This interview is one of my most important. If you are doing to share any of my episodes, this is one that I would implore you to share with your friends, family and colleagues. This is part 1 of 2 of my interviews with BJ Fogg, PhD, author of the book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. We all struggle to change our behaviors, to develop good habits and stop bad habits. There is a lot of popular wisdom about this and most, if not all, is just wrong. This is where Dr. Fogg steps in.
Dr. Fogg discovered the keys to changing behavior through changing habits. For those of you on medical school faculty, this should be a class. This should actually be taught in high school. Until then, as physicians, this information is critical, not just for lifestyle changes that can help patients eat better, move more, and smoke less, but even applies to checking their blood pressure and taking their medication. Popular wisdom is wrong. Guilt and shame are destructive. People don’t start habits by feeling badly, they start habits by feeling successful. And we are more likely to be successful by starting a habit that is small, that we actually want to do, and the third key to this is a prompt that reminds you it is time to perform the behavior. If you are going to learn piano, you start with chopsticks. If you are going to start to exercise, you do one sit-up. The smallest increment that you can fall back on when you motivation is waning so you don’t fall off the wagon completely and you keep your habit. And you do it at a point in your day that you can associate with the new behavior, even if they are completely unrelated. You’ll have a reminder that is baked into your day.
Dr. Fogg founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. In addition to his research, Dr. Fogg teaches industry innovators how human behavior really works. He created the Tiny Habits Academy to help people around the world and interestingly, the Tiny Habits Academy long preceded the Tiny Habits book. He lives in Northern California and Maui.
He can be found at BJFOGG.com and tinyhabits.com