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“I’ve felt a lot happier since I stopped comparing myself to other people,” commented someone recently in a Clubhouse room I was hosting on Tiny Habits and Worthiness.

This really piqued my interest. “I focus instead on comparing myself to my past self,” he continued. I’d heard this idea before; I was curious for more details on how he did this, but he didn’t really have any that he could explain. Then in another Clubhouse room I host on Tiny Habits and Confidence, a gym owner told me that he had master athletes who were constantly unhappy because they kept comparing themselves to their past self and their glory days when they were stronger, fitter and faster – so in this instance comparing yourself to a past self was a bad idea!


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We all REALLY need healthy ways to gauge whether we are making progress in our life where we are not comparing ourselves to other people. There will almost always be someone out there who is more accomplished, funnier, richer, better looking, younger, older, taller, more motivated or better known than you. And how does that make you feel? We change best when we feel good, not when we feel bad – the adage from BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits book.

There are entire books on how we fool ourselves about this all the time and get to the end of another year without having really improved much of anything (self-deception). Nor do we want to set ourselves up to feel bad by comparing ourselves to a past self if that is truly unattainable – my hair is not going to get less grey!

Since comparing ourselves to someone else is so toxic, notice even daily what you’re doing right to grow. And experiment with these questions as part of a monthly review:

1. “How did I progress this month with my…”
a) Business? What do you measure that is a generally fair comparison month to month?
b) Health? Did you make any positive changes to exercise, nutrition or sleep habits?
c) Key relationships? Partner; kids; feeling connected to others
d) Finances?

Use some metrics around these key foundational areas.
What can you prove? Looking at each area, did you really make any progress? If you had to testify to it in court, how would you demonstrate this progress?

You can also ask yourself:
What did I do right this month with my business, health etc.?
Sometimes progress is not evident in one month (sometimes even in one year). Consistency is often the biggest difference between good and great so noticing your consistency can be a big deal.

We often make no progress. Life throws unexpected events at us and sometimes keeping our heads above water is our best that month.

And we don’t have to progress in every area every month either.

2. “What changes do I want to make next month?”
STOP doing ‘a’
Do LESS ‘b’
KEEP doing ‘c’
Do MORE ‘d’
START doing ‘e’

3. “What did I learn this month?” “What skills did I improve?”
This can be a useful reminder about books you’ve read or listened to, courses you’ve taken – even life lessons you want to remember.

4. On a scale of 1-10 this month, how would I rate…?
In addition to the four key areas in point 1 above, I also like to keep tabs on these areas and sometimes this prompts me to add something to my STOP-LESS-KEEP-MORE-START list.
Self-Respect
Unique ability
Confidence
Purpose
Fun
Worthiness to reach my 3-year vision
Self-belief
Positively challenged
Comfortable in my own skin
Ability to recharge

Even if you only do points 1 and 2, you will keep much closer tabs on what you’re doing right and how to make slight adjustments as you go. It will help you keep your comparisons focused on your recent past self and what you can control and away from the social cancer of comparing yourself to others.

Don’t forget tiny habits! Play with wording for yourself along the lines of:
After I compare myself unfavorably,
I will compare myself only to my recent past self
Then celebrate.

After I compare myself unfavorably,
I will remind myself I do my best every day
Then celebrate.

After I compare myself unfavorably,
I will remind myself I am enough
Then celebrate.

All feedback welcome!
Matt Anderson
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International

1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121

matt-anderson.com


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