Social media is fantastic for some things. Keeping us in contact with each other, allowing us to be inspired by each other’s achievements, and it provides some absolutely cracking cat memes.


But for all the benefits, the drawbacks are huge. In this article I want to focus on one trap that so many people fall into in regards to training every single day.


The Trap

Most people set their fitness goals based around what everyone else wants to achieve – or look like they’re already achieving on social media.


This is one of the reasons bodybuilding/physique shows are so popular – people see others posting their show photos online and think that’s what they should be doing too. Forgetting entirely what they actually WANT to achieve.


It happens in other areas of life, too.


At my age, lots of my peers/people I went to school with are settling down, getting married, having kids. And the ones that aren’t doing that are mainly all travelling the world. It seems like there’s two life paths and if you don’t fall into either one of those you just don’t fit into society very well.


That’s why it’s so tempting to view those things as ‘success’ in life. And it’s very easy to feel like if you’re not raising a family or travelling the world you’re not succeeding. But here’s the thing: Success is subjective.


The definition of success is different for each of us. If the goal is to bank a million pounds – then success would be banking a million pounds. However if the goal is to raise a family, then the definition of success completely changes. You might not have a pot to piss in and have no money in the bank but a healthy, happy family, and consider yourself successful. The issue comes when you then measure yourself against the millionaire and feel like you’re failing. You’re not failing – you just have a different goal.


The same is true in a fitness setting.


You don’t need to have the goal of competing, being a fitness model or having a certain celebrity’s physique. You aren’t them, you don’t have their goals.


Your goals are YOUR goals. And when training for them, whether they’re fitness, running, swimming, cycling, bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, sports specific, generally losing a few lbs or stacking on some muscle mass they should be the only thing that matters to you and you should be razor focused on achieving success for THAT goal.


The Trick

We’re always going to be bombarded with success of every type and from every setting on social media. That’s the nature of social media – it’s a highlight reel. No one wants to share their failures.


The trick is to not associate yourself and your own goals with what you’re seeing online. No matter who you’re looking at or what they’re portraying they aren’t YOU. They don’t have your goals, they aren’t on your journey. Comparing yourself against this random person online is completely useless and self destructive.


The only self comparison you should indulge in is comparing yourself against your previous self. That’s the only way you’ll truly see if you’re progressing, regressing or standing still. Are you closer to your goal than you were this time last year? Last month? Last week?


If your goal is to build the best physique you can, year on year you should be improving the way your body looks. There are sub goals that can come into this in terms of strength, fitness and endurance but ultimately the goal is a visual one. So comparing yourself against someone that’s deadlifting a bunch of weight on social media is ridiculous. Your goal isn’t to deadlift a bunch of weight, it’s improve your physique.


As cliché as this sounds – it really is simply you versus you. Your current self versus your previous self, every time you step in the gym, go for a run, get out of bed. Whatever it is you have to do to get closer to your goal. Beat the man or woman you were yesterday and you’ll move in the right direction.


Hope that was useful


Andy Clements


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