Podcast 162: Write It Down (Really), How an Obliger/Obliger Couple Can Create Accountability, and a Quick, Fun Hack


Did you notice our April Fool’s Day trick in the introduction?

Yesterday, I celebrated the twelfth anniversary of my blog. It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing here for twelve years. If you’d like to read about how I got the idea for starting a blog, I write about it in The Happiness Project. If you’d like to read some of my favorite posts, you can check out my e-book The Best of The Happiness Project Blog: Ten Years of Happiness, Good Habits, and More, which I put together for my tenth anniversary.

Try This at Home

Write it down. It’s so obvious, but so true, and bears repeating: if you want to remember something, write it down. Secret of Adulthood: Always remember how easy it is to forget.

If you want to hear the longer version of my story about Eleanor’s passport, it’s in episode 31.

I mention my short biography of John F. Kennedy: Forty Ways to Look at JFK.

Happiness Hack

This is a very simple hack if you need a fun, random diversion: “Find out what your name would be if you were born today.” My name today would be Ariah; Elizabeth’s name would be Grace. The site tells you what your name would’ve been in many other decades as well, by using popularity rankings. Useless but amusing.

Four Tendencies Tip

Our listener Sammy suggests a brilliant way for two married Obligers to hold each other accountable, even though sweethearts usually don’t make good accountability partners. (In a romantic relationship, the other person counts as “inner” not “outer” for expectations.)

Her solution: Assume a role, so each person feels accountable to that role. She and her husband take turns acting as “Head Chef” and also as “Chief Financial Officer.” These roles allow them to enforce expectations related to cooking, shopping, and budget. So simple, so ingenious.

If you don’t know whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Rebel, or — like Sammy and her husband — Obliger, you can take the quiz here.

Listener Question

Donna, a Questioner, asks how a Questioner can get through a job interview that requires answering many pointless, frivolous questions.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth’s “18 for 2018” list included “Take a spin class,” and although she expected that she’d do that right away, in January, she still hasn’t gone to a class.


Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a gold star to the drugstore chain Duane Reade, for providing a secure bin where I could dispose of my unneeded prescription medication. I’d been wondering for a long time what to do with these pill bottles, and by getting them off my shelf, I freed up a lot of very valuable medicine cabinet space.




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