I first bumped into it in this article on Gregory Ciotti's site www.sparringmind.com while Google searching "how habits are formed".
Since then it seems like I see Fogg and his Tiny Habits everywhere. And I can see why. The Tiny Habits concept is compelling. I'm drawn to ideas and constructs that are simple, distilled down to their essence with all the fluff boiled away. You can't get much simpler than Tiny Habits.
According to Fogg, there are only three ways people make significant change in their lives:
How Tiny Habits Work
The best explanation of Tiny Habits I've found is from Fogg himself in this TEDx talk from 2012. In case you aren't up for a 17 minute video, here's a quick summary...
Tiny Habits works on the premise that if you do some behavior regularly enough and long enough it will become automatic and you'll have a good chance of continuing to do that behavior over the long term. This is true even if - in the beginning - you only do a really small (tiny) version of the behavior. The classic example is flossing only one tooth to create a flossing habit.
But wait, there's more...tiny or not, you need to remember to do your new behavior. The thing that prompts you is called a trigger. Fogg tells us to place our new behavior immediately after something we already do with great regularity and that has some association with the new behavior. This other thing we use as a trigger is called the 'anchor'.
The last piece is the celebration. That's right, you get to celebrate. In fact, you have to. Fogg emphasizes the importance of giving yourself some kind of quick, simple reward immediately after you do your new behavior. It can be something you say or think to yourself ("Nice job!", "I rock!") or something you do, like a little dance or a quick thumbs up. Whatever you're comfortable with that gives you a little shot of happy.
To be honest, the celebration part can feel pretty silly. It took me doing it a bit before I was able to get past feeling goofy and a little self conscious.
My First 3 Tiny Habits
Fogg offers a free, 5 day Tiny Habits session. I took it and chose to work on 3 tiny habits.
The fix wasn't hard though. I just looked for other anchors that worked better. I have a pretty strong habit of meditating first thing in the morning. Spending a moment being grateful and getting excited about the day flow really naturally after the meditation, so I just put them there and they've been working fine ever since.
With the vitamins, I didn't care as much and I don't make coffee every morning any more, so I let that one slip away. Though, when I do make coffee I often am triggered to pull out the bottle of vitamin C, so maybe it did stick after all.
I recommend anyone who hasn't already tried it to give the 5 day session a shot. It takes very little time and at the very least will give you a new tool to use the next time you want to make a change.
Have a take? Leave a comment. I'm interested.
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