By Valentina Petrova, Independent Columnist

Almost everyone feels behind in their life. Even those you look up to and envy or admire. That’s because we are our worst critics, and we constantly compare ourselves with those who are ahead of us. The critic within tells you that you failed your dreams and expectations. Comparing yourself to others gives your inner critic-proof of your failure. Except, that’s not objective because no two people have the same life experiences and travel the same paths; therefore, you end up comparing apples to oranges. You will never know what someone else’s life experience truly feels like because you are not them. More importantly, we don’t all start from the same place with the same resources and support. Life is not fair, but it can be gratifying no matter who you are.

There are three things you can do to improve both your situation and your mood.

The easiest thing is to stop comparing yourself with a critical eye. Admiring someone for what they do and have achieved could be a great learning opportunity. Success leaves clues. Look for them and adopt them. It will help you finetune what you are doing and get you closer to your goals. If you still feel compelled to compare yourself with others, try comparing downward with those less fortunate than you. And compare yourself now to yourself years ago. This way, you can appreciate your situation for what it truly is. Hopefully, today you are miles away from where you started years ago and in a much better place. If not, you will need to give me a call.

Second, appreciate the particular meandering path you took to get to where you are because it has afforded you a unique set of experiences, lessons, and skills. You can only be where you are and start from there in whatever direction you choose. Value even your regrets. At the very least, they keep you from making future mistakes.

Finally, if you want more out of life, you’ll have to get it. You need a plan, resources, support, motivation, and you need to take action. Wishing may be entertaining, but if you want results, you need to take action. The weight won’t lose itself. Your career won’t progress itself. Your goals won’t achieve themselves. You’ll have to put in some elbow grease and some time. You’ll have to make a few choices, sacrifice a few things, stay up a few nights, and figure out a few things.

And you have to start now.

Start small but start. It’s been said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Sometimes, the first step is the one in which you discover what holds you back.

Valentina Petrova has been helping people with life, health, relationships, financial, career, professional, and business goals and challenges since 2015. Email her at valentinapetrovaconsulting.com

Getting through this together, Paso Robles