• Catherine Goncalves

3 Degrees to Your Best Life

I often find myself buying into the idea that the best version of myself exists as this distant being. The kind of person who wakes up in new countries every week, only ever likes to eat kale, and goes for a 5 mile run while meditating.

My reality paints a much different picture.

And I recognize that this gap has a lot of implications for my life. The truth is, the absolute best version of me isn’t this picture-perfect lifestyle. It’s living fully as the girl who wakes up every morning content with who and where she is right now. She might not run 5 miles every morning or meditate, but she’s as kind to others as she is to herself.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t seek growth, striving to improve ourselves is important, recognizing that there are parts of ourselves that need to be worked upon in order to move forward is healthy, but obsessing over the things we don’t have isn’t productive or useful.

We won’t suddenly have the things we’ve dreamed of my making a single change. Instead it’s the accumulation of habits that determine the quality of our lives. If we were to track our habits every day, what percentage of our time would be dedicated to the things that feed our energy rather than consume it? Do our commitments match our convictions?

James Clear writes a perfect metaphor for this in his book, Atomic Habits. If a plane took off and shifted its course 3 degrees, it would end up in NYC instead of Washington in the same amount of time. He then urged us to think about how a small shift in our daily habits can drastically alter our final destination over the course of a lifetime.

So before we criticize ourselves for all that we are not, I would instead urge us to consider how we can shift our lives 3 degrees to work towards the lives we know we can achieve. I would encourage us to ensure our commitments match our convictions, and practice gratitude for the things we have, and how far we have come.

We don’t suddenly arrive at the best version of ourselves passively, we actively build this life – 1 degree shifts at a time.