Gretchen Rubin

Podcast 157: Third Anniversary! Our Most Popular Try-This-at-Home Tips, Happiness Hacks & Favorite Moments.


It’s our third anniversary, so we’re highlighting what happened this year, our most popular Try-This-at-Home tips and Happiness Hacks, and also swapping some our favorite moments.

In our personal lives, a lot happened. Recently, Elizabeth's pilot The Fix got picked up, and the Happier in Hollywood podcast launched in March -- already more than one million downloads!

For me, my book The Four Tendencies hit the shelves, and my daughter Eliza left for college -- a big family milestone.

Try-This-at-Homes that proved most popular with listeners:

  • Elizabeth and I challenged ourselves to wear “clothes” in episode 154. This idea really resonated with listeners, so we'll do a deep dive in the future.
  • "Create your '18 for 2018' list" – we discussed this idea in episode 149, it struck such a nerve that we did a deep dive in episode 152, and people are still passionately discussing their lists.
  • "Create a 'ta-da' list" in episode 134here's the post where I talk about the to-do list, why a to-do list doesn’t work for everyone, and alternatives, such as the “to-day list,” “could-do list,” “might-could list.”
  • Because Elizabeth and I both love to read, it was gratifying to see how enthusiastic people were about ideas related to reading: "Get more reading done" in episode 121 and "Consider reading children's literature" in episode 132.
  • "Start your own side hustle" in episode 116 -- we were inspired by Chris Guillebeau's brilliant Side Hustle School podcast. We hear from a lot of people on questions related to their side hustles.
  • “Make use of an under-used area of your home” in episode 126. It was very satisfying to see how people transformed their homes to make them more comfortable and useful.

If you'd like to see my list of my 81 favorite works of children's and young-adult literature, you can request it here.

If you'd like to get my one-pager "Reading Better Than Before", you can request it here.

Happiness Hacks:

  • "Always look behind you when you get up to leave a restaurant, a car, an airplane seat, etc." in episode 119.
  • "Buy spices as a travel souvenir" in episode 114. Elizabeth was just talking about spices on Happier in Hollywood, episode 38.
  • "Use a Ziploc bag instead of toiletry bag when traveling" in episode 124.
  • "Start a two-person book group" in episode 122 (another way to read more).
  • "Use a file box for mementos" in episode 133. If you want to see the file boxes that I use, you can see them here. (There's nothing special about the box I bought, but many people ask which one I use, and it's here.)
  • "Use the Flic app to manage your photos" in episode 152. People love this app.
  • "Ask: 'What would you do, if you were in my situation?'" in episode 142.

Favorite moments:

  • We loved our “unplugged” episode 150! People are always interested in our sisterly relationship.
  • Another great moment was when the legendary Roz Chast explained why we should all play the ukulele in episode 149. I was so inspired that I bought ukuleles for Eliza and Eleanor.
  • Elizabeth gave me a great tour around the Disney Lot in episode 137's "Bring your sister to work" episode.
  • A listener asked a very thought-provoking question in episode 147, about her difficulties with her clutter-creating in-laws.
  • Elizabeth liked getting to play her "That was easy" button for episode 146's "Introduce a note of whimsy."
  • A moment of triumph: Elizabeth grills! As discussed in episode 139.
  • Listeners helped me and Eliza tremendously as we were preparing for her to head to college, as we discussed in episodes 122 and 125.
  • It was so much fun to see everyone’s enthusiasm for writing haiku, as we suggested in episode 117, for #happierpodcast.

In honor of that Try This at Home, we each wrote a haiku for our third anniversary.


Has it been three years?

Seems both longer and shorter.

Days long, but years short.


Three years and still true:

The Evil Donut-Bringer

Haunts my days at work.

Yes, the Evil Donut-Bringer! An ongoing and often controversial subject.

In episode 138 and elsewhere, we talk about donut-alternative options for showing support for the office team (bring in Fresca or LaCroix, boxes of coffee-to-go from Starbucks, a puzzle, a set of word magnets, festive holiday decorations, sea monkeys).

I must note: many people disagree with the very premise of this! They think it’s fine to bring the donuts.

Gold Star: We give a big gold star to listeners -- thanks so much for listening, writing in, calling in, posting, and sharing so many great ideas.

Also, a gold star for everyone who rated and reviewed the podcast. In episodes 126 and 153, we described how to do this, and we so appreciate everyone making the effort.

And also a gold star for our advertisers, whose support means that everyone can listen for free to the podcast


1. If you'd like the "Checklist for Habit Change" that was mentioned in episode 148, go here and scroll down.

2. If you'd like to sign up for the "Moment of Happiness," my free daily email with a happiness quotation, sign up here.

3. If you'd like to get my free monthly newsletter, click here.

I do a weekly live show on Facebook called: “Ask Gretchen Rubin Live.” Usually, I do it on Mondays at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

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