Becoming Goldilocks: Finding Your “Just Right” To Live A Happier Life

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Despite what we are often led to believe, one of the best ways to live a happy life is simply to achieve balance.

This involves finding that magical middle ground—the “just right” spot—in which you have comfort and challenge in equal measure.

In this article, we’ll look at ways you can find your own unique balance and live a happier life in turn.

What is the Goldilocks Principle?

In the children’s story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the little girl who breaks into the poor bears’ home tries out their furniture and eats their food until she finds the option that’s “just right” for her.

For example, the chair that was neither too small, nor too large; porridge that was neither too hot nor too cold; and a bed that was neither too firm nor too soft.

While this sounds like a cautionary tale against trespassing, theft, and property damage (she broke one of the chairs), the story is actually used as an example of finding that sweet spot of equilibrium—one in which you find the perfect fit for your own unique life experience.

10 ways to apply the Goldilocks Principle to your life:

There are many areas in which you can find your “just right” sweet spot.

Although this list doesn’t address them all, it covers most aspects of life in which many of us struggle to find that perfectly balanced middle road.

1. Risk.

Life inevitably involves some measure of risk.

Unless you spend your existence in a sealed plastic bubble, getting all of your needs met in an environment in which you’ll never experience uncertainty or physical injury, you’re going to have to take some risks.

The key here is to find the middle road we’ve discussed; one in which you aren’t so risk-averse that you never leave your “safe” comfort zone, but not so risky that you could end up ruining your life (or someone else’s).

For example, if you’re traveling alone for the first time, choosing Iceland or the Maldives will involve less risk than visiting Venezuela or South Africa.

2. Health and fitness.

We all know people who never stop talking about their diet and exercise routines, in the same way that we know folks who groan trying to get up off the couch and haven’t eaten salad in years.

Health and fitness look different for everyone, and what’s ideal for one may be unattainable for another. The key here is to find a routine and health plan that makes you feel your best, rather than being detrimental to you.

For example, a lot of people who strive to be healthy in their dietary choices would sooner give up a kidney than pollute their temple with a piece of chocolate or a french fry.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who eat only junk food and refuse to do a situp because it might hurt them.

Determine the foods that make your body and mind happy, and that includes allowing yourself some indulgences. Similarly, find movement that makes you feel strong and confident in yourself.

This may look totally different from your friends’ routines, but that’s to be expected. We’re focusing on your Goldilocks zone here—not theirs.

3. Sharing personal information with others.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone you just met tells you all kinds of intimate details about their life?

In addition to making you uncomfortable, they’ve also provided you with an enormous amount of personal information that could be used against them (if you were an unsavory sort who might do that kind of thing, of course).

When it comes to sharing personal info with others, there’s a sliding scale that veers between “standoffish vault” and “too much information”. Furthermore, the “just right” point will vary depending on who you’re talking to, and in which circumstances.

For instance, you may not be comfortable divulging details about your health to your coworkers, but you’d be fine telling them where you went on vacation with your spouse last summer, etc.

A good mantra to keep in mind is: “What they don’t know, can’t hurt you”.

Ask yourself how much you trust the one you’re talking to. That’ll determine the best course of action with regard to how much personal info to share with them.

4. Socializing.

This will require you to take an honest look at your social energy battery.

Do you get easily drained or overwhelmed by too much social interaction? Or do you thrive on chatting and dancing with hundreds of people?

Take note of how quickly you get depleted at social functions, as well as how long it takes you to recover from them.

Similarly, keep notes on how long it takes you to feel lonely or in need of social interaction, and how much time you need to immerse in another’s company to refill your tank.

Your “just right” point will be in the center of that Venn diagram, in which you’re socializing out of desire rather than obligation—just enough so you feel energized and happy, but not so much that you need several days to recover.

5. Communication.

Communicating your needs to others is extremely important for any type of healthy relationship.

The key here is also to be willing to listen to others’ needs and to work with them instead of being controlling or inflexible.

Many of us indulge in very self-absorbed behavior and focus entirely on getting our own needs met. While this is important, what’s just as important is helping to ensure that others are also getting their needs met in turn.

In any relationship, be that platonic or intimate, we need to be able to compromise.

If your “just right” is very different from your partner’s, for example, you may need to find a middle ground that both of you can handle. Or take turns so each person feels fulfilled and supported respectively.

Without this type of compromise, one partner ends up being dominant and controlling while the other gets subjugated.

As such, you need to find the middle road between communicating and listening, and then work with your loved ones to find the most harmonious way forward.

6. Finances.

Some people save every time they make and live like misers, while others are spendthrifts who blow their entire paycheck as soon as they receive it.

Neither of these approaches is optimal, as the former doesn’t allow for any indulgences, while the latter doesn’t save for a rainy day.

When it comes to this middle road, figure out which things are important for you to spend money on or invest in, and then save the rest.

In addition to rent/mortgage, bills, and such, is it important for you to invest in experiences such as traveling, or maybe it’s organic food or a passion for home décor?

Make those things a priority, and don’t spend frivolously. This will allow you to bank funds for when you need them and still enjoy life’s little pleasures while you can.

7. Spirituality.

It’s great to devote time and effort to spiritual development, as long as you also remain grounded in the process.

Some people get caught up in the blissful transcendence that can happen during spiritual devotion, whether that’s at a meditation retreat or delving into inspirational writings.

Problems ensue, however, when all their time and attention get turned towards spiritual matters, and they neglect real-world responsibilities.

So if you’re spiritually inclined, definitely devote time and attention to pursuing the sacred, but keep one foot on the floor as well.

Bills need to be paid, loved ones need to be attended to, and you need to eat and take care of your own body as well.

8. Mental and emotional health.

As a general rule, people don’t like to feel hurt or upset. In fact, most folks try to avoid pain and suffering as much as possible and thus veer away from anything that may cause them distress.

While it’s important to safeguard your mental and emotional well-being, there’s a lot to be said for allowing yourself to be exposed to things that hurt you. If you don’t, you won’t develop the vital coping skills needed to deal with life’s many hardships.

Once again, it comes down to balance.

Constantly immersing yourself in horrific photos or videos of genocides or animal cruelty may shatter your heart and psyche.

In contrast, never looking at anything upsetting and insisting that nobody say or do anything that may “trigger” an unwanted emotional response will infantilize you.

The world can be a cruel, ugly place, and you need to learn how to navigate its turbulent waters with a measure of grace and strength.

Find the middle zone in which you neither remain ignorant nor destroy yourself, and seek ways to work through and release the emotions that arise in a healthy, productive manner.

9. Work-life balance.

Are you a type-A workaholic who’s constantly either working for pay or doing chores around the house? Or do you prefer to do the bare minimum so you can do what you want instead?

These are extreme polarizations, but neither are particularly healthy in the long term.

Workaholics burn out because they never allow themselves downtime to play, read, or be creative. In contrast, those who devote all their time to creativity or play can face poverty or potential homelessness because they’re broke.

It’s important to be responsible enough to ensure a measure of life security (shelter, food, etc.), but also chill enough to dedicate time to pursuits that you love.

Set aside time daily to read, paint, play games or instruments, etc.

The number one regret of the dying tends to be that they wish they hadn’t worked so much.

You weren’t born to spend your every waking moment slaving away for cash—especially to make someone else rich.

10. Giving everything you have versus not giving anything at all.

A lot of people martyr themselves by devoting all their time and energy to caring for others in their family or community, while others reserve it all for themselves without contributing anything at all.

This also happens in relationships, in which one person might turn themselves inside-out for their partner, while another is happy being doted upon without any reciprocation.

Everything in life involves give and take, and imbalances can be damaging at either extreme.

Someone who gives constantly can wear themselves thin and become ill, while someone who never gives at all may find themselves alone and miserable, or at a loss when they need help and nobody is willing to step up.

Determine how much you can devote to others without being depleted, and be willing to learn how to accept others’ loving care in turn.


It’s important to note that your Goldilocks zone isn’t necessarily going to look the same as anyone else’s: everyone’s journey is unique, and what’s perfect for one person may be excruciating to another.

Additionally, while you’re discovering your own “just right” balance, be aware of how your actions affect others. People aren’t pairs of shoes to be tried on and discarded if they aren’t a perfect fit.

Some folks who are looking for their ideal companion end up treating others like objects rather than sentient beings with real emotions; people who get hurt and damaged if they’re used and tossed away without a second thought because they weren’t a perfect fit.

While you’re in the process of discovering the balance that will help you live a happier life, keep in mind that you don’t live in a bubble.

Part of living “just right” is learning how to coordinate your own balance and happiness with those around you.

About The Author

Finn Robinson has spent the past few decades travelling the globe and honing his skills in bodywork, holistic health, and environmental stewardship. In his role as a personal trainer and fitness coach, he’s acted as an informal counselor to clients and friends alike, drawing upon his own life experience as well as his studies in both Eastern and Western philosophies. For him, every day is an opportunity to be of service to others in the hope of sowing seeds for a better world.