Starting back with a workout routine can be one of the most rejuvenating experiences, but it can also be an extraordinarily demotivating one.
I've often spoken about the dangers of comparison to others and how this can impact our relationship with progress, but i've seldom discussed external comparisons little brother.
Internal comparison. Or comparison to self.
We all have benchmarks and standards by which we hold ourselves (and in self help circles this would be considered a good thing) but when restarting a workout regime, the realisation of how far from your personal peak you are can do more harm than good.
Whilst some feel the fuels burning bright when the realisations hit, an equal, if not higher number, feel overwhelmed by this newfound cognisance.
In some ways it is easier to accept your differences with others than it is to accept a failure to live up to personal expectations, which, by virtue of being distinctly particular to self, are within reach.
If we don't run as fast as Usain Bolt, dance like Fred Astaire or sing like Aretha Franklin, its pretty easy to explain this away. In fact, everything on the scale of comparison to others can provide a logical explanation when we look through the clouds and into the blue skies beyond.
Far more complex and infinitely less easy to explain, is why we don't achieve our own personal best?
How do we square something off that we inherently know to be a circle?
We need to let go of where we are of course, but also let go of where we are going. Bringing the focus on to what we are DOING...
There is certainly a place for holding ones self up against personal expectation. Without it we can not have ambition, aspiration or progress.
Therefore, judgement of self is far better confined to the actions of TODAY, than to the circumstances that may or may not have been created by the actions of YESTERDAY or to the perceptions of where we believe we should be TOMORROW!
Did you workout TODAY?
Did you eat healthily TODAY?
Did you drink plenty of water TODAY?
You're a winner! You win. You WON!
Forget the scales and the tape measure, forget your V02 max or how many push ups you can do.
Its is the ACTIONS you took (from a health perspective) TODAY that are the actions of a champ! That person is somebody to be proud of.
The very actions you took today WILL ensure you reach the pinnacles of YOUR personal health. However that may look.
Keep on keeping on.