Podcast 238: Back-to-School Habits, and Marie Forleo Talks About How Everything Is “Figureoutable.”

Try This at Home

Help your family create better back-to-school habits. 

Every year, we have to re-think our family patterns, as children get older and more independent, change activities and schedules, and perhaps change schools.

On the ever-popular subject of the snooze alarm: Eliza  uses the app Alarmy, which makes her do math problems to turn off the alarm. The mental effort forces her to wake up.

In Better Than Before, I identify 21 strategies that we can use to master our habits. All can be used, but some of the most widely helpful for families include:

  • Strategy of Monitoring – Actually figure out how long the morning routine actually takes. When Eleanor started walking to school by herself, I told her to time it a few times from our front door to her classroom, so she really knew.
  • Strategy of Distinctions – Remember, people are very different from each other, but we parents often try to make our children form the habits that work for us.  Don’t assume that because something works for you—that you work best at a desk, or in a space that’s very quiet and spare, or you think most clearly early in the morning, or you like to get everything finished well before the deadline, or you like to have a lot of supervision—that the same is true for your child.
  • Strategy of Other People – To a huge degree, we’re influenced by other people’s habits. So if we want our children to adopt a habit, we need to adopt that habit ourselves! If you want them to be organized in the morning, be organized yourself. If you want them to go to sleep on time, go to sleep on time yourself.


Happiness Hack

Set the goal of visiting every local branch of your city’s library.

It encourages reading, encourages you to get to know your city, can be a fun adventure, and has that quest element. Plus whimsy!


Marie Forleo is a coach, a speaker, an author and host of the wildly popular web television show Marie TV where she explores the ideas, tools, and strategies to help people create a business and life they love. She’s host of The Marie Forleo Podcast, and she’s the founder of B-School, an online business school.

As if that’s not enough, she has a brand new book: Everything is Figureoutable: How One Simple Belief Can Help Us Overcome Any Obstacle and Create Unstoppable Success.

In the Four Tendencies framework, Marie is an Upholder. Marie’s Try This at Home is “Create before you consume.” For instance, before consuming the contents of your email, create by spending 45 minutes on a writing project. 

Gretchen with Marie Forleo

Elizabeth’s Demerit

Classic: after the Happier in Hollywood Q-and-A cocktail party, Elizabeth had a lot of food left over—including cake pops. Elizabeth ate many cake pops over the next several days.

Gretchen’s Gold Star

I give a gold star to my daughter Eliza, for suggesting that we take a class together at the famous New York City shop Murray’s Cheese. In my Christmas stocking, she put a “gift certificate” for us to have this adventure together. This was a lot of fun, and also ties to my interest in the five senses. 


  1. Tickets now on sale for all our live events this fall! Visit gretchenrubin.com/events for all dates, ticket links, and details. 
  2. Want to work “Better Than Before?” Download my free PDF at gretchenrubin.com/resources for tips and strategies for improving your work habits.




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