The Tiny Habits That Change Everything – Dr. BJ Fogg on The Art of Manliness

Check out the Art of Manliness Episode Page and Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Behaviors that are tied to prompts more readily become ingrained habits
    • BJ, for instance, does a few push-ups every time he pees
  • With whatever new habit you’re trying to form, start small
  • Bad habits should be untangled, not broken
  • When it comes to goals, specific behaviors > outcomes
  • B=MAP | Behavior happens when three things come together: Motivation, an ability, and a prompt
    • These components compensate for each other: If there’s less motivation to do something, make it easier (thus, raising the ability); if the behavior is difficult (low ability), the motivation to do it must be high

Intro

The Secrets of Motivation

  • Motivation is the driving force that energizes behavior
  • When setting a new goal, motivation is generally high, but no matter what, it tends to fall with time
    • To hack this, make desired behavior changes easy to accomplish; for instance:
      • Commit to flossing just one tooth
      • Buy a Peleton bike so you don’t have to leave the house to workout
      • Keep vegetables front and center in the fridge

The Tiny Habits Method

  • To start, break-up a desired behavior or outcome into small components (i.e., tiny habits)
  • Golden Behaviors” have three characteristics:
    • It’s a behavior you want to do
    • It’s a behavior you can do
    • It’s a behavior that will have impact and take you towards your goal
  • Behaviors that are tied to prompts more readily become ingrained habits
    • Person prompts (self/internal reminders)
    • Context prompts (i.e. Post-it note reminders)
    • Action prompts (prompts tied to your existing routine)
      • For instance, every time BJ pees, he does 2 push-ups
  • With whatever new habit you’re trying to form, start small
    • i.e. Try flossing just one tooth after every brushing
    • The idea: Keep the bar low; raising the bar sets you up to fail

The Fogg Model of Behavior: B=MAP

  • B=MAP | Behavior happens when three things come together: Motivation, an ability, and a prompt
    • These components compensate for each other:
      • If there’s less motivation to do something, make it easier (thus, raising the ability)
      • If the behavior is difficult (low ability), the motivation to do it must be high

Celebrate the Completion of Desired Habits

  • Why?
    • Anything you do that fires off a positive emotion physically restructures the brain
      • (Positive emotions create habits, not repetition!)
  • How should you celebrate?
    • Throw a fist pump, high five your wife, it doesn’t matter!

Tiny Habits Lead to Bigger Changes

  • There’s a ripple effect—as you achieve positive behavior change, other beneficial life changes naturally follow
    • (Once you feel successful, the over-achiever feeling carries over to other areas and shifts your identity)

Bad Habits Should Be Untangled, Not Broken

  • Breaking a habit implies it happens immediately
  • Untangling a habit sets up a more realistic expectation—bad habits aren’t broken overnight

Additional Notes

  • When it comes to goals, specific behaviors > outcomes
    • For instance, when trying to lose weight, make eating <2000 calories/day your goal, not “losing 10 pounds”