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Why You Should Only Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday in the Gym

July 16, 20193 min read

Why You Should Only Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday in the Gym

In the journey of personal fitness and self-improvement, it's easy to get caught in the trap of comparing our progress to others. Whether it's someone lifting heavier weights, running faster, or looking more toned, these comparisons can be a quick path to discouragement. However, borrowing from the wisdom of University of Toronto clinical psychologist Dr.Peterson, we find a much healthier perspective: "The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday." Let's explore why this philosophy is particularly vital in the context of the gym.


The Uniqueness of Individual Fitness Journeys

Each person’s fitness journey is as unique as their fingerprint. Various factors such as genetics, lifestyle, starting point, and personal goals make everyone's path to fitness distinct. When you compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter twenty, you overlook the many individual chapters filled with struggles, setbacks, and growth that they have faced. This is akin to comparing the speed of two different types of vehicles on different terrains; it doesn't provide a meaningful measure of performance.

The Analogy of the Seed and Soil

Imagine two seeds planted in different soils under different conditions. One might sprout quickly due to optimal conditions while the other takes a bit longer because of harsher soil. Comparing these two without context would be unfair and unproductive. Similarly, each gym-goer is like a seed growing in their own specific conditions. Some might progress quickly, while others, facing different challenges, might take more time. The focus should be on nurturing your growth, regardless of how others are doing.


Focusing on Personal Growth

Focusing on being better than you were yesterday puts the emphasis back on personal development. It’s about continuous self-improvement, not beating someone else's record. This approach helps you recognize your small wins and incremental improvements that accumulate over time. For instance, if yesterday you managed to lift 20 pounds, aiming for 21 pounds today is a step forward, albeit small, but significant in your fitness story.

The Role of Consistency

Consistency is the key to progress in any fitness regimen. By comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, you focus more on consistency rather than sporadic bursts of extreme effort. This is much like watering a plant regularly rather than flooding it occasionally and hoping for the best. Regular, consistent efforts ensure steady growth and help in building long-lasting habits.

Overcoming the Comparison Trap

The gym should be a place of personal empowerment, not a battleground for comparison. When you start focusing solely on your progress, your mind frees from the unproductive cycle of comparison, allowing you to enjoy your workouts more and be truly present. It transforms your gym experience from a competitive arena into a nurturing space for personal growth.

The Rewards of Self-Comparison

When you only compare yourself to your past self, every gym session becomes an opportunity to beat your personal best. This doesn’t just improve your physical abilities, but also boosts your confidence and self-esteem. It turns the gym into a laboratory where you experiment, learn, and refine your abilities under your terms.

Remember, the gym mirrors life in many ways; it's not about being the best among others, but about being better than you used to be. Keep the focus on your personal goals, embrace your pace, and let every workout strengthen not just your body, but your self-respect and personal fulfillment. Strive to be a better version of yourself each day, and soon, you'll be amazed at how far you've come.

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