Get weekly newsletter updates from Gretchen.

Podcast 250: Very Special Episode: We Review Our “19 for 2019” Lists and Report on How We Did.


Looking for holidays gifts?

  • If you're looking for a quick, free, easy, wonderful gift, give the Gift of Podcast!
  • For gift ideas for someone who already loves podcasts, look here.
  • If you’d like to give my books with free, signed bookplates, request them now to make sure you receive it before the holidays. Click on this link to fill out the request form.
  • At long last, we have merchandise! There are Four Tendencies and Happier podcast t-shirts, mugs, hoodies, and tote bags. Buy something for yourself, put an item on your holiday wish list, or buy gifts for others here.

Announcement: The next choice for the Happier Podcast Book Club is....Adrienne Brodeur’s gripping memoir, Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me.

We both raced through this book, and  it's getting a tremendous amount of buzz and acclaim. Here's the description:

On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was 14, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me.

Adrienne instantly became her mother's confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband's closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne's life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.

Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It's a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.

Very Special Episode: In episode 203, we revealed our “19 for 2019” lists. We did this for 2018 too. We've been surprised and gratified by how enthusiastically people embrace this approach to the new year. Now, we report back.

Elizabeth's list: She decided to do "9 for 2019" because she did 36 for 2018 (she did a double list, because she had so many things she wanted to do), and she didn't get many of them accomplished.

  1. Visit the Integratron in Joshua Tree National Park, as discussed in Happier in Hollywood episode 72.
  2. Throw an adult dinner party. She's done this with families, but now wants to do a party just for adults. She's going to suggest starting a "dinner club" with some friends.
  3. Plan a weekend away with Adam—repeat from 2018.
  4. Hold a Happier in Hollywood retreat. DONE.
  5. Plan a Happier in Hollywood meet-up. DONE.
  6. Learn to make a perfect guacamole. At one of our shows, an audience member suggested getting the Rick Bayless mix, which Elizabeth has embraced. DONE.
  7. Buy the perfect long gold necklace. She has identified a few good ones for when she's ready. [Because this item was on Elizabeth's list, I decided I needed the perfect gold necklace too, and I did buy one!]

    The perfect gold necklace.

  8. Get Fraxel. DONE.
  9. Spend time with college friends—repeat from 2018. PARTLY DONE.

My list:

  1. Give away Christmas decorations we don’t want. DONE.
  2. Figure out what to do with My Color Pilgrimage, the little book I wrote out of my obsession with the subject of color. IN PROCESS, MAYBE.
  3. Get to inbox zero, at least for one moment. DONE TO MY CURRENT STANDARD.
  4. Create more terrific merchandise for Happier and my books. DONE.
  5. Use phone technology to make my life easier. I want to get in the habit of dictating texts, using Siri reminders, deleting apps I don’t use, etc. DONE BUT I WANT TO DO MORE.
  6. Stop eating off other people’s plates. BETTER BUT NOT PERFECT. As promised, here's the Checklist for Habit Change.
  7. Learn to play the ukulele—at least one song. If you want to listen to our interview with the brilliant writer and cartoonist Roz Chast, where she talks about her love for the ukulele, it's here.
  8. Launch a daily Flash Briefing and an accompanying podcast. I CROSSED THIS OFF MY LIST.
  9. Have a Summer of Proust. DONE
  10. On my book tour, read children's literature instead of watching HGTV before-and-after shows, which for some reason is what I want to do when I'm alone in a hotel room. DONE
  11. Visit the Museum of Illusions in New York City with my daughters. DONE.
  12. Take Eliza to Las Vegas. PLANNED FOR JANUARY.
  13. Make a scrapbook of “now.”
  14. Walk faster. SOMETIMES.
  15. Plan a 2020 reunion for my year of law clerks. I TRIED.
  16. Have six people over for dinner, six times. WE DID THIS ONCE, AND ARE NOW FIRED UP TO DO MORE.
  17. Figure out what, if anything, to do with the little pieces I wrote a few years ago for the New York Times Motherlode site about my love of picture books. I CROSSED THIS OFF MY LIST.
  18. Mad Men binge watch—it would take 92 hours!
  19. Use the "1 Second Everyday" app. DONE

In January, we'll reveal our "20 for 20" lists. Be thinking of what you want to put on your list, and send us your ideas—we often get great ideas for our own lists from listeners.

Demerit: For everything we haven’t done...

Gold Star: For all the things we did do.


  • I recently updated my newsletter structure. I'm now sending out a weekly email called 5 things making me happy this week. I share this list, links to all recent blog posts and podcasts, updates about new books and projects, and more resources to help you create the life you want. Subscribe to this free email newsletter here.
  • If you’d like to give one of my books along with a free, signed bookplate, don’t forget to request now to make sure you receive it before the holidays. Click on this link to fill out the request form.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

More Episodes For You

icon onward

One Last Thing

Want a new podcast to listen to?

With the same vibe as “Happier,” The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life, made better.”

Learn More

Get My Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.