Reading Time: 2 minutes
This book review is on BJ Fogg’s bestseller, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. Fogg, founder of Stanford’s Behavior Design Lab, teaches creators about human behavior. According to Fogg, “Behavior (B) happens when Motivation (M), Ability (A), and a Prompt (P) come together at the same moment. B=MAP.” He spends the rest of the book telling stories about how this works and outlining the options we have if we want to make changes in our lives.
Takeaways include:
  • According to Fogg, the keys to adopting new habits are to build celebrations into the process and start very small, achieve success, and then, build on that success. As he says, we change best when we feel good. The celebrations, according to Fogg, cement new habits into our brains. And realizing success encourages us and helps us get better at embracing change.
  • In choosing which small habits to adopt, look for the smallest change that will have a big impact, either because it helps you reach a goal that is important to you, or it seems connected to the person you want to be. Some examples of places to start might be two pushups after you go to the bathroom, or read for five minutes before going to bed, or meditate for three minutes upon waking. In choosing something very small, there is less chance that we can’t do it.
  • He categorizes habits as either Uphill Habits, Downhill Habits, or Freefall Habits. His programs focus more on Uphill and Downhill Habits, as he describes Freefall Habits as “extremely difficult to stop unless you have a safety net of professional help.” (p. 200) Uphill Habits need constant focus to maintain; for ex., workouts, healthy eating, music instrument practicing, or daily meditation. Downhill Habits are hard to stop but easier to maintain; for example, swearing, hitting the snooze button, or social media engagement.
  • He recommends that we create a structure that makes it easy to change. Since behavior is a function of motivation, ability, and prompts, think about how you can change by adjusting one or more of those three items.
  • To get rid of unwanted habits, Fogg outlines three steps. First, focus on creating new positive habits first and realize success. As you get better at adopting new habits, begin to focus on stopping a negative habit. If that doesn’t work, step three is to swap out the old habit for a new habit, and as Charles Duhigg said, keep the cue (or prompt) and the reward (or celebration).
  • Some help building your self-insight, or motivational counseling may help you understand the potential for change and how to direct your efforts. He offers Tiny Habits counselors.

Thanks for reading.