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Why You Need To Stop Comparing Yourself To, Well, Yourself

We’ve all seen the mantra or meme saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and in this age of constant over-sharing, it’s so very hard not to compare. However, how about that little voice in your head telling you how much slower, weaker and less motivated you are? Whose voice is that anyway? If you’re constantly comparing yourself to yourself, you’re guilty of stealing your own joy.

Here’s how to get it back:

DON’T KEEP A JOURNAL

That’s right. Forget everything you know or have read about bullet journaling or buying that trendy bound diary to log each and every run. If you have no idea how long or far or fast you ran last month, you have nothing to compare it to. Don’t knock it until you try it.

HAVE SHORT-TERM MEMORY

We all have the unforgettable personal record (PR) race where everything goes exactly right and you feel like you flew to the finish. Now, think about all the training runs that led up to that moment. Did they all go spectacularly well or were there some spectacular failures? Of course you had some horrible runs along the way to that PR but, on that day, none of them mattered. Or, perhaps because of the bad ones, that day mattered more.

Any way you slice it, you need to have a short term memory when running and training. Forget about what happened yesterday, don’t think about what may happen tomorrow and just do your best today.

SET DIFFERENT GOALS

If you have nothing to compare it to, you automatically get a PR. Try planning your runs based on time rather than distance. Race a distance you have never done or simply go out and run for fun, speeding up or slowing down, when it feels right. For at least one day, let your goal be to just run.

COMPARE YOURSELF TO THE RIGHT SELF

Remember a time when you didn’t run at all? What would that person think about the one who is running today? Stop and appreciate all that you have accomplished instead of focusing on what you have not.

None of us knows what the future holds. What if you suddenly could never run again? You would most likely sacrifice anything to run, even if it meant at the slowest possible pace for the shortest distance. Be grateful for who you are, and what you are capable of right now in this moment, and stop robbing yourself of what is support to be something joyful.

Allie Burdick

Allie Burdick

Allie is a freelance writer, athlete and mom, but not in that order. Her work has appeared in Runner's World, Triathlon Magazine and ESPNW. On her blog, VITA Train for Life, she chronicles her life as a runner/triathlete and hopes her successes and failures help to motivate and inspire others, even the over-40 crowd she somehow found herself in! The rest of her time is spent raising her twin boys with her husband in the Northeast where they live a big life! See it all on Twitter and Instagram.