Podcast 258: Try the “Pair & Share” Method, Have a Tricky Conversation with Neighbors, and a Conversation with “Yoga Girl” Rachel Brathen.


We’ve received many great suggestions about the “20 for 2020” lists. For instance, consider these ideas:

  • Make a list that’s longer than 20, so you can pick and choose from a menu of options instead of seeing bound to an inflexible list
  • Make the twentieth item “At some point during the year, rake one thing off the list and replace it with something more important to me”
  • Remember, this is a list of things you want to do—you’re going to do them, but only because you want to
  • Keep track of what you’re learning, so by the end of the year, you can see how far you’ve come
  • Assign a month to each item, to give a time frame for completion

Try This at Home

Try the “Pair and Share” method.

I got this idea from my daughter Eliza, who does “Pair & Share” with her boyfriend Daniel.

The Strategy of Pairing is very powerful for forming habits. It can also be a fun approach.

The book that Sarah wanted Elizabeth to read is Seventrees by Janice Young Brooks.

Happiness Hack

Our listener Maggie suggests using an app to assign yourself chores randomly—like a digital chore wheel. She uses Tiny Decisions, and there are many others. I


Rachel Brathen, also known as Yoga Girl. She’s a world-famous yoga instructor who teaches workshops and leads retreats around the world, she wrote the New York Times bestselling book Yoga Girl, and has more than two million followers on Instagram (@yoga_girl). She also has a popular podcast called Yoga Girl: Conversations from the Heart.

Now she has a new memoir To Love and Let Go: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Gratitude, and we couldn’t wait to talk to her about it.

Rachel is an Obliger, by the way. I mentioned her Yoga Girl episode from October 18, 2019, “Battling Burnout.”

Rachel’s Try This at Home tip: Rachel suggests a structured “sharing“: Find an important topic, pair with another person, set a timer for five minutes, and one person silently listens as the other person addresses that topic, then they switch. Both people get the chance to do active listening, and also speaking without interruption.

Listener Answers

In episode 254, a listener was making great progress with her resolution to go for a daily walk. She was in a good routine of walking her son to the bus stop, then continuing on a daily walk herself, but some other mothers asked to join her, and now she wished she had that time back to herself.

We received terrific answers from listeners. Many people emphasized that “Honesty is the best policy” in this situation, and suggested language to help explain the way she felt.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: She had a lot of downtime over the break, and intended to “get organized,” and all she managed to do was put away the Christmas decorations.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: UPDATE! I give a gold star to the podcast Second Date Update from Brooke and Jubal in the Morning, but many thoughtful listeners contacted me to let me know that this format is very likely FICTION. I was far too credulous and believed that the calls were real (even though, now that I think about it, I realize how improbable this is).

Here’s a link discussing how professional actors are used: Your Favorite Wacky Morning Radio Show Is a Festival of Lies. It’s still entertaining, but of course, the whole experience of listening is different when you know the situations might not be real.

Note: If you’re still curious and want to listen, you might want to listen at a time when you’re not with children. And it might not be a show for you, either! People on the show don’t always show the best values or behave in kind and respectful ways. But it’s sure fascinating.


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