Bonus: To Celebrate Our Fifth Anniversary, A Blast from the Past! Listen to Our Very First Episode.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, we present our very first episode, along with some reflections.

As if often the case, Elizabeth and I felt as though we recorded this a very long time ago, and also just a few weeks ago.

In that spirit, here’s what we talked about on that first episode airing February 25, 2015:

One of the main aims of my happiness projects—in both The Happiness Project and Happier at Home—was to spend more time with my brilliant, hilarious sister, because my relationship with her is one of the most important in my life. And if you read Better Than Before, you’ll discover that my sister is a major figure there—because she is the guinea pig/beneficiary/innocent victim of some of my most determined attempts to shape someone else’s habits.

As it happens, for years my sister and I have talked about the fact that we should have a radio show or YouTube show together. “It would be so fun! We could discuss all our brilliant musings!” we’d say to each other, but it never seemed possible. So the minute I started to consider this podcast, I knew: this was the opportunity we’ve been waiting for. And it has been so fun to collaborate with my sister. (By the way, this is a good example of why it’s good to do some pie-in-the-sky dreaming from time to time. That way, you’re more ready for new chances.)

Try This at Home

To keep clutter under control, use the one-minute rule. As noted, I’ve been surprised by the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm.

Know Yourself Better

Are you a satisficer or a maximizer? Read more about this distinction in Barry Schwartz’s book, The Paradox of Choice.

Happiness Stumbling Block

The one-coin loophole. You’re trying to keep a habit, but just this once, you’re going to let yourself off the hook. This loophole gets its name from “the argument of the growing heap,” which I learned about in Erasmus’s Praise of Folly.

“If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”

Listener Questioner

A listener asks, “Does checking Facebook make people feel happier and more connected, or more lonely and sad?”

Gretchen’s Demerit: I snuck emailing while talking to my husband on the phone.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives her treadmill desk a gold star. (In Better Than Before, I explain why I gave this gift to her, her very funny reaction, why she loves it so much, etc.)

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