- Cara Fielden
Exercise envy: Why you don't need to be the best at something to enjoy it
When it comes to hobbies or learning new things - heck, even our jobs! - it’s not uncommon that we want to be the best we possibly can be at it. I suppose it comes from always being encouraged to try our best as a child, and we’re sure that many of us have experienced similar pressures from parents and guardians that meant we were expected to perform the best or win the race. Or maybe that pressure comes from yourself? Whatever it is, it’s easy to find ourselves feeling defeated, disappointed or quitting very quickly when we don’t come first or master a new skill after one attempt. Read on to find out how we can embrace all the failures and focus on enjoying ourselves.
We understand wanting to be good at something, why wouldn’t we want to be? The best at our job, the best in our department, winning the competition we entered or making the best coffee (anyone else at war with their partner over this?). It can become really annoying when you just can’t get the hang of something - not to mention the fact that we’re all constantly comparing ourselves to people we see on social media who really are the best at what we want to do! But what if we just shifted our perspective and stopped being so hard on ourselves? Easier said than done, we know - but here’s some tips on how to make a start.
Enjoy the process
You know that old phrase ‘It’s not the all about destination, enjoy the journey too’, turns out, there might be something there. Focusing on the end result can stop us from enjoying whatever it is we’re doing along the way. We get bogged down when we fail and don’t do things perfectly, but, believe it or not, that’s all part of the fun! Don’t believe us? Imagine getting things right as soon as you try, wouldn’t that be a little boring? Well, we definitely think so! It’ll also leave us feeling much better. Choosing to see the joy in those moments of embarrassment or failure is a quality we think everyone can have! It shows confidence and is a much nicer feeling than shame or disappointment, and it will do wonders for our mental wellbeing in the long run.
Choosing to see the joy in those moments of embarrassment or failure is a quality we think everyone can have.
Give yourself some credit
Whether it’s embracing all the wiggles and shakes in that intense pilates class, or the bumps and bruises we got from spending all day practising a backflip we haven’t quite got the hang of yet - it’s all proof of quite how hard we’ve worked! Look back at your mountain peaks. And what we mean by that is to reflect on how much progress you’ve made - even if it doesn’t feel like it. Results and achievements do not define us. Start celebrating the small wins - they all add up, they all matter, and they’re all part of the process too!
The more you do it, the better you’ll become
Practice (despite the cliche phrase) does not make perfect. But it does make us better. And you know it too - we know we don’t have to convince you on this one! The more we do something, whether we’re good at it or not, we will inevitably improve. Sometimes it’s about our attitude too. If we’ve got a closed mindset (one that doesn’t see much point in doing something) the chances are we’re not going to enjoy trying and we won’t improve much. But, having an open mindset (one that will try anything, and believe that there’s room to improve) we’re more likely to see the result we’re aiming for.
The more we do something, whether we're good at it or not, we will inevitably improve.
Notice how you feel
Being mindful has a variety of benefits, but bringing our mind and body together whilst we do things helps us to acknowledge what it is we’re feeling whilst we’re doing certain things. I don’t know about you, but belting my favourite Beyonce song at the top of my lungs whilst I’m driving along makes me feel amazing! It gets all those endorphins going, and it just makes me feel good. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that singing isn’t one of my strong points… The point is - if it makes you feel good, why wouldn’t you do it?! It’s fact that we don’t need to be good at something for it to make us feel fantastic! Although that doesn’t mean we can’t be - there’s always room for improvement. But focusing on how it makes us feel can help us to forget about trying to be the best and instead do whatever it is we love doing.
Final note: Telling ourselves that we need to be good at things or to always achieve will stop us from enjoying what we love to do. Taking that pressure off of ourselves will allow us to fully embrace what we’re doing and forget about all those silly expectations we pile on. Doing things that make us feel good and that we genuinely enjoy are things we all need in our lives - they relieve us from stress and allow us to express ourselves. It’s a way to recharge and get in touch with our true selves.