When you’re working on doing great things (and I know you are), it can be tempting to look around you and see what other people are doing. It’s great to see what’s possible and have an idea of the kind of success you’re looking to achieve.
The problem is that spending too much time looking at other people’s successes can quickly spiral out of control if we’re not careful.
We go from thinking, “Oh, I’d like to do that too!” or “She’s doing great things!” to “She has it all figured out. I’m just a hot mess. I’ll never get to where she is.” or “It’s not fair! Why is it so hard for me to get traction?” And before we know it, we get trapped in compare and despair mode.
The comparison game makes us feel incompetent and insignificant.
It turbo-charges our negative self-talk, and leaves us feeling like we have certain fundamental flaws that are preventing us from being successful. Instead of focusing on our journey and what we need to do to reach our goals, we concentrate on other people’s journeys and successes, which leads to procrastination, self-doubt, and finally quitting.
I’m willing to bet that everyone has had a bout of the comparison bug at one point or another. It’s part of being human. We are social creatures who rely on comparisons to make decisions and judgments that enable us to find our places in society.
Nobody is entirely immune to comparison, but successful people are able to put things in perspective and bring their focus back to themselves.
Here are 5 things to do when the comparison bug strikes:
- Make a list of your strengths and positive attributes. Don’t forget there will always be people who struggle with things that are second nature to you, so make sure you include everything – things you do well, things you find easy, and things you think everyone can do. Think about how these strengths and attributes can help you reach your goal. Be sure to store this list in your phone or trusty journal. You might even want to create a wall poster as an inspirational reminder.
- Create a victory log to keep track of your accomplishments. Be sure to record all your achievements and all of the tasks you successfully complete, no matter how big or small they may seem.
- Identify your triggers and avoid them. If you find yourself falling into the comparison trap and feeling bad about yourself when you look at a certain someone’s so-called perfect life on Instagram or Facebook, STOP looking at that person’s account. Stop following the account or block it if you need to.
- Reframe the negative comparison into a positive inspiration. Ask yourself what you can learn from them that applies to your situation? What are some steps they took when they were at your stage? What do they do to maintain momentum and keep motivated and productive?
- Compare your current self with your past self. Create a system to track your progress. Include the accomplishments listed in you victory log, but also think about your progress on a deeper level. How have you grown as a person? What challenges have you overcome? what do you know about yourself that you didn’t know before? What are you able to do now that you couldn’t do before? Write down your observations in a journal, and read over your entries whenever the comparison bug is bringing you down.