5 Tips for Turning Your Tiny Habits into Big Results
Following Stanford researcher and professor BJ Fogg’s principles in behavior design can painlessly and seamlessly change your life, all without using willpower or motivation. But it can be a bit tricky to master at first. Dive into our full-length feature on the life-changing Tiny Habits program, read our tips below, and then visit Fogg’s website tinyhabits.com to begin your journey.
1. Make your Tiny Habit “crispy,” or specific. Be very specific—“crispify” your Tiny Habit in a way that everybody understands the behavior. Think of your Tiny Habit as a solution you design for. Unlike aspirations, when you design for a solution, you don’t leave it to chance. Crispify, design for a solution and then iterate or repeat as needed.
2. Top Habit-eers think, “The starting point is never too tiny.” At Fogg’s SXSW presentation on Tiny Habits, he mentioned that his top Tiny Habit program participants generally think that you can never start too small with designing new behavior. Participants whose Tiny Habits weren’t effective only had to make their starting point even smaller in order for their desired behavior to effortlessly stick.
3. Design for ‘DO stuff’ behavior. When thinking of your desired goal or behavior, Tiny Habits work best when you design for “DO stuff” behavior—do a new behavior, do familiar behavior or increase an existing behavior’s intensity or duration. Behaviors that you don’t do are trickier to design.
4. Springboard your way to success! Behavior-wise, goals that are big leaps generally don’t work, unless you’re using the momentum of Tiny Habits. Fogg states, “As long as you’re doing these little tiny behaviors and succeeding, there comes a moment when it seems like you just step up to the plate for something big. You think, I CAN do this big thing that I’ve procrastinated for a long, long time.”
5. The more Tiny Habits you create, the better you get at it. Just like the skill of practicing an instrument, the more you design for Tiny Habits, the better—and more successful—you get at it. Don’t feel guilty when something doesn’t work. Revise, practice and design your Tiny Habits to become even “crispier” and more conducive to change. Here are a few suggestions from Fogg, along with a Tiny Habit I’ve been working on.
Remember, the formula for creating a Tiny Habit is: After I (routine), I will (tiny behavior).
– After I check into a hotel, I will see where the hotel gym is located.
Professor Fogg has a set of Tiny Habits for when he travels, and immediately walking to the hotel gym makes the behavior of going to the gym much easier as his hotel stay continues.
– In the morning, after I first sit down at work, I will put a glass of water on my desk.
This was an example Professor Fogg used in his SXSW presentation. Instead of just saying you’ll drink more water, taking the small action of filling a glass of water encourages the natural behavior of drinking from it, and refilling it as the day continues.
– After I delete a batch of emails, I will take one deep, 5-second breath.
I generally delete emails after reading or completing the task associated with them, so this has helped me feel much more calm, accomplished and in control throughout the day.
Common routines that you can use as “triggers” to form your Tiny Habits:
– Pour coffee
– Park your car
– Sit down on subway
– Turn on the shower
– Brush your teeth
– Enter your home after work
– Hear the phone ring
– Drop off kids at school
– Put on contacts/glasses
– Start the dishwasher