One of my goals for the future is to eliminate the word “jealous” from my vocabulary. I had never put a lot of weight on this word and probably use the word 1-2 times daily without thought. The other day, it finally struck me at how ridiculous it sounds.
Oxford Dictionary defines “jealous” as “feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages”. An example: “He grew jealous of her success.”
My epiphany happened when I watched a video of two people who had completed 100 pushups a day for 365 days. My first thought was “cool” and my second thought was “I’m jealous.” I wasn’t jealous of the fact they could do 100 pushups. I was jealous that they made the effort and commitment to do it every single day for a year.
But this effort and commitment is not an “advantage”. Not taking anything away from them. It is awesome that they did this and Ī’m glad they decided to share. My point is: anyone can put in effort and commitment. It’s not a magical power. We forget this all the time. We think someone is naturally gifted with more time than us, more drive than us, more commitment, more motivation, more advantages. We are all different. We all come from different backgrounds, different experiences, different struggles, different accomplishments, and that’s what makes us unique. However, none of us are incapable of bettering ourselves and making better choices and better decisions as each second, minute, hour, day of our lives go by. We all have the same amount of time and we all get to choose what we do with it.
In this same thought, I also realized I don’t want to do 100 pushups every day for 365 days. It’s just not my goal and that’s okay too. I don’t have to have the same goals as other people and I don’t have to feel any guilt or regret for not having those same goals. However, it is important that I have the same effort and commitment to my own goals, whatever they may be.
I think humans naturally compare themselves to others. They frequently wonder, “should I be doing what they’re doing?” and analyze, “why am I not as good at that as someone else?” It’s how we learn and how we, instinctively, decide what skills are useful for survival. It’s not a bad thing, but the problem comes when we spend more time “being jealous” or wondering why we don’t have the “advantages” that others have, than reflecting on what they’re doing and deciding whether it’s really important to us. We create such a long list of things that we think we’re supposed to be doing that we lose the energy to actually focus on the things we want to be doing.
We’re responsible for the choices we make and we’re responsible to motivate ourselves. If your goal is to lose weight, it does not matter if someone tells you to run 5 miles every morning, if we don’t have the drive or desire to do it, it’s not going to happen. Instead, ask that person to help you map out a plan and find the best way for you to start moving toward your goal in a way that works for you. Figuring out what you really want to do and how to get there is a process and it will change over time as you hone in on what’s important and what’s not, and as you make progress and changes. If you’re looking for a focus (a new habit, a new skill, a change of some kind) as we head into 2017, ask yourself these questions, write it down, map it out:
- What do I want to work on? What makes me say “I’m jealous”?
- Do I really want to work on this? Will I be happier in 1 month if I work on this every day?
- Why do I want to work on this? What will my life look like if I do work on this?
- What action (only 1) can I do today that will take me one step in the right direction?
- On a scale of 1-10, how confident am I that I can do this action every day for the next two weeks? If it’s less than a 9, go back to question 4 and keep backtracking to question 1 if necessary.
- How can I hold myself accountable? Am I more focused when someone knows what I’m working on? Am I more focused when I keep my goals a secret and work behind-the-scenes? How can I record the action each day (whether with a friend or alone)–journal, checklist, calendar?
If you’re planning to make a change, you’ll need to continue adding actions that you’re confident about and committed to doing everyday so continue to revisit the questions frequently and assess your progress. Having someone who can help you navigate through these questions and map out a plan can be helpful. Work hard, stay focused, and keep jealousy out of 2017.