It can be a struggle, especially during this age of social media to not compare your achievements to others. I have recently taken up running, and it’s not the first time I have tried to take up this particular sport. I started last year and then stopped, and then 6 months ago and stopped. I never stuck with it for longer than a month. It is however, something that I really want to excel at. I managed to make my way up to running for 25 minutes straight. Now this was a huge achievement as I think back to the dreaded days in high school of having to run the 12 minute Cooper Test!
When I started running last year my goal was attain 12 minutes without stopping, even if that meant I had to walk. The first 6 minutes was going well until a neat, non-sweaty runner with the best gear came racing past. It is in that moment that I lost sight of my own goal and started to feel like a failure for not keeping the same pace as the individual that came hurtling past me. Then I stopped my thoughts wandering to why I wasn’t like them and thinking that I would never be that fast paced runner. I started to question my thoughts and say “of course you are not like them, why are you comparing yourself?”, “this is your first run in 2 years!” We cannot expect to be where someone else is straight away. It is so easy to think of what someone has achieved and think it was instant for them. The master of his art was at first an apprentice and we have to remember that. I don’t know how much training that runner has put in, all the hard work and dedication. They might have been running for years (I highly doubt it was their first run!). So tip Number One: Do not compare yourself to someone who is not at the same level that you are. It will just demotivate you to see your end goal in them without visualising the stages that you need to achieve to get there.
6 months ago I was running twice a week using the app Couch to 5K. It is great for building up and seeing your progress over the 9 weeks. I had obtained 25 minutes of straight running, and when I say running I really mean jogging slowly. I had purchased a Garmin running watch to help keep track of my pace and see the distance. Now I’m sure that a lot of people can relate to this next part. I thought that by purchasing the watch and just looking at the watch every day that it would give me a newfound motivation to go out running more. It didn’t. I simply used it as a normal watch. Then Christmas came around and I forgot all about running, using all the excuses that we do during the holidays. So tip Number 2: Simply buying the fancy equipment will not make you achieve anything. I have known more people achieving more with just what they have than the ones that spend a lot of money thinking it will motivate them. In addition, set small goals for yourself. I would recommend looking at the Couch to 5K app (even if your goal is not to run) to see the stages that they set out to achieve the overall goal. It is a great tool to see that starting off small and building up is much more productive than going all out.
That brings us to this month’s attempt at running. I am not going to lie; I haven’t really taken my own advice about not comparing myself. It seems that everyone on my social media is now running 5Ks from the couch (I need to refer to my first tip here). I woke up yesterday determined to run 5K so that I could donate my £5 to help a good cause. Alas I only managed 2K before I had to take a break and walk a few laps around the park. It left me feeling frustrated. I really wanted to achieve my 5K goal. It was however, a very unrealistic goal, not SMART at all. I felt annoyed at my lack of 5K that I forgot to celebrate the 2K that I did achieve. So the Final Tip: Remember to celebrate all of your achievements, no matter how small as they will help you to achieve your overall goals. And do not set unrealistic goals; it never really works out well.
When everyone else seems to be winning and achieving the goals that you have set, remember that you will get there and recall why you started. Never compare your inside to someone else’s outside! You just aren’t at the same stage as they are but you will achieve it even if it takes some time (hopefully without spending hundreds of pounds on a new watch).
Making Steps and Leaving Footprints…
(The thoughts expressed in this blog are my own and do not represent the views of my employer