Podcast 307: We Reveal Our “21 for ‘21” Lists, Discuss a Hack for Staying in Touch, and Give a Gold Star to a Documentary.


Huge news! With her writing partner Sarah Fain, Elizabeth is show-running a reboot of the iconic show Fantasy Island. Coming to Fox in the late summer. We’ll talk about her unfolding adventures on Happier, of course, but for a more detailed discussion of how a TV show gets made, listen to Elizabeth’s other podcast, Happier in Hollywood.

Keeping the semi-anthological format of the original with a handful of main characters living on the island and new guests arriving in every episode, the new Fantasy Island, written and executive produced by Craft and Fain, delves into the “what if” questions that keep us awake at night. Each episode will tell emotional, provocative stories about people who walk in with a desire, but end up reborn to themselves through the magical realism of Fantasy Island.

Try This at Home

Write your “21 for 2021” list.

We’ve talked about this idea many times: as you head into the new year, you make a list of 21 things you’d like to get done in 2021.

Recently, on episode 304, we reviewed how we did with our 20 for 20 lists. In episode 149, we talked about our “18 for 2018” lists; in episode 203, “19 for 2019” lists; in episode 255, “20 for 2020” lists.

Research shows that making a concrete, specific list, and referring back to it, really does help you achieve your aims. And for many people, this approach seems more fun than make traditional new year’s resolutions.

Gretchen’s “21 for ’21”

  1. Make a list of friends and colleagues I want to connect with by phone or Zoom
  2. Make two plans a week to connect with the people on that list
  3. Figure out the light-bulb question
  4. Have a scent party (COVID-19 permitting)
  5. Have a taste party (ditto)
  6. Try cryotherapy
  7. Make an Album of Now (repeat)
  8. Get my Real I.D. (repeat)
  9. Practice my driving (as I wrote about in Happier at Home, I’m a fearful driver)
  10. Read a Summer of Virginia Woolf
  11. Make an appointment to help me make better outfits from my own clothes
  12. Do 30 minutes of “review” each work day
  13. Add photos to my address book 
  14. Watch Mad Men (repeat)
  15. Look at old photo albums and home videos with my family
  16. Review my giant “happiness” catch-all document
  17. Play around with well-being apps
  18. Get our big red chair recovered
  19. Deal with my sent/trash folders
  20. Shine a spotlight on work I admire; amplify the work of others
  21. Add one new item!


Elizabeth’s “21 for ’21”:

  1. Get the vaccine!
  2. Get a Real I.D.
  3. Celebrate her friend Mike’s 50th birthday with friends
  4. Get Fraxel
  5. Sell two TV pitches
  6. Eat lots of vegetables, and to help with that, avoid using Postmates at night during the week
  7. Do another “sober month”—Dry January
  8. Get through her giant book pile (see below)—#Read21in21! If you want a don’t-break-the-chain sheet for #Read21in21, it’s here
  9. Get a will (repeat)
  10. Educate herself about investing in property
  11. Do a Happier in Hollywood meet-up (post-vaccine)
  12. Walk to Malibu
  13. Continue #Walk20in20—if you want a don’t-break-the-chain sheet for #Walk20in21, it’s here
  14. Weigh herself daily
  15. Use her Waterpic at least three times a week
  16. Create a fiction podcast
  17. Trust her gut, especially at work
  18. Go to Disneyland
  19. Visit Miraval for a friend’s birthday
  20. Take Jack boogie-boarding at least 5 times
  21. In making hiring decisions for Fantasy Island, put her actions behind her intent to provide opportunities for all

We can’t wait to hear listeners’ ideas for their lists.

One listener explained how she embraced using the number “21” for her list:

  • Choose new organization for recurring $21/month donation
  • Donate 21 things from my kitchen
  • Make a list of 21 places to visit before my kid graduates from high school
  • Listen to 21 new-to-me albums
  • Read 21 books by BIPOC authors
  • Complete a 21-day streak of no take-out, including coffee (slated for Frugal February)
  • Complete a 21-day meditation streak of at least 21 minutes each day
  • Lights out for bed by 21:21 at least 21 days each month [that’s 9:21 p.m.]
  • Run at least 2.1 miles on the 21st of each month
  • Read for pleasure 21 (or more) minutes each day [#Read21in21!]
  • Limit social media phone-scrolling to 21 minutes/day
  • Increase monthly savings by 21%

Happiness Hack

A listener’s explained that her extended family loves to cook. Her father gave everyone a copy of the same cookbook, and they enjoy sharing photos and descriptions of the different things they’ve made.

Gretchen’s Demerit

In episode 303, we talked about way to “Exorcise 2020,” and I bought sparklers for us to use on New Year’s Eve to write in the air the things we wanted to burn away. I utterly forgot to get out the sparklers when the day came!

Elizabeth’s Gold Star

Elizabeth gives a gold star to the HBO Max documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart about the legendary musical group.


  • Speaking of the Bee Gees, if you’re looking for some mood-boosting music, we made a Happier 911 list on Spotify. So much great, happy music! Search Spotify playlists for Happier 911. All the songs were suggested by Happier podcast listeners.
  • Are you continuing the “Walk 20” challenge into the new year? To help you track your progress, I’ve created an updated PDF for walking 20 minutes a day in 2021. Click here to download.

If you listen to Happier (or most other podcasts), you hear the hosts ask listeners to rate and review the show. Why? Listeners respect the views of other listeners, so by rating and reviewing—assuming you have good things to say!—you make other people get interested. Rates and reviews also build buzz around the show. 
It’s easy to rate and review—once you know what to do. Click here to find step-by-step instructions. Give yourself a gold star if you’ve subscribed, rated, reviewed, or recommended the show. It really is a tremendous help to Elizabeth and me.

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