This Ted Talk with habit formation expert BJ Fogg focuses on how one small habit can start a chain reaction of monumental change.
BJ Fogg, PhD directs the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University and creates groundbreaking models and methods for changing human behavior. What does his research say?
We don’t need to take giant leaps to achieve our goals.
Rather, we can make tiny steps towards our goals and build them over time. His proposition is powerful: “When you know how to create tiny habits, you change your life forever.”
Motivation is a losing strategy for long-term change.
It’s not sustainable to keep doing really hard things if you’re relying on motivation. Motivation will dip! So if we focus on easier, smaller changes, we increase the chance that we’ll do it… and then build that into bigger habits.
Use existing triggers as anchors for new behaviors!
Use behaviors you already have, then chain your behaviors together. That helps create a sustainable habit. For example, every morning when you get out of bed, you turn on your bedroom light. What if you did two squats every day after you turn your light on? Small things like this add up and can turn into more!
Celebrate tiny successes.
Fogg suggests that we need an immediate, simple celebration every time we accomplish a tiny habit. A celebration could be telling yourself that you’re fabulous. Or affirming you’re amazing. Or jumping. Or clapping (though that might be a bit much for your co-workers or family if you celebrate a lot… 😉
Here are some examples of triggers + tiny habits and celebrations:
Trigger: Turn on bedroom light. Tiny habit: Do two squats. Celebration: Say, “I’m fabulous!”
Trigger: Sit down with your cup of coffee. Tiny habit: Take a big, deep breath. Celebration: Say, “I’m fabulous!
Trigger: Open your lunch. Tiny habit: Eat one cup of veggies. Celebration: Say, “I’m fabulous!
Fogg says his learnings come down to planting tiny seeds in the right places in your life—they’ll grow into good things without coaxing. So figure out what behaviors in your life you can add something tiny to in order to start yourself towards a larger goal. Then celebrate in a way that works for you.
Go forth and conquer!