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Podcast 267: Write a Letter of Congratulations to Your Future-Self, Solutions to School Spirit T-Shirt Overload, and Why I Should Check My Calendar.


NOTE: In calmer times, Elizabeth and I had both planned to travel with our families for spring break, so we recorded a few episodes in advance—so this episode was recorded before the COVID-19 situation took hold. Given the rapidly changing situation, it’s jarring to hear us ignore the issue—and that’s why. We decided to go ahead and release the episode, because so many people have said that they find it helpful to have a respite from current events. We hope you enjoy this break.

If you'd like to listen to our bonus episode, "Coping with COVID-19: How to Stay Happier and Calmer in Difficult Times," click here. For all resources related to coping with this situation, click here.

UPDATE: For my April Fool’s trick, I put gel food dye around the inside of the bathroom faucet, so that the water would turn purple.

Try This at Home: Write a letter of congratulations to your future-self.

Write a letter to your future self, to say congratulations for having achieved whatever you want to achieve. In that letter, outline the steps you took that allowed you to be so successful. How did you handle predictable challenges? What changes did you make in your life? Put in as much detail as possible.

Think about your Tendency, too, and what messages and approaches tend to resonate with an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel. (Don't know your "Tendency?" Take the quick, free quiz here.)

I mentioned the 21 strategies for habit change. You can get the "Checklist for Habit Change" one-pager here (scroll down to "Better Than Before"). Note, this one-pager is more valuable when you've read Better Than Before, my book about how to change habits, because you understand how to use each of the strategies.

Happiness Hack: Because this is the season of spring cleaning: If you can't go outside, combine your twenty minutes of daily walking with clutter-clearing on a rainy day. #Walk20in20.

Know Yourself Better: Would you rather have one excellent example of something, like gloves or an umbrella, or many cheap versions?

Listener Answers: In episode 261, we talked about a question from the listener A.J., a teacher who feels pressure to buy t-shirts to celebrate various holidays at her school.

  • Many people suggested wearing the same shirt from year to year.
  • Many people pointed out that making all these specialty t-shirts is very wasteful—especially the idea of a t-shirt only printed for Earth Day!
  • Listeners suggested having a single t-shirt that could be customized or could be a single “spirit t-shirt” to stand for all the different celebrations.
  •  Listeners suggested finding other items to use for the special days, such as buttons, bandanas, caps, etc. For buttons—we talk about using button-makers in episode 239; here's an example of a button maker.

Gretchen's Demerit: Before debating whether or not to do something, I should check my calendar. Often I can't do something, so there was no need for any decision fatigue.

Elizabeth's Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the idea of adult game night. She recommends Cards Against Humanity and Taboo. Some retro, fun games are Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary.


  • If you’re interested in using this time to learn more about yourself through my Four Tendencies video course, I’m offering an extreme discount price of only $25. (This is $74 off the normal price of $99). You have lifetime access to the course material and can go at your own pace or follow the 5-week structure. Click here to join for only $25—no code needed.
  • We don't talk about COVID-19 in this episode, but if you'd like to check out the resources I've created for coping during this crisis, click here.
  • Did you know that I have a free, online quiz to help you discover if you’re an Obliger, Upholder, Questioner or Rebel? It takes less than 5 minutes and you get the result instantly. Visit
  • Curious what I’ve been reading? Follow me on Goodreads or check out my monthly “What I Read” blog posts. If I like a book enough to finish it, it’s on the list.

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