Chose to beat your own best. Then be sure to acknowledge, accept and celebrate each victory! You have earned it!!!
This post has been percolating in my head for a while now. In fact, I started drafting it weeks ago! I am thrilled that I could spend some quiet "mommy time" on my mini-vacay to get it completely out on paper and share it with all of you (even if it is super duper late....or early depending on how you read the clock). I think some of my peeps have been struggling with this one lately, so totally worth it!!!
I would LOVE to hear back from you on what your personal victories are! :o)
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