Your Mileage May Vary
As I start to wrap up my thoughts on this journey, I'd like to leave with a few thoughts on your personal expectations on your progress compared to others'. Namely, just don't compare. Please. Any any progress is good progress!
I could pretty much end this post there, but I feel that would be cheating on the length. I mean what is writing a blog if you can't go on way longer than is necessary anyway!? Pad those wordcounts! And, you know me. Allow me to expand. Elucidate. Perhaps, bloviate.
Just like every other dang thing in life, no matter how much you are a part of the crowd you're in, your details still make you unique. From the progress you've made in your career, the foods you like, the shows you watch, the size of shoe you wear... all the little things that you like and what fit you make you, you. While everyone else may share one or two or three of the above and other endless facets of what makes you up, your personal combination of any number of characteristics are what make you an individual. This, of course, extends to your fitness journey. In this regard, the only way you should be measuring the specifics of your progress and success is against yourself. You can't measure your success against anyone else's. Your metabolism is different. Your habits are different. Your activity is different. Your DNA is different. So if you're comparing yourself to someone else and find that it's not matching up the way you want, you're trying to put a square peg in a round hole. In a way, there's no rational way for you to be discouraged by this, just like I don't get discouraged that a bird can fly and I can't. Maybe others are excelling in a place that you're not, but you can rest assured that you're excelling in a way THEY aren't. A personal example is that while I'm definitely not a fast runner or cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, I pride myself in my consistency and endurance. I won't claim that it's at an elite level by any measure, but I feel that it's a strength of mine. With that knowledge, I'm not angry when someone beats me in the first mile of a race. But I do get joy from slowly reeling them in from behind as they flag and I indomitably press on like a long-haul semi. The trick is to identify your strengths and take joy in them. Maybe your bellyfat doesn't look "as good" someone else's at the same weight, but maybe your booty has got it going on!
So say you just can't find your strength. No matter how hard you pontificate on the matter, you just can't really identify what sets you apart and what gives you reason to gloat. Well, really, the only person you need in that race is yourself. You just need to make sure that you're a little better today than you were yesterday. Screw everyone else. What you're doing, at the base of all things, is racing your own mortality. And ANY progress forward is progress FULL STOP. The only way you can be caught by an angel of (early) death is by sitting in place. Literally and figuratively. The common term for this in many activities, when you boil things down to a pithy metric, is PR. "Personal Record". This is a big deal in fitness. Even really advanced athletic practitioners know a ton of different their own personal record metrics. Heaviest bench press. Fastest 5k. Quickest shoelacing. Et cetera. And the reason is that even the elite ones realize that the most important metric (sans Olympic or country-wide competitions) is you against yourself.
If we ever use our imagined lack of performance as a roadblock to our own personal success/goals, you may be falling into what is known as the "utopia/paradise fallacy." This is a logical fallacy that says that if we can't achieve 100% of a thing, then it's not worth going for in the first place. THIS IS WRONG. THIS IS A FALLACY. Don't fall into this trap! You don't need to achieve 100%. Or 90%. Or 50%. What you need to achieve is a GOOD FAITH, totally self-honest, effort towards your goal. Don't wait for a situation, plan, strategy, situation that promises utopia. There's a reason it's imaginary.