Maverick Life


This week we’re listening to: Podcasts that celebrate new beginnings

Image: Tangerine Newt / Unsplash

‘Happier with Gretchen Rubin’ and ‘Fresh Starts’ with Stacey Dooley are the perfect listens for the new year.

There is something refreshing about a new year. While there is no marked difference between 31 December and 1 January, there is a sense of hope and optimism about what is to come.

These two podcasts are great listens to start the year off on the right foot and initiate meaningful change as you step into 2022.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

  • Format: Podcast series
  • Year: 2021
  • Listen on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts and the Gretchen Rubin website.

Hosted by Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft, this podcast is warm, chatty and practical as the pair explore how to build healthy habits and positively change behaviour, all working towards living a happier life.

The sisters have created a space that feels homely and welcoming, inviting the listener to sit in on and be a part of conversations that are authentic and vulnerable in a way that encourages you to be real with yourself while digging a little deeper into your own life. They’ve known each other their whole lives, and the bond between the two is evident, but their conversations get right what so many podcasts get wrong: they know how to draw their audience into the conversation rather than just talking at them.

Both hosts bring their unique skills and voices to the show, and bounce off each other effortlessly. Rubin is a happiness researcher, authoring The Happiness Project as well as New York Times bestsellers The Four Tendencies and Better Than Before. Her advice is practical and thorough and her passion for her subject is tangible. Craft is a television writer, producer and showrunner, and her input makes the topics applicable to everyday life as she shares from her own experiences.

If you too are listening at the beginning of the year, a good place to start is episode 358, which centres on choosing a word theme for your year that encapsulates your goals and hopes for 2022. When you have your word, check out episode 359 for how to create a holistic list of 22 goals for 2022 that are both attainable and realistic but also encourage growth.

Stacey Dooley: Fresh Starts

  • Format: Podcast series
  • Year: 2021
  • Listen on: BBC Sounds

Stacey Dooley’s Fresh Starts podcast is a hidden gem and a breath of fresh air for a world poised on the edge of a new beginning in 2022.

Whether life is throwing you big life-changing decisions or you feel the need to tweak your habits for a better you, Dooley’s optimistic and vibrant series connects you to others who are doing the same, speaking with ordinary individuals who are all embarking on their own fresh starts, in all kinds of different ways.

There’s Jewel who wants to stop relying on her phone so much, and Tash who is learning to read at 40 years old. Geoffrey and Holly are moving in together and Iona and Luke are navigating being pregnant again after the devastating loss of their baby, Oscar.

Their stories are all about what it is to be human in this world right now, however big or small their journeys are.

There is something special in how the show honours fresh starts, and encourages change, no matter how big or small. As life ebbs and flows, and we go along with it, there is so much to learn and celebrate in this life.

Dooley’s experience presenting documentaries is evident in her skill to connect her audience to her subject and tell stories that are thought-provoking and meaningful, but she shines in the podcast by letting her own voice break through.

Her bright and enthusiastic nature is what first captivates the listener, and her warmth and empathy hold the audience’s attention as she helps her guests tell their stories. This is a show full of laughter and anecdotes with the ambience of old friends sitting in a coffee shop as they talk about their days. It’s fun, informal and personal and has the listener hooked from the first minute. DM/ML


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