367: Try a 30-Day Challenge and the Joy of Scratch-Offs. Frank Bruni Talks About “The Beauty of Dusk.”


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Try This at Home

Pursue a series of monthly challenges. In episode 363, we talked about the challenge of pushing beyond a 30-day challenge. If you don’t like the prospect of trying to push past milestone after milestone, a listener suggested using a series of smaller 30-day challenges that support an aim. You can also try a series of disconnected challenges, as a way to experiment. I mention the Don’t Break the Chain Habit Tracker and the Know Yourself Better Journal. I also mention the two free “Jump-Starts”: Jump-Start for Rest and Jump-Start for Movement

Happiness Hack

A listener pointed out that it’s now possible to buy scratch-off stickers and turn anything into a custom scratch-off. So fun! Here’s an example of scratch-off stickers

InterviewFrank Bruni 

Frank Bruni has been a prominent journalist for more than thirty years–most of them, at the New York Times, where he has been a White House correspondent, Rome bureau chief, chief restaurant critic, and an op-ed columnist. He’s also written three bestselling books. These days, he’s a professor at Duke University. He has a new memoir, The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found (AmazonBookshop). In late 2017, Frank Bruni woke up one morning with impaired vision.

It turned out that a stroke had cut off blood to his optic nerve, which left him without sight in one eye, and the same disorder put his other eye at risk, too. In his memoir, he writes about what he learned about himself and from others through this experience. We discuss topics such as…

  • a beautiful passage where he sums up his experience
  • his recent piece in the New York Times, “How Many of Us Just Fake Our Confidence and Calm?” where he explains his “Sandwich Board Theory of Life” and what that means
  • the significance of the memoir’s subtitle,“Vision Lost and Vision Found”
  • how his experience with his eyesight contributed to his decision to get a dog
  • why he sought out the experiences of other people, and how his relationships deepened

Frank Bruni’s Tendency: Questioner.
Frank Bruni’s Try This at Home: Take a walk outside – no earbuds, no phone. 

Demerits & Gold Stars

Gretchen’s Demerit: One of the entries on my “22 for 22” list is to “Get caught up on my photo albums.” I did make the physical albums, which is great, but I keep procrastinating about handwriting the captions–so I can’t cross this item off my list. 

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth loves Wordle, and now she loves Quordle—four Wordles at once.


  • Head to @gretchenrubin for an Instagram Live conversation with Dan Harris of Ten Percent Happier – March 3, 2022, at 5:30 pm ET. We’ll talk about meditation, rest, and more.
  • If you’d like the free #Rest22in2022 PDF, you can download it here.

What we’re reading

  • Elizabeth: Listening to The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader’s Tale of Spectacular Excess by Turney Duff (AmazonBookshop)
  • GretchenChattering by Louise Stern (Amazon)

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