I’ve been thinking and talking a lot lately about how my goals this year have changed. My fitness lifestyle has shifted, and I have struggled a smidge to find my place and passion again. Through all of it, the biggest thing I have come to realize is that I was getting caught up in being better. Faster. Stronger. Stacking up to someone else on the road or in the gym. And then it dawned on me…
What the hell does that even mean? But think about it. In the fast-paced, competitive world we live in, it’s virtually impossible not to strive for “better.” Someone or something is always telling us, directly or indirectly, that we can do “better.”
The professional world is cutthroat, even if you have the most amazing job you could ever imagine. (Ahem, I have my dream job, and fight every day to gain exposure as a company and attract clients.)
The personal world is ruthless, judging young and old based on everything from their mate to their purse and car. (Ahem, maybe I like vintage.)
The family world is equally competitive, parents and children edging each other out with fancier toys, higher test scores, and more expensive colleges. (Ahem, do those kiddos complete their own science projects anymore? Or ever go home with less than three hours of homework?)
The active world is ridiculously aggressive, with such a small sliver of folks participating for enjoyment they’re practically shamed. (Ahem, “So did you qualify for Boston?”)
I recognize that it’s difficult not to get over-involved in this part of our culture. We all have things we can improve upon in our lives.
But do those things have to be constantly compared to someone else?
We have to separate our “enough,” “better,” and “best,” from everyone else’s. It’s not the same. We’re not comparing apples to apples. Legs to legs. Or hearts to hearts.
Piece it all out. One example: Am I running this 5k shooting for an age group award? And will I feel bad about myself if I don’t place? Will I take a step back to find out that the people who did place were lifetime athletes and ran cross country in college? Or will I chalk it all up to my supposed lack of abilities and make it just another reason to bash myself?
Come on, guys, this isn’t “better.”
Circling back around, I’m happy now in doing what I know I can do, and what I want to do, at this particular point in time. Sure, I’m not at my fastest right now. But when I decide to make my running comeback, you better believe I will be, specific to my goals. I’m also not super strong or lean, and some might say the weights I’m lifting are a joke. But hey, they’re no joke to my quads! No matter what I’m doing, I’m making myself better, and to my standards alone.
Take just one thing from all this: Live by your standards. Do you. For you. Because that surpasses “better.” In fact, it’s the best.
Have you spent time caught up in other people’s standards? How do you deal?