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Tiny Habits vs Productivity

People illustrations by Storyset

Tiny Habits and Productivity

I am going to dedicate my first productivity blog by introducing you to a book, a thinking mode, as well as a tool. It’s called Tiny Habits, a book written by Dr. Fogg B.J., a behavior scientist at Standford.

Tiny habit is a way to design your behavior. You can design in behaviors you want and design out behaviors you don’t want by going tiny. Becoming more and more productive is a process of behavior change. And so far, I believe, Tiny Habits is the way.

Now I will introduce briefly the two main ideas in Dr. Frogg’s book in the following two sections.

Fogg Behavior Model

B = M A P B - Behavior; M - Motivation; A - Ability; P - Prompt

Before you move on, please click to have a picture of the Fogg Behavior Model in mind:

Ability and Motivation form the XY axes of the model. The ability goes from Hard to do to Easy to do. and Motivation goes from Low to High. There is a curve — Action Line — concaving towards the origin. You will define the Ability and Motivation and see where they meet, above the Action Line or below the Action Line? And Prompt

If it’s low motivation and hard to do, It definitely falls below the Action Line, resulting in no action. —— Why bother!

If it’s high motivation and hard to do, It has a big chance of falling below the Action Line as well. —— Forget it!

If it’s high motivation and easy to do, It definitely falls above the Action Line, resulting in action. —— Why not!

If it’s low motivation and easy to do, It has a big chance of falling below the Action Line as well. —— Maybe!

Now, how to use this model. There are two points:

When troubleshooting or designing a behavior, go backward P - A - M. The same goes to both yourself and someone else:

  1. Do you/Does he have a prompt as a reminder?

  2. Is it easy enough to do (Ability)?

  3. Finally, how much was I/ he motivated? (People usually have motivation and motivation is not stable and takes a bit of work to make it specific. So we save it to the last.)

💡 e.g. Say you found your exercise on and off since you decided to exercise routinely.

Question #1: Do I have a prompt? A prompt could be an app reminder, an alarm, or “After I make my bed.”

Question #2: Is it easy to do? How long does it take? How hard do you feel? Your plan might take too long compared with your daily schedule. You may not have that amount of time. Then what should your minimum benchmark be?

Question #3: Do I have the motivation? Yes, I do want to exercise and I myself made the decision.

Instead of going big, go tiny. Design your behavior to tiny enough, so it requires little motivation to do and it fits in your current routine. 💡 Say one that can finish within thirty seconds, like two push-ups after making your bed.

💡e.g. Say start a two-minute meditation, after you set a cup of water to be heated in the microwave for three minutes.

Tiny Habits Steps and Celebration

The Anatomy of Tiny Habits 1. ANCHOR: An existing routine (like brushing your teeth) or event that happens (like a phone ringing). The Anchor Moment reminds you to do the new Tiny Behavior. 2. BEHAVIOR: A simple version of the new habit you want, such as flossing one tooth or doing two push-ups. You do the Tiny Behavior immediately after the Anchor Moment. 3. CELEBRATION: Something you do to create positive emotions, such as saying, “I did a good job!” You celebrate immediately after doing the new Tiny Behavior.

The anatomy shows very clearly the steps to create Tiny Habits and examples of Anchor and Behavior are given in the previous section. I have to say these are the basic steps for growing a tiny habit.

However, I cannot emphasize the importance of Celebration. I have to have another post writing about it, if not more. Dr. Fogg calls it Celebration and I call it Pollyanna Spirit. Pollyanna is always someone always positive. Well, they find a way to stay or switch back to positive. Here is a forecast from Dr. Fogg. I share the vision! I can see how it will happen.

The celebration will one day be ranked alongside mindfulness and gratitude as daily practices that contribute most to our overall happiness and well-being.

We should celebrate everything when we are making efforts towards productivity. Have a Pollyanna in the house!

Tiny Habits to be Continued

Having explained the two most important concepts in Dr. Fogg’s book, Tiny Habits, there are a lot more been discussed in the book in a scientific and practical way. To name a few, you may wonder:

  • How to pick prompts/anchor moments?

  • How to analyze what habit you want to develop?

  • How many tiny habits can you grow at the same time?

  • How soon can I move to the next stage and grow the tiny habit bigger?

  • How to overcome self-deprecating and self-effacing to celebrate tiny susses?

  • Does celebration/Pollyannish even work?

  • How to change together with people you care about or around you?

This list goes on. The book is worthwhile reading and sharing.

Also, Dr. Fogg has a website/platform teaching Tiny Habits and a Free 5-Day Program to Build Habits

They even offer certificate courses. I am personally not certified. I think I will


Start Productivity with Tiny Habits

Thanks to Dr. Fogg for providing this magical tool! Let’s start our productivity journey by designing tiny habits. Let it transform our lives.

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