5 Things Making Me Happy


For the last several years, my sister Elizabeth and I have been making an annual list of things we want to accomplish in the coming year. In episode 407 of the Happier podcast, we review our “22 for ‘22” lists and report on our progress. I crossed 13 items off my list of 22—and three of those, I squeezed into the last two weeks.

Sometimes, we play off the year; this year, Elizabeth’s list included “Read 22 novels.” We try to include a mix of demanding and easy items, items we want to do and things we want to have done; and for morale, I always include at least one item that I can easily accomplish on day #1. (This year, that was item #4, “Buy a big backpack for travel.”) This kind of list feels more fun and creative than the typical New Year’s resolution.


Gretchen Rubin

5 Things Making Me Happy


I love color, and each year, I can’t wait to see what Pantone will select as its Color of the Year. For 2023, it’s “Viva Magenta.” I wouldn’t describe this red-family color as “magenta,” but of course color names are very tricky (I write about this problem in my unpublished play-hooky book “My Color Pilgrimage”). After I saw the announcement and the color, I took a screenshot of Pantone 18-1750 and went to look for this color during my daily visit to the Met. I love going on a color search; it’s one of my favorite how-to-look-more-closely games. Turns out Viva Magenta is fairly hard to find, though I found a few close matches.


For many people, the state of my sofa would not make them happy. But as an “under-buyer” and a “finisher,” it gave me a real feeling of satisfaction to see something so used up, then it gave me a boost to know that I was finally getting it fixed.


I was charmed, and also puzzled, by this collection of Victorian Christmas cards. Sure, Victorians had a different relationship with the holiday of Christmas than we do today—but still, I couldn’t imagine the logic of some of these images. What’s the connection between the egg classroom and Christmas?


Because of my interest in the five senses, a thoughtful listener sent me this short, thought-provoking article by musician Brian Eno. As someone who has special love for the sense of smell, I was fascinated by his argument and observations.


For me, outer order contributes to inner calm, and I find clutter-clearing very energizing—I even find stories of other people’s encounters with clutter to be energizing. I got a big jolt of satisfaction from reading this article about how reviewing the contents of a cupboard in London’s Natural History Museum turned up a fossil that significantly changes the understanding of lizard evolution. You never know what you’ll find when you clear out a cupboard!


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  • Holiday Bingo! Can you cross off a whole row of seasonal prompts before the year ends?

Episodes and Articles

A Little Happier

A Little Happier

The Things That Go Wrong Often Make the Best Memories—Like My Daughter’s Tough Train Trip



Neil Pasricha is a New York Times bestselling author of seven books, including The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation.

Happier Podcast


407: We Review our “22 for 22 Lists,” Reflect on Getting “Rest” in 2022, and Share a Travel Hack


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Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.