This morning my eyes opened prior to my alarm going off. This happens 1-2 times a week. It’s rare because I generally close at work and then force myself to wake up at an absurd hour to get my work out in and my writing done the next morning.
After spending a good 15 to 20 minutes procrastinating on social media sites, I finally rolled out of bed. It was a mild 44 degrees outside. Not too bad for a winter’s day in January. Checking the weather tends to be one of the first things I do in the morning. Mostly because it will determine how the next hour or so of my life will go. I will either go for a run or ride my bike, followed by some type of strength training.
I bundled up. Long socks, pants, down vest, beanie, gloves and prepared to brave the cold for a 3 mile run.
As I am stretching and getting ready to head out, my sister texts me. It’s pictures of triathlon outfits for her upcoming Iron Man. She’s been training hard. I try to keep up to give her some company, but she is beginning to outpace me in her activities now. She’s a machine.
After telling her to stick with the unitard (because when do you ever get to tell somebody that), I inform her that I am heading out on my “measly 3 mile run.” (She’s been running 7-12 miles multiple times a week for her training). Before I put my phone away, the screen lit up one last time. “Change your vocabulary!” she said.
My sister is on a positivity kick. Which is not a bad idea for somebody training for an Iron Man. I tend to be pretty positive, myself. I’d probably describe it as one of my defining attributes. But we can’t always be perfect.
I attempted to justify my negative tone by using comparison to her current training regime.
Then I took off.
It was windy and cold but after my first 5-10 minutes in, I felt great. I only passed by two other people out exercising. This might be normal for somebody like my Dad who literally lives in the middle of the woods. But I live in a Master Planned community. A very active one, I might add. Strollers, bikes and doggies abound. So at nearly 8AM, with almost nobody else outdoors, I felt pretty good about not only my measly 3 miles, but just getting out of the house when most others chose to stay inside.
My sister’s phrase stuck with me. And I had a couple of realizations while I was out on my run.
- We don’t give ourselves enough credit. This can often lead to then convincing ourselves that some things just aren’t worth it. I could have said, “3 measly miles is pointless. I’m just going to stay in my warm bed today.” And let that be it. No forward progress. But the truth is, regardless of the actual distance, I am consistent. Which I probably don’t give myself enough credit for. Sure its only 3 miles, but 3 miles 3-5 times a week, consistently for 5 years is a pretty solid accomplishment. I’m confident there are many things in our lives that we don’t give ourselves enough credit for. A big reason for that is my next point.
- Comparison. If we compare ourselves to others, there is always somebody else we will fall short next to. What does that mean, you might ask? It’s likely there is always somebody out there who might be better than us (unless you hold some world record and in that case, good for you). So we can attempt to hold ourselves to somebody else’s unrealistic standards (for us) OR we can set our own standards, achieve them, and feel great about it. And then continue to compete with ourself.
We need to change our internal dialogue. To one that is affirming. One that tells us we can and we are worth it. Not just with exercise but with goals and aspirations. And then celebrate ourselves when we accomplish something we set out to do. Reward your hard work, determination and follow-through. Don’t waste your time, energy or brain power on comparison. It’s futile. The best musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and doctors did not get there overnight or by comparison, but through determination and practice. Consistency over time and something else very important.
Belief in themselves. Belief in their abilities. Belief that nobody else was going to do the work them. Most importantly, belief that it is worth it.
So get out there. Stop comparing yourself. Give yourself more credit.
Change your vocabulary.