Six years! It's hard to believe that my sister Elizabeth and I started the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast six years ago. As is so often the case, it feels like we started it last month—and also twenty years ago.
This year has been memorable because we're recording from home. I miss seeing everyone at the Cadence13 studio, but the process of recording has been surprisingly easy, and of course, convenient.
I remember that when I first pitched the idea for the podcast to Elizabeth, I said, "I have an idea for something we could do together. It could be fun, but it will be a lot of work, and potentially, a big public failure."
Happily for me, Elizabeth didn't hesitate. And we've had so much fun doing the podcast together. A highlight, of course, was our live tour in 2019. Last year around this time, we'd started planning where we wanted to go in 2020—then everything shut down. Onward to 2022!
In celebration of the sixth anniversary, just for fun, I looked up the top six episodes of all time:
- Episode 265: Why you should give a “Sensorium Gift” and how to create one, a deep dive into listeners’ suggestions for walking 20 minutes every day in 2020, and a conversation hack.
- Episode 202: Use the Checklist for Habit Change, how to encourage conversation with children, and the challenge of planning office birthday celebrations.
- Little Happier: Yet More Good Advice from My Father. My father gave me excellent advice: if I think I might be ready for a change, I’m probably already long overdue.
- Episode 203: We reveal our "19 for 2019 lists," suggest the "1 Second Every Day" app for holding on to memories, and give gold stars for 2018.
- Episode 240: For this Very Special Episode, we talk about the Emergency Kit for Anxiety—a long list of strategies to put to work immediately to manage anxiety, worry, stress, and fear.
- Episode 201: Choose a one-word theme for the year, a talk with Chris Guillebeau, and what’s been your most significant resolution?
This year, we're continuing our tradition of sharing favorite podcast moments with a new added twist: listener feedback! We asked listeners to share their favorites of all time via email, social, or by leaving a review. We had such fun reading the responses.
Elizabeth and I are always fascinated to hear what suggestions and discussions have resonated most with listeners. Gold star to everyone who shared their experience.
Here's a round-up of listeners' favorite Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast moments, from the past six years:
- **So many people mentioned when Elizabeth talked about the electric Ped Egg that she bought for her mother-in-law in episode 85, as part of the question, "Have you ever been upset by a well-intentioned gift?" Rarely have I laughed so hard.
- **Many listeners also mentioned attending the Happier live podcast tour.
- Luis: "Trying one new thing for a month (episode 214). Loved your Little Happier episode about your fascination with Dolly Parton in May 2019. She continues to amaze."
- Emily: "I used your podcast as an example in an English college class. They had to create one. I commented that I listen to Happier when I workout. And the student in the back was like, “What? How?” A few moments later he said, “Wait. I kinda get it.” It was the episode on Power Hour."
- Lori: "My favorite episode is when Gretchen tidied Elizabeth’s closet. And I also love when you unveil your lists (21 for 2021) for the year. I was inspired to do one this year for the first time."
- Tracy: "I do think probably the biggest change I have made in my life thanks to your podcast is the #walk20in20. I did not miss a day of movement last year and haven't missed a day this year. I truly believe it helped me survive a very tough year (lost my husband after a 3 1/2 year battle with cancer). I regularly get over 10,000 steps at least five days a week now."
- Kristy: "It's hard to pick a favorite moment, but I am especially grateful for my 20 in 2020 list. The list included "visit 10 museums / exhibits." That goal propelled me out of my cozy hotel room on a cold and blustery February day in London into the country side where I spent the afternoon exploring Hampton Court. The next day I hit a King Tut exhibit and the British Museum. Who knew how things would change in a few short weeks. Without that 20 in 2020 list, I doubt I would have left the hotel that weekend—it was so cold and windy. So grateful I did."
- Tanya: "'Get to steppin' is one of my all-time favorites."
- Susan: "One of my favorite moments is the choosing your word idea. It’s been really inspirational for me!"
- Erin: "The practice I use most consistently is to consider what I can do to lighten the load for Future Me, whether it is getting the coffee pot ready for tomorrow, choosing outfits for the week, or even something larger, like reorganizing holiday items to make next year more pleasant."
- Abby: "My favorite at home tip was #designyoursummer and be a tourist in your own city."
- Diane: "My favorite hack is to review your photos each day by searching for the date but without a specific year. Then take the time to go through just those photos to weed out what isn’t needed and enjoy the others. I do that every day now and I look forward to it."
- Sasha: "My biggest impacting moment that really changed my life was a Christmas hack years ago now. Talking about focusing on “who you want to be on Christmas Day” rather than what will happen with the person who usually triggers you. THIS has permanently changed Christmas for me."
- Karen: "I love adding whimsy and secret spaces to my home. I turned an unneeded closet into a secret hideaway for my grandkids with fairy lights, cute wall clings, colorful paint and pillows. They love it."
- Deb: "I'm very grateful to you for getting me thinking about 'Whom do you envy?' I was devastated to lose my beloved job last month but now I'm taking the opportunity to learn the skill that the people I envy have. I'm pretty excited."
- Katelin: "Gretchen, your Summer of Proust inspired my Summer of Harry Potter and my spring of Jane Austen- a fun way to put a theme on a time of the year!"
- Dave: "Of all of the useful advice you have given us, the one that has saved me the most time is the one about looking really carefully for lost items in the place that you most expected it to be. This really works and you have saved me from hours of uselessly searching the whole house for what was actually in my rucksack."
- Katie: "One of my favorite hacks is an early one, Elizabeth’s 'hot sauce and salt.' It truly elevates everything, including the emergency drive through meal, the healthy meal that you don’t want to eat but you know you should, and the gourmet meal you marinated and braised for hours. I always have Yellow Bird hot sauce and Malden sea salt in hand; and it has made me happier every time I’ve used this simple hack."
- Mary: "Open Things Carefully! Such a small one, but one that my husband and I quote often! He is not as big of a fan as I am, but sometimes when we used to take road trips, he would oblige me and listen in the car. That happiness hack was on and it was like it was made for us! I am terrible at opening things carefully—packages of things, especially soda are the main things I tear open without thinking and it really frustrates him. We often just smile and say in unison, 'Open things carefully!' when we notice."
- Jen: "It's still new, but 21 minutes of reading in '21 has made me giddy. I've been a lifelong reader, but somehow was having trouble making time for it as life got busier and busier. By having permission to do it during the day—not at night when I'm always too tired—has been a game changer. I've done it every day since you first mentioned it and feel like a new person. I can't believe how I've let something I love so much fall so far down on my priority list. Thank you for helping me put it back near the top."
Tomorrow on the podcast, Elizabeth and I will look back at our favorite moments. Then, in our upcoming Very Special Episode 320, we'll do a deep dive into listeners' favorite moments. So keep sharing the try-this-at-homes, hacks, stories, episodes, and interviews that stuck out to you!
Finally, a huge THANK YOU to all of our listeners.
One Last Thing
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