Reminder: life is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s highlight reel. Real life looks a lot different with a filter and a couple quotes or hashtags attached to it!
I’ve touched on this in various posts before but was talking with a friend this past weekend about where she’s at versus where she wants to be fitness-wise, and as she’s not the first person to bring it up recently, it seems a more direct entry about this topic is in order.
This woman is very put-together and successful, juggles a family, and a full-time career. She does various types of fitness classes each week, and yet she was saying how certain trainers, public figures, and other people she follows on social media in the fitness world actually discourage her from pursuing her own health goals. Yes- you read that correctly. She feels as though she doesn’t do enough or that she should somehow be keeping up better… and I totally get it.
We’ve all had that one way-too-competitive person in our lives before, right? Someone that cannot resist saying something about themselves in conversation. A person that takes selfies constantly or posts about how hard they work… they’re just EXTRA. Sometimes in an effort to motivate and inspire others, people actually do quite the opposite; they bombard us with how they’re “nailing it!” every day. Comparing ourselves to them just brings up feelings of jealousy, insecurity, or inadequacy.
Societally, we’ve seen an increase in our individual lack of self-esteem linked to social media, as it encourages unrealistic ideals. We’re flooded with other people’s highlight reels ALL the time! Images of the perfect body, vacations and travel, workouts during the day or at private gyms, images of perfect homes clean and put together with a designer’s eye. For many people, this can all seem out of reach or nearly impossible to achieve. I’m here to tell you that IT IS! Perfection in all aspects of life every day is NOT reality. Most people are working 40 hours or more a week. Their houses- and their lives- are messy sometimes! They don’t work in a gym with a flexible schedule where they can work out any time or have the luxury of meal services to keep their nutrition on track. The problem with social media is the stuff you DON’T see! Sometimes the bed is un-made and the fridge is bare, and your hair is a tangled mess for the third day in a row. AND THAT’S OKAY! We all juggle life. It’s perfectly imperfect. It can be chaotic. It can be trying. Sometimes we’re stressed out and sleep deprived- and sometimes seeing someone else’s post about how they’re doing these things with a smile on their face is… depressing. But what you don’t see is the real side of things. The part where these people complain, or where they have to makeup those bags under their eyes. The part when they stop sucking in or flexing for the camera. The picture of meal prep that didn’t go as planned. You can’t hear the baby screaming in the background while they’re “working from home.” Or see that jet-setting “public figure” spending entire days of their lives on layovers and sleeping in hotels, that their flights are delayed, or that the exotic beach picture they just put up is actually from two years ago!
Anyone and anything can look flawless through the internet. Remember that.
I got into this industry to help other people do it better, not because I know everything or because I personally always have it figured out and balanced 100% of the time! The majority of the time I look like I took a shower in my clothes after working out! (Which is part of why I’m not posting it to the internet- I’m not here to look cute, I’m here to SWEAT everything else away!) I “make it look easy” because I only have to demo one or two reps for you. For real! You’re human, and so am I- So cut yourself a break! This is life unfiltered. If you have a bad day of eating or you miss a workout, just get up the next day and try again. It’s not easy, and it’s not really supposed to be. No one has it all figured out, and we’re all on our own timelines. This journey is never ending and the only person you’re ultimately competing with is yourself. Making small sustainable changes as consistently as possible over time and trying to be the best version of YOU possible, is key to success.
Also, please- if you find yourself getting frustrated by some seemingly unattainable goal, it’s time to pick something different short term or find a different approach altogether. Your social media accounts should be edited much in the same way that your real-life relationships are. If you can look at these accounts with the idea that it’s not reality, and/or get something positive out of reading a person’s posts- if they inspire you in any way- then by all means continue to follow them. But this stuff shouldn’t derail your progress. You shouldn’t compare yourself to others to the point where it ruins your mindset. (See the post A Negative Mind Will Never Give You a Positive Result.) You wouldn’t maintain a friendship with someone that made you feel bad about yourself, so why are you “following” people online that give you that vibe? I encourage you to treat it the same way you would any other choice in life and heavily edit what you’re exposed to.