Podcast 88: Celebrate holiday breakfasts, Keep a Medical Journal, and the Challenge of Handling Criticism.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Try This at Home: Celebrate a holiday breakfast. (Pictured is a photo of last year’s Halloween holiday breakfast.) I write more about this tradition in The Happiness Project.

Happiness Stumbling Blocks for the Four Tendencies. If you want to take a quiz for the Four Tendencies, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here.

If you want to know when my new book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves, sign up here.

Happiness Hack: Buy a journal for each member of your household (including pets) in which to keep medical notes.

Happiness Stumbling Block: Helle pointed to the stumbling block of handling criticism — even constructive criticism.

Listener Question: Julia asks, “I lose my sense of smell when I eat dairy, but I rebel against this dietary restriction.” You can read more about the Abstainer/Moderator distinction, here’s a post.

Gretchen’s Demerit: If you want to listen to Eliza’s podcast, it’s Eliza Starting at 16.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth give s a gold star to her writing partner Sarah, who, after she discovered that she shouldn’t eat gluten for health reasons, has been able to give it up.

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Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, check the schedule. 

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #88

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HAPPIER listening!

Ta-Da! Announcing My New App, Better — to Understand and Apply the Four Tendencies

I have an exciting announcement.

Ever since I first came up with the Four Tendencies framework, I’ve been more and more interested in it — and more and more people keep asking me questions about it. (Don’t know about the framework? Don’t know if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Go here.)

People want information about the Four Tendencies, and they also want help — they email because they’re eager to join an accountability group, they want to work with a coach who understands the Tendencies, they want to apply the framework with their medical patients or as a manager at work or with their coaching clients. And I hear from a lot of parents who want to use the Tendencies (especially parents of Rebels).

I’m finishing up my book The Four Tendencies (sign up here to hear when it goes on sale in summer 2017), but I also wanted a way for people to exchange ideas and questions. I’ve been staggered by people’s brilliant insights, imaginative solutions, and compelling examples. Henry James couldn’t do better.

So — TA-DA! Presenting my new app Better, an app to help you harness the Four Tendencies framework to create a better life. You can use it as an app on your phone, or you can use it on your desktop.

Why Join?

1. Go deeper into topics related to the Four Tendencies, with access to exclusive conversations, live chats, and the latest research

2. Meet other Obligers, Questioners, Upholders, and Rebels like you to get support, encouragement, and ideas for navigating your Tendency—as well as navigating other people’s Tendencies.

3. Join Accountability Groups tailored to your specific Tendency, one crafted by me and my team. Imagine your own Better Accountability Group—always with you, right in your pocket, where you’ll instantly meet the most relevant members to you and find information about the topics that most interest you — self-management, work, parenting, relationships, health.

4. You may already lead or belong to an Accountability Group — you’re a doctor trying to help your diabetes patients manage their blood sugar, or you’re a trainer trying to help your clients stick to their work-outs, or you’re a dietician trying to help people eat better, or you’ve got a Happiness Project group with your friends. The Better app makes it much easier for that group to connect and to hold each other accountable.

5. The app is easy to use — and fun to use. Really!


Membership is $9.99/month or $100/year. Many people I talked to said that the Better app was equivalent — and equally beneficial — to a Netflix membership. And consider — how much do you spend on your coffee habit?

The fact is, this app is designed and supported by a crack Silicon Valley team. It’s beautiful, easy to use, and constantly being improved. And that costs money.

Side note: for many people, paying will make the app more effective, because they’ll feel more obliged to check in frequently.



Mightybell is my technology partner. If you have questions about how to use the app, contact the excellent team for Better at help@mightybell.com.

You can also check the FAQs for Members.


In the app, you can read about topics such as Work & Career, Love & Relationships, Children & Parenting, Achieving Goals, Productivity, Building Habits, Better Health,  and Guiding Teams, Patient, or Clients.

You can also follow  a topic on each Tendency —  to understand yourself better, if that’s your Tendency, or to understand other people better.

In FAQs, you’ll find common questioners answered.

My favorite topic? Fun with the Four Tendencies. This is where to find fun posts — for instance, I like to posts examples from TV shows and movies of the Four Tendencies, or include signage, or “screw in a light bulb” jokes, and so on. Fun!

Check it out!

I’m really, really excited about this app. We can all learn so much from each other — and the app makes this super-easy, and super-fun to do. I’m so fascinated by the conversation there that it’s actually making it hard for me to get my other work done.

Join, explore — and let me know what you think!

And if you like using the app, I’d so appreciate it if you would rate and review it, and tell your friends about it. That’s a big help.

A Little Happier: Accept a Gift in the Spirit in Which It’s Offered. (Easier Said Than Done.)

In my books The Happiness Project, and on my blog, I’ve written about the fact that my spiritual master is St. Therese of Lisieux, which I learned after reading her spiritual memoir Story of a Soul.

I’ve always been very struck by St. Therese’s discussion about getting gifts. She emphasizes that we should accept a gift in the spirit in which it’s offered — and also admits why, even for her (a saint!), this is difficult.

This is the line I especially love: “for the love of God and my Sisters (so charitable toward me) I take care to appear happy and especially to be so.”

If you’d like to watch a short video of me talking about the happiness resolution of “Imitate your spiritual master,” it’s here:

Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:


Happier listening!

So Fun! I Did the “By the Book” Interview for the New York Times Book Review.

As an ardent book-lover, I always look forward to reading the Book Review in the Sunday New York Times.

So I was very happy to be asked to do the “By the Book” interview, a page of author q-and-a that’s one of my favorite parts of the book-review section.

In “By the Book,” a writer is asked several questions about his or her reading habits. I love talking about books, so I had tremendous fun tackling these questions.

If you’d like to know what books are on my night stand, or my dream author-guest for my podcast, or about the kind of book that I refuse to read, it here.

So many good books!

Agree? “You Cannot Be a Leader Until You Have Learned to Be a Follower.”

Of his plebe year at West Point, Aldrin notes: “What we were being taught…is that you cannot be a leader until you have learned to be a follower.”

–Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., Return to Earth

Buzz Aldrin is one of the astronauts who made the historic moon landing in the Apollo 11.

Do you agree that in order to lead, you must also know how to follow?