• Toby Sinclair

Book Summary - Tiny Habits - The Small Changes That Change Everything

Updated: 6 days ago


A book summary of Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

Tiny Habits - The Small Changes That Change Everything


Rating 5/5

3 Big Ideas:

  1. Create a constellation of habits, tiny in size but big on impact

  2. B = MAP – Behaviour happens when motivation & ability & prompt converge at the same moment

  3. Behaviour change is a skill that can be mastered

2 Quotes:


“There are three ways to change behaviour: have an epiphany, change environment, change habits in tiny ways.”

“There are 7 steps in Behaviour Design:
  1. Clarify the aspiration

  2. Explore behaviour options

  3. Match with specific behaviours

  4. Start tiny

  5. Find a good prompt

  6. Celebrate successes

  7. Troubleshoot, Iterate & Expand”

1  Question:


How can you make the habit easier?

Big Idea 1 – Create a constellation of habits, tiny in size but big on impact


Anatomy of Tiny Habits method (ABC):

  1. Anchor moment

  2. New Tiny Behaviour

  3. Instance Celebration

Tiny Habit Maxims:

  1. Help people do what they already want to do

  2. Help people feel successful

Change creators:

  1. Have epiphany

  2. Change environment

  3. Change habits in tiny ways (Most likely to lead to change)

Core Concepts:

  • Start with three very small behaviours, even just one

  • Create a constellation of habits, tiny in size but big on impact

  • Keep changes small and expectations low

  • People change by feeling good, not by feeling bad

  • B = MAP – Behaviour happens when motivation & ability & prompt converge at the same moment

  • Willpower is a myth. Bad habits are due to design flaws not character flaws

  • Removing a prompt is the best first move to stop a behaviour happening (e.g. remove chocolate from the fridge, remove phone from bedroom)

Big Idea 2 – Behaviour happens when motivation & ability & prompt converge at the same moment (B=MAP)

Motivation:

  • Lack of behaviour is not a motivation issue. Its often an ability or prompt issue.

  • Motivation is a bad lever to push. The motivation monkey tricks us into setting unreasonable goals.

  • Motivation is like a party-animal friend. Great for a night out but not someone you would rely on to pick you up from the airport.

  • Motivation is a like a wave. It arrives in temporary surges. It’s unpredictable and unreliable

  • Hope and Fear strongly influence motivation. They push against each other.

  • Motivation and Ability have a compensatory relationship


Ability Chain:

Things that make the habit easier/harder

  1. Time

  2. Money

  3. Physical Effort

  4. Mental Effort

  5. Routine


Untangle habits using same process you grow them. Break the ability chain.


Make it easier:

  1. Increase skills (requires high motivation and often time)

  2. Get tools and resources (often requires money)

  3. Make it tiny

Golden Behaviours:

  1. Impactful (aspiration)

  2. Want to do (motivation)

  3. Can do (ability)

Golden behaviours can be done on your hardest day! Monday morning!


Types of Prompt:

  1. Person – Your internal reminder e.g. memory, physical (bladder)

  2. Context – Environmental – e.g Sticky on my fridge

  3. Action – Habit stacking – After brushing my teeth i will floss

Prompt management is one of the most difficult tasks in modern life. Limit the noise


Troubleshooting Habits:

  1. Check to see if there’s a prompt to do the behaviour

  2. See if the person has the ability to the behaviour

  3. See if the person is motivated to do the behaviour


Habit Categories:

  1. Uphill – require ongoing attention to maintain but are easy to stop

  2. Downhill – easy to maintain but difficult to stop

  3. Free-fall – extremely difficult to stop unless you get professional help

Habit Personas (Applied in groups):

  1. Dolphins – High motivation, high ability (Focus here)

  2. Turtles – High motivation, low ability (Focus here)

  3. Crabs – High ability, low motivation (Require incentives)

  4. Clams – Low ability, low motivation (Ignore)

Big Idea 3 – Behaviour change is a skill that can be improved


Skills of change:

  1. Behaviour Crafting – Knowing how many new habits to do at once and when to add more

  2. Self insight –  The skill of knowing which new habits will have meaning to you

  3. Process (Systems Thinking) – Knowing when to push yourself beyond ton and ramp up the difficulty of the habit

  4. Context – Redesigning your environment to make your habits easier to do

  5. (Growth) Mindset – Embracing a new identity

Behaviour Planning:

  1. Aspirations = abstract desires e.g. wanting kids to succeed in school

  2. Outcomes = more measurable e.g. getting straight A’s second semester

  3. Behaviour = something you can do right now e.g. open textbook read five chapters

You can only achieve aspirations or outcomes overtime. A behaviour you can do right now

Swarm of Behaviours

Brainstorming possible behaviours to help achieve an aspiration or an outcome


If you plant a behaviour in the right spot it will grow without coaxing: Where might this habit for naturally in your daily routine?

When designing a new habit, you are designing for consistency


Celebrations:

  1. Most important part of the approach

  2. Emotions create habits

  3. Celebration must come immediately after or during the habit for it to stick. E.g A message two days later wont work

  4. Celebration is habit fertiliser

  5. Celebration is a skill — It does not always come naturally

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

©2020 by Toby Sinclair.