I would say that in my life overall, I’m not a super competitive person. Well, at least outwardly. Of course, when I’m involved in an activity or when I played softball regularly, I did my best and tried to be successful. But I don’t think I’ve been way over the top, crazy, do anything to win. I do like to win, don’t get me wrong. But I suppose I have my limits as to how competitive I’m going to be.
Unless…….we’re talking about the competition I have with myself. Oh, no! I think I might have taken a turn to the dark side…..
Ok, the dark side might be a little too far. A bit dramatic. But I do have this bizarre competition with myself. I notice it in my daily life. I don’t think I have always seen it though. I would assume that I would have tried to curb this before it got out of hand. Dramatic again. It’s not really out of hand, but I see it.
Here is one of the places where I have noticed it. There are a few mindless games that I have downloaded onto my phone and I will play them at night when I’m unwinding. Now, if you are familiar with any of the many games that are able to be downloaded, you know there are multiple levels and you can earn 1, 2, or 3 stars on each level, depending on your “skill”. So in playing some of these games, I was realizing that very early on in the game, the levels were pretty easy. I earned 3 stars! Go me! I’m doing well.
As the levels increased, apparently, so should your skill level. “Oh no, I think I have only earned 2 stars on this level. I can’t move on to the next level now. I have to earn the 3 stars before I can go on.” What?? Now, keep in mind, I don’t really have to earn 3 stars at all. The game will progress either way.
Talk about me taking the fun out of something. Who am I competing against? No one is checking up on my night time playing ability to make sure I am earning my 3 stars on each level before I move on. Why do I do this? I have to “win”! Win what? I need the stars to validate something? Not really. I don’t share my gaming progress online with anyone, so no one but me would know this. (And now you do too…)
Another place I have noticed my competition with myself is when I workout. More specifically, when I do some kind of cardio exercise. Again, here I am taking the fun out of it. (Yes, I did just say exercise is fun.) Heehee. Anyway, I’m on the treadmill or the elliptical. And “I have to get to this certain amount of miles by this certain time. I have to run this many minutes before I can take a break”. And then what? I win? But, in a sense, my goal motivation backfires, too – for instance, if I wasn’t sure I would be able to reach the “goal” at today’s workout, then I would avoid doing it all together. I put too much pressure on myself to reach a made up goal that isn’t necessary. So in my quest to “win”, I’m actually hurting myself by ending up not doing something because I might not be able to win against myself. It all seems rather silly, to make the competition with myself take the fun out of things. I like to run. I enjoy it. But maybe I can just run for the fun of it instead of “beating” my time yesterday.
I don’t want you to think that I believe we shouldn’t have goals. Quite the opposite. But for me, if the “goal” was pushing me away from doing something good for myself or relaxing, then this isn’t a good goal for me. Maybe the goal can be “run until I want to walk”. And ps…..”good job running”. Or earn 1 star and be happy going onto level 72.
I’ve made the attempt to stop being so competitive with myself. It doesn’t need to be me vs. me. I keep track of my progress on the elliptical or treadmill but I don’t have to reach a certain goal to make this particular workout worth it. I’m happy that I’m sticking with the workouts. And I’m satisfied with my 1 star at times……as long as I can get 3 stars here and there.
For me, I need to keep the fun in it. Fun is definitely NOT overrated.
~Lynn Aspire Wellness