Google tells me that it was Theodore Roosevelt who coined the phrase “Comparison is the thief of joy”. This is a favorite quote of mine because it just simply strikes the right chord with me and coincides with my approach to running.
The actions of others on the track, trails or roads really don’t have anything to do with another individual runner. While there are exceptions such as relays and track or cross country teams, many of us run individually in most races. As an individual sport, comparing ourselves to someone else can be truly detrimental to our own progress and in turn can reduce our joy because we are constantly taking ourselves down a notch because “They ran a faster time than me”. When another athlete runs an awesome race, pat them on the back and definitely congratulate them but try to avoid the comparison spiral.
We all have different circumstances, training availability, nutrition know how and are ultimately a lot more like ourselves than anyone else and it is easy to say “This is easy, just do what I do”. Well, that’s not necessarily realistic. For me, the important thing is doing what is reasonable given my situation. I don’t say this as a means to create excuses but as a response to the concept that fitness, health and nutrition are simply “easy”.
What I promote is making health a priority. When our bodies are in a better condition, it is easier to fulfill all of our duties as parents (of which I am not), spouses (of which I am not), students, employees, grandparents, friends, community servers or pet parents. As well, many of these roles we play can be incorporated into a health program that includes activity and good nutrition. Doing what you can do is met with nothing but respect from me.
With the theme of the title, working towards any fitness and health goal should be recognized and don’t let anyone’s criticism make you think “Well, they’re right”. That can harbor an attitude of “What’s the point?” and becomes detrimental to success. Don’t let anyone take your joy away and don’t take it away from yourself through comparison.