I had a really interesting conversation with a gentleman at the gym this morning.  He showed me a picture he found online of a 71 year old guy who’s in fantastic shape.  6-pack abs, great looking skin, muscles galore, and really a pretty good looking older guy.  The guy I was speaking with is in his mid sixties and was expressing a desire to accomplish the same physique by his 70th birthday.  So we got into a discussion on what the steps might be to make that a reality, and in the process decided to find out who the guy in the picture was.  Here’s that guys reality.
1.  Closest thing he’s ever had to a real job was some part-time modelling in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Basically, he hit the genetic lottery.  He was good looking from the start.
2.  Comes from a generationally wealthy family.  No need to work to earn money… ever.  He’s a trust fund baby.
3. Never married, no kids
4.  Hasn’t been involved in community volunteering, coaching, or politics.  Hasn’t really made an impact on anyone other than himself.
5.  Has a world class fitness facility in his home and a private fitness coach 5 days per week.
6.  Has a butler and chef.

Here’s the reality of the gentleman I was speaking with.
1.  Married 45 years.  6 kids.  17 Grand Kids.
2.  Not yet retired.  Still works 45+ hours per week
3.  Has done thousands of hours through his adult life as a community member, coach, business mentor and active Church member.
4.  Earns an average living – not doing poorly but far from wealthy.
5.  When asked how much time he could realistically commit to his fitness goal… his answer was 3-4 hours per week.

So, is the goal he’s presenting 100% unattainable?  Possibly.  But, will be it easy.  No.  My point?  Be careful when making comparisons.  Don’t compare yourself to people you see, whether in person or virtually.  Unless you know the realities of that person it’s really not fair to yourself to feel unaccomplished next to that someone.  The guy I was speaking with was feeling bad about himself for letting himself go.  His fitness and nutrition hasn’t been great for most of his life and his physique has suffered as a result.  Then he seems the photo on-line and feels worse about himself because someone else, who’s older, has accomplished what he desires.  Thats dangerous territory.  Their realities are nowhere near the same.  So why do we do that to ourselves?  Before you make a comparison, make sure you’re looking at a fair apples to apples comparison.  Otherwise you’re just doing more emotional damage to yourself for simply living within your reality.

Now, that’s not to say we use our reality as an excuse to never accomplish those goals.  We still require movement and good food in our lives, and there’s a point when we need to take responsibility for the choices we make.  But give yourself a break if you’ve failed some of your health goals because you’ve given that part of yourself to your family and community.  Be extraordinary within the confines of your unique reality.