How To Be The Best Version Of Yourself

Wear clothes that actually fit your body and make you feel good. Don’t buy the t-shirt you feel sort of fat in because guess what? You will always feel sort of fat in it! Furthermore, don’t buy an item of clothing that’s too tight as motivation to lose weight. You won’t do it and the item of clothing will just sit there, taunting you and your body.

Spend less time hate-reading things on the Internet and more time reading things that will enrich your brain. Reread your favorite novel or essay and try to glean something new from it. Read something that will motivate you to create something, that will motivate you to be somewhere different than where you are. When in doubt, just listen to a particularly inspiring podcast of This American Life. That usually gets the job done.

Surround yourself with people who make you want to be a better person. More kind, more considerate, more productive. We are a reflection of our surroundings, which means that if you’re hanging out with gross people, you’re going to be a little bit gross. Spend time with people who excite you, who possess qualities you would like to have. Walk away from a hangout session feeling invigorated, not dejected.

Take yourself out on dates. Go to the movies by yourself at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and try not to feel so small. Eat lunch outside and bring a book so you’re not just staring into space. It might be scary at first but you’ll settle into it. It’ll feel good. After it’s over, give yourself a kiss on the cheek and text yourself in the next 24 hours saying, “I HAD SUCH A GREAT TIME! LET’S DO IT AGAIN?” Respond immediately with “YES.” Phew. Pressure is off. You are into you!

Let go of the ex who treated you badly. Let go of all the terrible things that have ever happened to you and replace it with this optimism, this certainty that everything will be okay and that you’ll eventually become the person you were meant to be. Some days, it will feel like you’re so far away from accomplishing your goals and that’s okay. Goals are meant to feel far away. That’s why we work towards them! To get some perspective, just think of where you were two years ago and I guarantee that you’ll see that progress has been made.

Avoid the following things: Going to parties with people who are more successful than you, eating over the sink at 4 a.m., talking to your parents about money, talking to ANYONE about money, getting lunch with an old best friend you have nothing in common with anymore, kissing someone who makes you feel nothing, kissing someone who makes you feel too much, not kissing anyone at all for a prolonged period of time, not leaving your apartment for an entire weekend, engaging in behavior you know will make you feel ashamed. Easy as pie, right?


Pay attention. Be self-aware. Try your best to understand those around you. Through understanding others, you’ll gain a better understanding about yourself.

Change is gradual. Change doesn’t happen with a new pair of jeans or moving to a different city. It comes from within. Our generation has no real markers for where we should be. We get there when we get there. The answers are less obvious and clear. All you can really hope for is that you survive with your self-respect intact. In the meantime, just enjoy the ride.

And if you feel nauseous at any time, feel free to throw up. TC Mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • Sam

    Ryan, I’m sorry I comment on every single piece you write but I sincerely love every single one of them.

  • lauren

    you rule

  • Heather (@faunonmars)

    This was wonderful. Thank you.

  • Jessica

    Honestly, couldn’t have read this at a better time.


    Every generation has the exact same markers. If you are not pounding home runs out of the park by the time you hit thirty, you are kind of an asshat. If you are coming damn close you can sort of, SORT OF avoid total humiliation. But basically you have to crush it by thirty or you need to wear a giant “L” hat at all times when going outdoors.

    • guest

      Uh… Really?

    • Guest

      An old curmudgeon figured out how to post comments on the internet! Cool!

  • Becky

    All of your articles are in my bookmarks tab. Perfection.

  • Laura


  • Only L<3Ve @

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • Ria

    Thanks! Bookmarked.

  • Brandon Buchanan

    Ryan!! I didn’t know you wrote this until after I finished ! I love your pieces but, this made me feel inspired. Thank you

  • Tiff

    I randomly felt like visiting TC for the first time this week and really, THIS is exactly the motivation I so desperately needed to read, even if I sort of deep down knew it :’) You really hit the nail, love this piece <3

  • Christina


  • N

    “nauseated.” If you feel *nauseated* at any time, feel free to throw up. “Nauseous” is akin to “poisonous” — it’s the quality that induces nausea in others. Admittedly, this distinction is really obtuse, and no one actually uses the word this way. But there you have it.

    • Abigail


  • mollystillman

    this post is simply amazing. seriously! amen to EVERYTHING.

  • soy

    was this… sponsored.. by… Smart Water?

  • fringster

    “Let go of the ex who treated you badly. Let go of all the terrible things that have ever happened to you and replace it with this optimism, this certainty that everything will be okay and that you’ll eventually become the person you were meant to be.”
    -Wow! This has struck me most. I’ve gone thru a devastating experience last year and I never would have thought that I could survive it. But I’m still in the process of picking up the pieces right now. Thank you for writing this, these words will serve to be my inspiration to get back on track. Thank you!

  • S

    I literally JUST put on the shirt I feel fat in.

  • SassyChelle

    Reblogged this on SassyChelle and commented:

  • Kovie Biakolo (@koviebiakolo)

    This piece is just absolutely wonderful. Thanks for it!

  • Nina Thomas

    I really love everything that you write. I can and will be the best version of me, thank you for this. :)

  • Syndey

    The list of things to avoid was perfection. Eating over the sink at 4am…. hahah shit. Guilty. Must stop.

  • duncansomerside

    Its a lot like the other ones people write, but its still wonderful to read non-the-less. Love you!

  • Michelle

    you really write well Ryan!!!

  • Jenna Coy

    I really love this piece!!!! And I love solo movies too ;)

  • Frrrrrrrrrances

    i love this! thanks.

blog comments powered by Disqus