Podcast 301: Embrace an Attitude of Gratitude for What This Unprecedented Season Offers, a Deep Dive into Listeners’ Personal Policies, and a Money Hack.

Try This at Home

Show an attitude of gratitude by embracing what is instead of lamenting what’s not—for this strange Thanksgiving.

Happiness Hack

Turn in your coins to get cash.

If you want to learn more about how and why to turn in your coins, you can read the Wirecutter’s article “Dig out your loose change. It’s time to turn it into cash money” and Bankrate’s “The coin conundrum: Why coins are still scarce and how it affects consumers.” I mention that you can buy coin-sorter machines that are fairly inexpensive, like this one.

Deep Dive: Personal Policies

In episode 296, we suggested the Try this at Home of “Establish your personal policy,” and asked listeners for their personal policies.

We got a huge response! It was fascinating and helpful to learn about people’s policies. Here are the ones we discussed, plus a few extra ideas we didn’t have time to include in the episode.

Saying yes 

  • Always say yes to a walk with a friend.
  • Say “Yes” to as many things as possible. 
  • Pandemic policy: always answer my phone.
  • Family policy: only one scheduled event per weekend day or weeknight.
  • Serve on only one nonprofit board at a time.

Saying no

  • Take no for an answer — that is, if someone tells me “no,” don’t press that person or try to find a solution, because that person’s “no” may just be a polite way of turning me down.
  • Don’t attend to multilevel marketing parties. Elizabeth mentions the podcast The Dream, Season 1.
  • For a pool visit, guests can stay a maximum of two hours.


  •  Give to two chosen charities per year.
  • For school fundraisers, don’t buy single-use t-shirts, or anything that I’m not positive that I’ll use.


  • Put on a swimming suit and get in the water.
  • Announce, “Our family is not afraid of bees.”
  • Always stop at children’s lemonade stands. Note: of all the policies we heard about, this one was mentioned most often!
  • When traveling, don’t eat at any chain restaurants.


  • Don’t open my computer on Sundays.
  • Don’t accept “friend” or “follow“ requests on social media from any of my current high-school students or players.

  Rule of 3

  • If I hear about a book three times in random ways, then I must read that book. Which leads to another policy….always pass a good book along to a friend.


  • Never send my mother’s phone calls to voicemail, and never be the first one to hang up.

Gretchen’s Demerit: Because Eliza is away, I’ve been dumping random stuff in her room, instead of figuring out where to put it away properly. Even though I know perfectly well that outer order leads to inner calm!

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the character actor Leslie Allen Jordan, who has a wonderful Instagram feed, @thelesliejordan. She especially loves when he sings a hymn every Sunday.


  • Want to get regular book recommendations from me in your inbox? Each month I review books I read that month and I also occasionally write lists of recommended books on a topic. If you want to make sure you get these in your email inbox visit gretchenrubin.com/newsletter and select “book recommendations.”
  • Looking for a new, creative way to identify your aims for 2021? Try making a “21 for 2021” list! List twenty-one things you’d like to do by 2022. These items can be easy or ambitious; one-time undertakings or habits that stretch for years; fun or more demanding. To help you get started, I’ve created a PDF for you to organize your list. Click here to download.




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