Learning Not to Compare Myself to Others When Setting Goals

With cystic fibrosis, it is easy to compare yourself to others and feel like your accomplishments are less impressive or significant than the people around you. Fortunately, I've found four ways that help bring me out of this mindset and set achievable, realistic, and fulfilling goals.

Oct. 15, 2018 | 4 min read
Meagan Tenyer

Having cystic fibrosis, we sometimes encounter limitations that require us to revise our plan to achieve our goals. As my husband says, “We do not limit or change our goals; we only change the path to get there.” In other words, our road may not always be easy -- and we may have to work harder than a “healthy” individual -- but we can still achieve our dreams. Although there are many uncertainties when it comes to living with cystic fibrosis, I try to focus on what I CAN do to improve myself. 

It's really easy to compare yourself to others in your circle of family or friends. There are times when I think about how the people around me are achieving all these absolutely GREAT things in life, whether it's getting a job promotion, having children, or climbing the corporate ladder. 

Meanwhile, I woke up, did two hours of breathing treatments, exercised, and worked eight hours -- achievements that don't feel as “big” as my friends' and family's successes. As someone with CF, it's important to remember that these daily achievements are huge. In a way, our successes are even greater than the success of a new job or a promotion because we are literally working toward staying ALIVE! 

This upcoming year, I challenge you to work hard toward your goals. Here are a few tips that I've found helpful for goal setting and motivation: 

  1. Make at least one health-related goal.
    Find something that you are able to change and begin working toward that goal. Whether it is starting an exercise programeating better, or being more compliant with treatment or medication, start slowly and make your way toward improvement. Keep a journal to track your progress or tell your family and friends about your goal. After all, it can be helpful to have someone hold you accountable for your actions (aka, yell at you when you're not keeping your goals).
  2. Ignore social media. 
    It's so easy to look at social media and become instantly overwhelmed with all the job promotions, vacations, new cars, and big houses and feel like the world is judging you for not living up to the lifestyle of others. Remember: You are usually harder on yourself then your family and friends are. Stop trying to “keep up with the Joneses” -- it's not worth your mental health!
  3. Find something you love to do.
    Find something you love to do and turn it into therapy. Do you enjoy jumping on the trampoline? Not only is this activity fun, but it's also a form of exercise and stress relief! Love swimming? Join a local gym or YMCA and swim year-round! Love cooking? Take cooking classes and have fun trying to add in extra fats, nutrients, and calories. It's easier to keep moving forward when you enjoy what you are doing!
  4. Don't forget to be thankful.
    When you have a chronic illness, it sometimes feels like you are trying to desperately grasp at straws to improve your health or situation. We are constantly searching for new remedies, medications, therapies, treatments, and everything else. Don't forget to be thankful for what you do have. Remember, every breath you take is a gift that you have to work hard for. In the whirlwind of life, choose JOY!

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This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Meagan was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 8 years old. She has been volunteering and fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides event since the early 2000s, as well as for CF Cycle for Life since 2015. She spends her days working in patient education at her local hospital, and is heavily involved in her care center's CF patient advisory group. Her hobbies include traveling, photography, the beach, and spending time with her family and husband, Justin.

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