SXSW 2013: Why Tiny Habits Give Big Results

BJ Fogg
Founder & Dir
Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University

Presentation Description

Over the last year, I’ve coached thousands of people in creating new habits.

Human behavior is not as complicated as most believe. And the received wisdom about habits is often wrong.

From my research and my hands-on practice, I’ll share key insights and surprises about how behavior works.

Presentation Notes

Persuasion Boot Camp

Typically two-days, Crash Course

Path vs. Span: If you set yourself up to do something you have to do day after day, you’re going to fail (path). It’s better to set a tiny goal (baby-steps) of just a few days, you’re more likely to complete your goal (span).

So, how can we get people to do things to get your company to become more successful? In order to have a successful company you have to be able to influence the things people do. We need to, however, be able to span goals down into baby-steps.

If changes are small enough, you don’t have to rely onto motivation.

Tiny Habits Method

Tiny Habits method If you can design your life to create Success Momentum, then you are on your way to achieving big things. Success Momentum is being able to complete little things, but then see that you’re completing a much bigger thing the more you do.

Whenever someone says “motivate behavior change” a red-flag should go off. It’s better to say “trigger behavior change” because behavior isn’t always about motivation. “The new you” is all about revolutionizing your life quickly, and this isn’t right. It is almost impossible to radically change yourself quickly.

You’re going to fail if your goal is to do 25 pushups each day. Your goal should be much smaller, such as 2. You’ll never create a habit if you’ve set it up to fail.

With the term “break a bad habit” the word “break” implies getting rid of it. The best thing to do would be to unsnarl it instead. BJ isn’t an expert in breaking bad habits, but instead he creates good behaviors. So, for instance, if you want to stop snacking, you should focus on the smallest snack you do (grabbing candy when you walk into the office) and then later focus on the more unhealthy snacks (like a snickers bar after lunch).

Priority Mapping

Write down specific behaviors each on different post-it. Then, prioritize them in two dimensions. Top to bottom would be at the top it promotes the business and/or is important (some can be on the same level). Then, after you finish that you do it with your teammates. You then sort them side-by-side as a feasibility rating.

Fogg Behavior Grid

If a university calls and gets a donation commitment of $10/year, compared to someone else who gets $1000 once, what one is more likely to donate more throughout their lifetime? The $1000 once will.

Fogg Behavior Grid

Get “crispy”: Have specific tangible goals. Don’t say “I will drink 8 glasses each day” but instead say “I will put a glass of water on my desk each morning.”

Baby steps are easy to achieve. Big Leaps are not. However, if your big leap is something enjoyable you may be just fine. But when it comes to things that hurt you, like lifting heavy weights, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

Posted in SXSW 2013.

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