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Podcast 226: Celebrate the Summer Solstice by Re-visiting Your One-Word Theme, How Obligers Beat the Allure of the Snooze Alarm, and an Alternative to the Evil Donuts.


Update: Remember, for the Happier Book Club, we'll discuss Lisa Brennan Jobs's fascinating memoir Small Fry during episode 230, which will go live on July 17. If you prefer to read a paperback, the paperback is now available.

Try This at Home: Celebrate the summer (or winter) solstice by re-visiting your one-word theme.

Every year, we choose a one-word or one-phrase theme for the year, and we talked about our one-word themes for 2019 in episode 201.

Elizabeth's past choices have included "Free Time," "Style," "Hot Wheels," "Novel," "Home," and "Control." This year, her theme is "#6." Intriguing!

My themes have included "Upgrade," "Bigger," "Lighten Up," "Re-purpose," and "Delegate." This year, my word is "Growth."

  • To see clips from the public TV show pledge show, you can watch here.
  • To learn more about Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill, look here (the audio-book isn't quite ready yet).
  • To sign up for my monthly newsletter, or for my "Moment of Happiness" daily happiness quotation, sign up here.
  • To learn more about my video courses for The Happiness Project Experience or The Four Tendencies, look here.

Happiness Hack: Way, way back in episode 3 we talked about something that continues to be a subject of controversy until this day—the hotly contested issue of the Evil Donut-Bringer.

An unpublished study about “office cake” in the U.K. showed that on the one hand, many people agreed that office cake was widely available, often store bought, was difficult to resist, and made it very hard to eat healthfully, and on the other hand, people  valued the social benefits of office cake and believed that it cheered people up and brought people together.

So how can we experience the benefits of office cake, without the downsides of office cake?

My daughter Eliza told me about a terrific group activity she did at college—fun with the the Miracle Berry! I bought these to do as a family exercise, we can't wait to try them.

Know Yourself Better: Are you an old soul or a new soul?

Listener Question: An Obliger can't figure out how to conquer the allure of the snooze alarm.

I mention the Mathe Alarm Clock app—it requires you to do a math problem in order to turn off your alarm.

If you don’t know what an Obliger is, take my free online quiz.     

If you want to join my free app where people talk about happiness, the Four Tendencies, habits, and whatever else, join here or search "Better Gretchen Rubin" in the app store.

Elizabeth's Demerit: Friends had offered to have people over to watch The Fix, but she never did it.

Gretchen's Gold Star: I give a gold star to my friend from college Blyth Taylor Lord, who is the founder and executive director of the Courageous Parents Network. It's a nonprofit for parents of children with life-limiting conditions, to help support and equip families to deal with the issues that arise, and to make them feel supported by a community. It's an extraordinary resource.


  • Do you like to color? Check out my coloring book, The Happiness Project Mini Posters. It has great happiness quotations and designs, with thick pages you can color and pull out to frame or give to a friend. It makes a great gift. You can download a free sample page to color at
  • Join the community on my free app, the "Better" app. Visit on your computer or search your app store for “Better Gretchen Rubin.” You can join or create a small accountability group, or simply join the conversation related to habits, happiness, the four tendencies, topics we discuss on the podcast here, and more.

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