Five Tips for Avoiding the Comparison Trap

Has it really been over a month since my last blog post? I’d like to blame it on being busy. That would be an easy excuse. Between graduate classes, my research position, and the internship rotations themselves, I am swamped. It would be a lie though to blame the internship.

I could blame other aspects of my schedule. Trying to squeeze in time with family, or one on one time with Aaron, spending more time with the pets. The list could go on for miles.

These days everyone is chronically busy. But there are still plenty of bloggers out there making their scheduled posts. And that’s where the real answer lies.

Hi my name’s Sara and I fell into the comparison trap.

I recently signed up for a webinar series around the time I stopped blog. It was packed full of great information and great connections. I was so excited for the support from like-minded RDs and #RD2BEs. And then I fell into the comparison trap.

I went from viewing them as inspiration to ways my blog was lacking. I started making lists of all the ways I needed to update my blog. Sure, most of the things on my list were things I actually still want to add to my blog, like adding a services page and offering meal plans. But most of these things were things I don’t need to focus on right now. I can’t overhaul my entire blog in one afternoon—and I don’t want to.

I don’t think I even realized the trap I fell in until I was watching another blogger’s Instagram story of her “behind the scenes” food photography. She had her food laid out on her bedroom floor near a window because it was the best lighting. It was on a fake countertop, with a fake propped up backsplash, her camera on a tripod above the food, and a fan to blow the steam off the food.

I couldn’t help but laugh. That’s when I realized I had been comparing myself to unrealistic expectations. No one was holding me to these, except myself. I’m all about getting a good photo of my food, but I’m never going to be that dedicated. That’s not me and that’s not my blog. And that’s ok!

Can I share a tiny secret with you all?

As much as I love my internship… I’m so ready to be a dietitian. I can’t wait to start counseling again. I miss it so much.

Now can I share a big scary secret?

I want to start my own private practice. I think that’s why I felt the need to overhaul my blog. I miss counseling so much and can’t wait to get my practice started that I’m trying to get as much as possible done now. But I don’t need to focus on that right now. There are plenty of other things to focus on instead. Like avoiding the comparison trap. Because if I’m being honest, other bloggers aren’t the only comparison traps I fall into sometimes. I’ve found myself in the same trap in other situations too.

Here’s what I’ve been focusing on to avoid the comparison trap:

  1. Limit social media. I love social media! Obviously. It’s great for staying in touch with far away family and friends, networking, learning, and making friends. But when all I’m doing is studying, working on rotation projects, and writing research papers and I see other people’s best moments on social media and I start comparing, I know it’s time to take a social media break.
  2. Make time for self-care. This has been a must between my schedule and avoiding the comparison trap. My self-care looks different day to day. My goal is to eventually have an hour blocked each day for self-care. Sometimes my self-care is springing the money for a yoga class. Other times it’s knitting and listening to an audiobook.
  3. Prioritize the important things. Seems like a no brainer huh? But when I was looking at my everyday routine, the items I was (and wasn’t) marking off my to-do list, and what’s important to me, things weren’t adding up. Even if my day isn’t the best, I can still feel better about it when I’ve accomplished things that are actually important to me.
  4. Minimize complaining. Sometimes I need a good vent session. I just need to get something off my chest. Verbalize it. It helps me process things. But harping on something too much after that really makes me stop enjoying the good and puts too much focus on the bad. I try not to complain about things, especially things that I’m grateful for—like the internship and being close to family.
  5. Create a routine that makes me happy. When I’m happy, I’m far less likely to compare myself to others. This ties in a little with self-care, but having a routine of a cup of herbal tea before bed as my nighttime routine brings me happiness.

Anyone else have problems with the comparison trap?

Share the ways you fight it off in the comments!

xx Sara



4 thoughts on “Five Tips for Avoiding the Comparison Trap”

  • Girrrrrl. So proud of you for recognizing and getting yourself out of the comparison trap, which is SO easy to fall into. There will ALWAYS be something you can work on or improve with your blog, social, website, services, etc. It can be totally overwhelming and you’re right–no one is doing it all! One thing at a time…I know the internship seems never ending, but you’ll be starting that private practice in no time. And I promise, you don’t need a perfectly updated website to get that started! You got this!

    • Always appreciate your support girl! Thank you! You’re right–it’s too easy to fall into that trap. The supportiveness and honesty from the IE/HAES community has definitely helped me tremendously. One thing at a time is a great reminder to enjoy the here and now instead of focusing too much on the future. Only 33 weeks left of the internship!! It feels so far away, but 33 weeks is nothing! The RD and private practice will be here before I know it (hopefully)!

  • Sara, How wise of you to realize that the Comparison Trap was imposing unrealistic stress in regards to the start of a very thoughtful blog you are writing. In fact, the lure of the internet always seem to consume our most valuable asset of time. I am sure your blog will evolve to offer many positive resources for those seeking better nutrition. It would probably be easier during your internship time to relate some nutritious dish that is appealing and economical to prepare with a photo of the finished product and your own findings regarding the dish., It is only natural to review similar nutrition blogs, because food is your interest. Congratulations, on your progress with your Dietary Internship and future Private Practice plans.

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