Competition usually refers to two or more people but when you’re competing against yourself, you are still creating a contest, a game or a goal to succeed or to win. And you are the winner!
For a mindset of competing against yourself, setting goals is the key. And comparing where you’ve come from to where you are or will be should encourage you and motivate you to reach your target.
Illustrations can be taken from sports. Runners or bikers work to beat their previous time on a race. For musicians, performing a piece or technical exercise at a higher level which could be faster and more accurate or with more dynamics is the goal. In business, it could be beating the sales goals you had in the previous month or even year.
The important element is not to get down on yourself for not doing more. But it’s to set the type of goals that will encourage your personal sense of competition for something you are doing for yourself. (free download: Goal Setting Worksheets)
What About Trophies?
Trophies have very short-term value. They gather dust, and many times their significance is even discounted at some future date. But having the spirit of self-competition keeps you fresh with a healthy perspective that the competition is realistic and obtainable because you are setting the guidelines.
So how do you set those guidelines? I’ve got some ideas for you! When you’re thinking about competition, you do want to think about where you eventually want to be. That can be in a year, in five years, or even ten years for some. But pick one thing first and focus on a year from now.
The three principles here will apply to most any area, but I’m going to use getting in shape. I feel this is especially relevant after we’ve spent a lot of time in isolation with COVID-19. Many local gyms are still closed with some just opening up as I am writing this. A little competing against yourself may just help you move forward! Our three principles are setting a goal, giving yourself a reward and creating a new habit.
One: Set a Goal for One Year from Now
I just read a statistic from Kathy Weber, M.D., an assistant professor of sports medicine at Rush University Medical Center, that gaining an extra ten pounds adds forty pounds of pressure on your weight-bearing joints,* especially your knees and hips. Even though I’ve continued walking, I’ve gained a few extra pounds. You may be in the same boat. Walking hasn’t pushed me like my cycle classes and regular gym workouts have. (see: How the Spirit of Competition can help us Regroup, Reinvent & Restart)
So here’s where that spirit of competition comes in. As we go back to the definition of creating a contest, a game or a goal to succeed or to win, that sort of spirit may help you bump up your workouts and even change your diet. After you get through the tough part of starting, the result will be feeling better, guaranteed! But you have to go through the process.
Two: Give Yourself a Reward
What reward will you give yourself for regularly working out harder for a certain period of time? A reward has the power to be very motivational. Don’t think about weight. Just create a new habit that will get you to your goal and create some sort of prize for yourself after accomplishing your goal. ( see: Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear)
You can’t lose weight by just exercising without watching the amount and type of calories you are ingesting. I’ve never been one for exact counting and you may not either! But I can tell if I’ve over-done it. There are a multitude of programs available to help you in this area. Pick one and create a new healthy eating habit.
Make this a very short-term goal, then create another short-term goal. Applying your exercise routine, this could be doing subsequent harder workouts. And for your diet, just sticking to it could bring a reward! But be careful with splurges! We all know about binging and how they can get out of hand!
The main thing to remember is that you can create very small steps with small rewards. Enjoy them, but don’t forget to set another small goal to move forward. You can even create a game board for yourself! Move yourself up every time you get to another level or accomplish another goal. And maybe move yourself back if you don’t! (Download this FREE Goals Game Board)
Three: Create a New Habit
I’d like emphasize the importance of good habits, or rituals, here. In the area of eating, there’s the probability of yo-yo-dieting, gaining back all the weight and more after you’ve reached your goal. A true competitor wants to stay in shape not only for the game but in-between the games.
This same thing applies to business. With so many pivoting and restarting after a pandemic, creating a small goal to see what is working and what isn’t will help you build on what is working. (we cover this in A New Way of Doing Business Course) This is invaluable for many right now and it will help you develop and keep a healthy mindset, especially if discouraged and not knowing what to do next. You have to take little steps and see what’s working.
It’s really amazing how success builds on success. In fitness when you start out of breath, then after a period of time find you can regulate your breathing, that’s a huge step in the right direction and it feels wonderful. But it only will happen if you push forward with the steps that will help you get there.
Summing This Up
A little competition with yourself with a fun reward that you create could do the trick to get you going again! Create a goal, give yourself a prize and implement a good habit that will bring about positive change and transformation. I am finding what people need most is inspiration and encouragement right now. I hope this has inspired and encouraged you to stay positive, to grow, reinvent or even restart with a little fun competing against yourself!
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