Chase No One. Lead your own life. Comparison is a double-edged sword. It is a healthy metric for self improvement but unhealthy if our self worth is attached to how we compare to others or our past selves.

Comparison without a personal action plan is a sign you are indulging in an unhealthy practice. Habitually looking at Instagram or Facebook and judging your own short, or long term, success and accomplishments based on another’s success and accomplishment is a sabotaging habit. Typically we have little information on the work it took to achieve the successes we are admiring. We simply see the end result. The weight lost, the trip taken, the personal best performance, the Strava CR can leave us feeling envious.

If we don’t know the effort that went into these outcomes that gnaw at us, nor do we have a clear action plan to achieve a similar result for ourself, then we’ll remain in a self created purgatory of unactionable, unrealistic, expectations. We’ll continue to see, admire, compare — then begin the negative dialog with ourselves. What we need instead, is a plan, the process toward achievement. We must develop our own path to get from point A (thumbing through Instagram) to point B (scaling mountain X, running race Y, or launching product Z). If we have a specific actionable plan, and perhaps even know on some level the compared individual’s plan, then periodic (not daily) assessment of our progress can be helpful and motivating.

All too often, however, we put rabbits in front of us to chase, without any purpose other than attempting to catch and conquer. Sometimes we need to let that rabbit go so we can run our own race. If we’re constantly chasing, eventually we will break. We’ll lose our direction as we blindly follow the hare. Intentions become abandoned in the allure of short term satisfaction.

Emulate others, but chase no one.