Podcast 97: Start Your Own Happiness Project, a Deep Dive into Break-Ups, and a Sweatpants Demerit.

It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

We’re coming up on our Very VERY Special Episode — Episode 100! Hard to believe. For this episode, send us questions about anything, whether related to happiness or not. For instance, if you’ve wondered, “Why don’t Gretchen and Elizabeth ever have their parents come onto the show?” or “What was the brand of Gretchen’s hard-boiled egg-maker?” you can ask! (KRUPS, by the way.) Email us or call us at 774-277-9336.

To start the new year in a happier way, we’re doing a fun project on Instagram. Every day, for the month of January, Elizabeth and I will post a photo on Instagram of something that makes us happier (by giving us a boost, helping us stick to good habits, reminding us to feel grateful, etc.).  Join in! Use the hashtag #Happier2017 and tag us — I’m @gretchenrubin and Elizabeth is @lizcraft.

Try This at Home: Start your own happiness project. I wrote about my own “happiness project” in my book, The Happiness Project.

My Twelve Personal Commandments are here.

Email me if you want to see my happiness-project chart. If you want to take a look at the The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five Year Record, it’s here.

If you’re curious to see Eliza’s Squarespace site for her podcast Eliza Starting at 16, it’s here.

Happiness Hack: Jane says, “To deal with unloading the dryer, I tell myself I only have to fold five items. That gets me started.”

Deep Dive: How to survive a break-up. Our fellow podcaster, Andrea Silenzi of the great podcast Why Oh Why, is dealing with a break-up. We talked about it first in episode 93, and Andrea came onto the show to give us an update.

Demerit: Elizabeth gives herself a demerit for wearing sweatpants every day.

Gold Star: Our mother decorates beautifully for Christmas. It’s a lot of work, but it adds so much to the holiday, because it’s so festive.

Don’t forget: Elizabeth’s young-adult book Flower is ready for pre-order!

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Squarespace. Start building your website and get your free trial today.  Go to Squarespace.com, and enter the offer code “happier” to get 10% off your first purchase.

Also check out Casper, the online retailer of premium mattresses. Pay a fraction of what you’d pay in the store, get free delivery, and returns within a 100 day period. Go to Casper.com and get $50 off a mattress purchase by using the promo code happier.





1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #97

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HAPPIER listening!

  • theshubox

    1) I was excited there was a new podcast this week when so many are on hiatus. Thank you!

    2) Eager to hear bullet journaling (or paper planning?) covered more on the podcast! One of my fave topics!!

    3) I am in on the Insta project. Sounds awesome, and such a positive use of SM!

    4) Elizabeth on the wardrobe: I highly agree with getting some NICE athleisure. Get thee to Athleta or Lululemon, STAT. Or perhaps Nordstrom (check our their Zella line). Buy stuff to fit you NOW, not when some amount of weight is lost. If you lose the weight and keep it off for months you can always donate the clothing. But having nice clothing in the size you are NOW will do wonders for your confidence. Treat yo’self!!!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! and great suggestions.

  • Mimi Gregor

    I agree completely with theshubox about getting nice athleisure clothing that fits you NOW and looks presentable. But I would add this: Get rid of your old sweatpants and oversized t-shirts. Now. If you don’t have them in your closet, you can’t wear them. I got rid of everything in my wardrobe that I didn’t love… anything that was unflattering, or worn out, or that just didn’t “spark joy”. My wardrobe is much smaller now, but I love everything that I have, and I don’t mind wearing the same things all the time, as long as I love them. In fact, I have more to wear with fewer clothes, as I don’t have things I hardly ever wear getting in the way, and it takes so much less time to decide what to wear. Also, don’t be afraid to wear your nicer clothing every day. Some people never wear their best looking clothing because they are saving it “for special occasions.” Sweetie, if you’re alive, it’s a special occasion. Wear it often and wear it to death. It’s clothing, not a museum piece.

    • “Sweetie, if you’re alive, it’s a special occasion.” Best. Quote. Ever. XD

  • Michelle

    Questions on Happiness Projects:

    -Do all tasks carry over from month to month or do you kind of choose which habits/tasks from the chart fit your life the best? Maintaining everything would seem a bit overwhelming.

    -Is it okay to take some “time off” if you’re ill or unexpected circumstances come up?

    I was just wondering those two things. Thanks!

    • gretchenrubin

      No right way or wrong way!

      The way I did it: everything carried over unless I decided it didn’t work.
      I plan exceptions, but taking “time off” is something I write about a LOT in my book BETTER THAN BEFORE! Sounds like a loophole.

  • Elise

    Love to hear you mention the Bullet Journal – I have started using it and love it! Great for tracking habits!

  • Lori D

    Gretchen – would you please share the brand of dressy yoga pants you mentioned? Thanks and Happy New Year!

    • Sarah

      They might be Betabrand “dress yoga pants”

      • Lori D

        Thanks – I am going to try them.

        • Sarah

          I bought a pair and they are super comfy!

      • Kristin

        I just saw their ad on Pinterest again and came straight here to suggest that Liz look into them.

  • carolie_king

    Elizabeth – I would recommend a “mom uniform” or two you’re comfortable with and that is/are easy to throw on, such as leggings + boots + big sweater, or jeans + graphic tee + cardigan + flats. Then get a few of each item to mix/match. This got brought up a while back on a style blog I liked called YouLookFab — it was called “Mom on the Go”. The outfit formulas still look great, for the most part. And I would say if you have fun shoes, everything else gets graded up a notch.

    Another piece of advice I heard recently was to spruce up two-thirds of the hair/makeup/clothes combo, e.g. your makeup can be undone as long as hair and clothes look good. I would argue for sprucing up ONE third of that combo! 🙂

    And be nicer to yourself, please!

  • Miranda Lea

    Gretchen, I read The Happiness Project two years ago and it has changed my life! I did a mini Happiness Project of my own after your book and have decided this year to dedicate the entire year, month by month, to a brand new Happiness Project!

    Thank you so much for all your work and dedication to happiness. I look forward to your podcast each week. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • The end of the podcast cut off and I wanted to hear the rest– was it just me?

    Gretchen & Liz, will you pretty please give us tips here and there on how to do a happiness project in future podcasts? I love your show and that would help me 1) know how to do a hp and 2) actually remember to do it!


  • Brittany

    Loved the episode! As always. I think Marcia Clark is dead wrong about marriage though. Marriage so often gets a bad rap from people who have failed at it. But marriage isn’t the problem, it’s the people. No doubt divorce is justified in some situations, but throwing out marriage as a central social institution would not add any happiness or stability.

  • Re: clothing! Figuring out how to dress myself was part of my personal happiness project that I did in 2016. It was month February. 🙂

    I wanted to feel more put together, so I started researching how to do that. Gretchen, you’re my happiness guru. And Audrey at http://www.puttingmetogether.com/ is my style guru. She really makes it easy!

    Right now she’s doing a Putting Me Together Style Challenge, where she (a) lists all of the items you need for the challenge, with the idea that you’ll find similar things in your wardrobe, or you can buy them to supplement, and then (b) gives you an outfit each day with the items in the list. It makes getting dressed REALLY easy.

    Beyond the challenge, Audrey’s principles about “building a remixable wardrobe” and wearing “one piece many ways” are so great! They really changed how I approach clothing.

  • debdef

    I’d highly recommend the Moroccan cotton line from Tiendo Ho to Elizabeth. 100% as comfortable to wear as sweats for me, but look dressy enough for my work in an office – and easy to mix and match.

    I stumbled across it a decade or so ago in Santa Barbara and bought about 10 pieces as they were so soft. (my signature clothing color is black -so one of everything in black. I’ve replaced those items and added to my collection, but I’m often sad when all my pieces are dirty – I wear at least 2 outfits from there a week.


  • Alwyn McRandle

    Love the idea of taking time to admire something. I am a teacher and are going to put some pictures of things I admire around my classroom. This will help me reflect in those moments when everything feels a bit out of control. I also thought I love beautiful stationery so maybe a lovely notepad to write on each day and admire.

  • Pingback: books, the universe, and everything | The Month: December 2016()

  • Sara W.

    I have a thought for Elizabeth’s sweatpants dilemma. Well, two thoughts. 1) With a few simple switches, sweatpants CAN be acceptable wear for work/lunches/running into friends. Instead of old sweats, try joggers (my FAVORITE trend–I own 5). Instead of a men’s t-shirt, add a long, loose v-neck tee made for women. And instead of an old hoodie, try a slimmer fitting zip-up hoodie, jean jacket, bomber jacket, or do a long-sleeve tee with a vest (hello, Uniqlo). Add a pair of Nike tennis shoes and all is complete! As someone who exercises frequently and also needs to get a child to school and look acceptable with or without showering, I’ve found these simple switches can make an outfit seem more put together than I really am. Also, the comfort level is off the charts.
    2) I know Elizabeth is incredibly busy, so if I were her, I’d sign up for a service like StitchFix. A personal stylist will design a look for you based on outfits you like, what your goals are, and what kind of situations you need to dress for. Then you get 5 items in the mail, and you only pay for what you keep. Shipping is free both ways, and there’s a 25% discount if you keep all the items that were sent. It’s the perfect solution for busy lives!
    I actually have one more point, so 3). If your current style has to do with weight frustrations, my advice is this: buy new clothes that fit the body you have NOW, don’t waut until you lose X amount of pounds before taking care of yourself in this aspect. The better you look, the better you’ll feel, and the more motivated you’ll be to take care of your health.

    • Kristin

      Duluth Trading Co has longer length shirts for women in various styles, but aren’t fussy. I have also found some really comfortable tops at Ross that look nice, are inexpensive and are just something different from just plain t-shirts, if she is looking for something like that. I would love to take Liz shopping!

  • Kelli

    For Elizabeth. Check out hoody sweat shirts. http://mindymaesmarket.com/collections/tops
    Have Sarah help you get rid of the old stuff and get a few new pieces so you don’t have a choice to wear the old.

  • Liz G

    I’m obsessing over sweatpants dilemma. Come to SF-we’ll take really good care of

    I’m a jeans gal but here are my suggestions:

    Cover up extra weight in middle or hips with longer hip length Enzo costa underpinnings. Wear under sweaters: Velvet, Enzo Costa, Autumn Cashmere, 360 cashmere, rag n bone, Vince, ALC.

    Jeans (no sweats) with ankle boots, Superga, Vince slip on (velvet!) sneakers-my latest pleasure. I’m crazy about my Ariat cowboy boots.its a bit contrarian but cool in my mind. super comfy stretch jeans to handle all weight fluctuations: 7 for mankind, mother, genetic denim, Frame.

    I LOVE blouses by Ulla Johnson, Tucker, Theory; tops by Rag n bone. Theory T shirts are so lovely. Rag n bone T’s sexy and cozy. Adore Rails plaid. I wear them for travel – light but warm layer. Good for all seasons: beach cover, under a sweater, work shirt like effect.

    a must have is a coat or trench over a t shirt, Chan Liu scarf (collect several colors for various seasons and looks great over a T); Barber jackets are worth every penny. You can sport it in LA and KC. rag n bone leather jacket (did you see nurse Jackie episode where she steals a girl’s Rag n Bone red leather jacket? So cool). Warmer weather calls for a Velvet military jacket.

    I always wear a scarf. Chan Liu is worth every penny: Denis Columbe lovely but not as durable. Chan Liu wrap leather bracelet, CL necklace and sunglasses-good to go. Change out rings, shoes, purse-check out Brooklyn based TM1985 for gorgeous leather tote. Marc Jacobs.

    Athletic gear: Alo

    Fun choices. All staples. Enjoy!
    Liz G

  • Elizabeth,

    I just discovered another athleisure brand for you: Aella.

    It’s a female-owned business!

    Their pants have an elastic band, have abolished look which makes them perfect for transitioning from light activity to an office environment.

    These are the pants that caught my eye:

    And they’re made in LA!

    – Chloe