By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
Instagram recently announced that it would be experimenting with hiding likes on photos and view counts on videos in certain regions of the world. The move has stirred up a lot of controversies. One side hates the idea, while the other is celebrating it as a change that may just save this generation. The latter group argues that Instagram has turned into a popularity contest. It started as a platform to share awesome moments with friends. Now, it hacks our brains to chase likes instead of inspiring content. This craving for likes has affected our mental health and made Instagram more of a competition. Don’t base your self-worth on a virtual competition. Instead, try a little fitness motivation to get those dopamine hits the healthy way.
Major executives of companies like Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter have shared similar sentiments. As a fitness professional, I see the negative impact that comparison can have. When you are on a path of self-improvement, it can be hard scrolling through your feed. In so doing, you might think that everyone else is further along the path than you are. If you have ever felt this way, trust me, you are not alone. The wellness space at times can become saturated with photoshopped perfection. These opportune angles, and well-meaning success stories can lead people to question their own journeys instead of being uplifted.
There is no way to hide like counts when it comes to enhancing your fitness. However, it’s important to understand how to put on blinders and focus on your own progress when improving your health. If this is something that you have struggled with in any fashion, it’s so important to understand that you are incomprehensibly unique. And while having some fitspo can be helpful, everyone’s path is different. Here are 3 ways to keep your eyes on your own prize in order to maximize your results.
There are two truths that have been highly instrumental in my life. First, your environment can make or break you. Second, the things that we focus on tend to amplify themselves. The same concepts apply when it comes to the information that you choose to digest in the wellness space.
You may not be aware of it currently, but your social media feed may not be a happy place for you. If you are following celebrities, social influencers, or friends who post content that hinder your growth, make you anxious, or make you upset, then it’s totally within your power (and right) to unfollow them. If there are certain triggers that initiate rabbit holes of comparison, then you need to consciously set yourself up for success. This can be a tough ask, but it can also lift a heavy weight off your chest.
Instead of existing in a toxic environment, replace these sources of negativity with individuals and brands that encourage you, put you in a happy place mentally, and help you to foster love for your current body. Fitness journeys are long processes that do not occur overnight. It’s really important that you fall in love with the process and enjoy who you are now. From this place of love, you will stumble into an abundance of results and get the body that you want. If your journey has been miserable, then you are doing it all wrong. In addition to comparison, check out these other 5 common fitness mistakes people make that don’t allow them to enjoy their journey.
Numbers can serve as amazing starting points to get our fitness GPS going, but they may not be the best tools to keep us in motion. Maybe your goal is to be a size 4, run a sub 3 hour marathon, or squat 350lbs. Possibly you chose these metrics because they allow you to stack yourself up against someone else, or maybe you choose them more arbitrarily.
The truth is, we don’t have any control over results, only our actions. How your body specifically responds to nutrition and training protocol may be completely different than the way someone else’s body reacts to the same exact regimen. This can be psychologically devastating when you are putting in a ton of work and the results aren’t coming as fast as you expected.
For some people, these goals may be highly achievable, while others may find the process much more demoralizing. As opposed to focusing on outcome-based goals, it’s important to throw in a mix of process-based goals as well. These are the habits that we have direct control over to get us stronger, leaner, faster, etc. For example, instead of just saying you want to lose 5% body fat, your goal may be to get to the gym 4x this week or to take Sunday and Monday to meal prep. These are the exact systems that eventually can lead to the desired outcome. Looking at your goals in this aspect can shift your mindset away from comparing your journey to that of others to dialing in on your own individual successes.
Motivational quotes, 6 pack abs, and impressive glutes can all get you started. But eventually the inspiration from these sources can fade away when things get tough. Don’t scroll and look to get pumped up by the people around you. Instead, I challenge you to look in the mirror and find encouragement by putting things into perspective in your own life. We live in a world that is filled with false perfection. Consequently, it can be easy to get into a negative headspace about ourselves. Don’t focus on everything that you want to change about your body. Instead, focus on everything you’ve been through in your journey. These include the things you have overcome, and what you are grateful for. By keeping a simple, daily gratitude journal, you can easily shift your mindset from comparison and doubt to appreciation and dominance.
These 3 prompts will take you only 5 minutes, but could completely change your life and outlook on your unique journey.
Are you are looking for something a little more organized to shift your mindset? If so, my favorite Gratitude journal is “The Five Minute Journal” by Intelligent Change. With over 1600 reviews and a 5-star rating on Amazon, My life is definitely not the only one that it has changed! Check it out here.