Tired of completely striking out every time you take a swing at lasting change?
Ever feel like a hidden law of gravity stands between you and those things you’ve always wanted…but never found the willpower to claim?
Do you start every new attempt at transformation supercharged with motivation and energy…
For most people falling short of their aspirations (let’s face it, that’s most of everyone), this is all painfully familiar. And the worst part is you can spend an entire lifetime repeatedly setting the same exact big expectations but never getting anywhere closer to them.
Like a hamster wheel of underachievement sucking the hours away and leaving nothing substantial in its wake.
Sound Like You? It’s Time to Read the New York Times Bestseller, “Tiny Habits,” by BJ Fogg. .
Fogg is a Stanford University social scientist known for founding the “Behavior Science” lab (originally known as the “Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab”), where he’s been performing this work for two decades.
Fogg’s earlier work revolved around how computer technology can influence consumer behavior, for better or worse. And how to design technology more ethically. This was the focus of his earlier books.
But over time, his findings led to insights for applying the same concepts to personal habit change.
And he began to drift more towards personal development teachings, especially regarding better health habits.
Fogg still runs special courses teaching his methodologies on the Stanford Campus.
Learn more about him and his “Tiny Habits” work at https://www.bjfogg.com/
In “Tiny Habits” We Discover His Brilliant Approach To Hacking Your Way In And Out Of Habit Cycles.
It’s a method that starts with one tiny effortless step…i.e. the tiny habit.
And then builds on that tiny step with another step, and then another.
It’s a methodology that (presumedly) doesn’t require motivation, willpower, or long-term fortitude to get going and stay going…
(Which means it’s the perfect fit for “the rest of us.”)
And tiny habits naturally grow over time. Into transformations that drastically transform the landscape of your life.
By building one tiny (and I mean really tiny) habit, one upon the other. Until it piles up into a giant snowball of change, hurtling you towards the long-term outcomes you want.
Fogg’s Entire "Tiny Habits" Premise Revolves Around This Idea:
The easier a habit is to actually DO…
…The more likely you’ll actually do it enough for it to become habit.
This applies for both bad AND good habits.
So (as we’ve all experienced), we don’t just develop whichever new habits are best for us. That does provide some motivation (we’ll get to that), but the habits most likely to stick are the most convenient ones.
Here’s an obvious example:
Sleeping with your cell phone.
If you can check your Facebook just by picking your phone up off the nightstand, it’s pretty darn difficult to regulate Facebook use at night. Not to mention Facebook is fun and addictive already.
Super convenient – super motivating. Very likely to become an established habit.
The “Fogg Behavioral Model” Explains "Tiny Habits" Further With This Equation: B=MAP
In this equation:
B refers to the “Behavior.”
And “MAP” refers to the 3 elements that cause (or limit) a behavior.
- 1) M for “Motivation.”
How strong is your desire to do it?
- 2) A for “Ability.”
How possible is it to do? Do you have the skills and resources? Is it convenient (perhaps most important) – meaning, can you reach out and pick up the phone, or do you need to walk into the other room and turn it on first?
- 3) P or “Prompt.”
An obvious example of a prompt is the notification chime on your cell phone.
Using the previous example, we see how this equation works:
Motivation to use the phone exists in spades (M)…Plus it’s super easy (A)…
But we make it even more likely with constant reminders (P).
Clear-cut recipe for highly addictive behavior.
Tweaking Any of The Variables Makes Change More or Less Likely to Occur.
- If you have a lot of Motivation to do something (like lose weight), but Ability is low (because it’s so hard and takes time, or you don’t know how,) you won’t lose weight.
- If you have low Motivation for something (eating brussels sprouts), it doesn’t matter if it’s easy (i.e. your wife already keeps brussels sprouts in the fridge)…You probably WON’T do it.
- If Motivation is low (taking vitamins), however, but Ability is super high (you can almost do it without thinking about it)…you MIGHT actually do it. But you’d be better off increasing Motivation or introducing a good Prompt (alarm at vitamin time).
Therefore, the obvious solution to formulating good tiny habits?
- If you want to create a habit, increase motivation, make it easy, create a dependable prompt.
- If you want to ditch a habit, decrease motivation, make it harder or less convenient, and limit the risk of prompts.
The Highest-Leverage Method For Creating Tiny Habits?
Motivation can be fleeting. It starts out strong but then dissipates. We all know that.
Prompts are great, but without any Motivation or Ability, they’re useless.
So the key to habit change is making things easier and more convenient to do…
And here’s the BEST NEWS.
Almost any habit becomes easier if you shrink it down or focus on the first small step. Make these steps “Tiny Habits” so all you need is a small amount of motivation and a prompt to keep repeating.
I’ve long used a similar method for creating changes in my own life.
I struggled for years to maintain a consistent fitness routine.
So I taught myself to lower the barrier to entry by just “showing” up. My simple rule is I just have to walk out to the pullup bar and do one set after I complete my first two hours of work.
Naturally, once I’ve motivated myself for a set, the momentum usually carries me though a full workout.
I struggled for years to set aside time for a side business.
So I started obligating myself to just 10 minutes every morning with my coffee. I now work on it regularly and in a moment of inspiration my 10 minutes can turn into 5 hours.
These examples reveal the true power of tiny habits.
Tiny habits alone wouldn’t change your life.
But by just focusing on that one small step, you build up momentum that takes off on its own.
The Fogg Equation Also Reveals How to Hack Behavior With Prompts – Huge Takeaway!
Fogg advocates making “rules” for yourself that turn existing behaviors into Prompts for new behaviors.
For example, if you want to read more, you can make a rule to sit down and read for 10 minutes every morning after you pour your first cup of coffee.
Since you already pour a cup of coffee every morning, the Prompt already exists. Attach the new tiny behavior, and it becomes very easy to remember.
Fogg often talks about using every visit to the toilet as a prompt for doing 1 pushup (remember, the idea is to start tiny). Another example he uses is flossing one single tooth every time he brushes his teeth.
The real power comes here…
By constantly practicing “Tiny Habits” it becomes easier to do them over time. If you do a pushup over and over again, you get stronger and can easily do more. If you regularly write for 10 minutes, it eventually becomes natural to write for hours.
Caveat: The author constantly stresses the need to keep the habits tiny even after they get easy, though; this is key to not losing them completely after a bad day or week creeps in.
How Does All This Work For Ditching Bad Habits?
Motivation is tricky when you want to STOP something…
After all, if you didn’t WANT to do it, it’d be a non-issue.
So “environmental changes” are often the best way. Just remove the prompt or make it less convenient. Preferably both.
- If you struggle with sugar, remove all the sweets from the house – so you have to drive to the store to indulge.
- If you always turn on Netflix in the morning in bed, put the remote in the other room or unplug the TV before sleep.
- If you’re constantly wasting time on social media, lock your phone in a drawer when you get home, turn notifications completely off, or uninstall problems apps.
You Can Also Use FocusMe to Make Digital Indulgences SUPER INCONVENIENT!
Our FocusMe productivity software allows you to block or restrict problem apps on your phone and computer.
So with a few click you can make your new tiny habits easier, or (perhaps most importantly) make bad habits more difficult and inconvenient than ever.
With FocusMe, you can:
- Lock yourself out of social media or video games during work hours…
- Keep your devices totally “off limits” late at night when you should be sleeping…
- Confine use of specific (or all) apps to certain hours of the day…
- Take short or long breaks from your computer or phone…
- Set time limits or launch limits on certain websites. So you use them less while building habits that serve you better…
Or Set The FocusMe Web Blocker So Airtight You CAN’T Cheat Yourself.
After all, you could always lock your phone in a drawer so you can’t use your social media, sure…
But you might still rationalize taking it back out.
Or maybe you need it for certain work activities, or because you need to stay available for calls…
…So it makes it tough to shut it down completely.
FocusMe has a no-cheat “Force Mode” option you can use to lock yourself out while still retaining access to the phone.
That way you can keep it right beside you without the risk you’ll cave in to Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, or other temptations.
In a similar vein, you don’t really have the choice to lock your computer in a drawer while you’re working online. But FocusMe can tweak the “environment” to remove those temptations, if even only during working hours.
In Closing, I Already Knew The Power Of Small Behavior Changes for Creating Massive Results Over Time…BUT
What BJ Fogg’s book “Tiny Habits” brings to the table is a more thorough breakdown of how to use these principles than perhaps I’ve ever seen.
His creative graphs and charts reveal exactly why tiny habits are so powerful in a compelling visual display that makes sense – not to mention how to make them work, and why they fail when they fail…
…Than I’ve ever seen on any other book about personal development, productivity, or habit change.
And he offers a multitude of success stories and clever tricks for using this principle to attack bad habits and create great habits in various areas of your life. In fact, he even provides a wonderful index in the back of the book with hundreds of simple “rules” you can try to introduce into your life.
I highly recommend you check out Fogg’s book.
Or start implementing some of these ideas from this article on your own today.
If you want more help via FocusMe, download your free trial version for your PC.
You can also add FocusMe to your phone with our completely free Android app.