Choice Growth Success

The Easy Way To Build Great Habits

I spoke about HABITS the other day.

Plus last week I spoke about the relationship between Goals and Process, as the authors of Tiny Habits and Atomic habits shared the same pint of view.

I also mentioned I would do a deeper overview of the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, which I read recently.

It really is a great book (strategically) plus ol’ BJ, who is a Standford professor, is not writing to impress people with his literary skills, but is actually passionate about serving other people. 

It is great to see an academic who is more interested in the impact of his work, than academic accolades.

Thanks BJ!!

Essentially, there are a few BIG points to takeaway from his book and decades of practical application.

The Basic Model

BJ Fogg’s essential model looks like this:


Where our Behaviour (B) is a result of a combination of Motivation (M), Ability (A) and Prompts (P).

These are relatively consistent with other models, however he does shine the light on a couple of REALLY relevant points, which I concur with.

The 1st BIG Point

This is not surprising, but most people still try to force this issue.

It is the idea that ‘Motivation’ is the biggest thing holding us back. 

And if we only built up our motivation, we would get rid of those bad habits and stack up on the good habits.

But here is the reality.

Motivation spends most of its time bouncing on a trampoline. 

Going UP…then going DOWN…then going UP…then going DOWN…

Our motivation is not necessarily where it needs to be (UP) when it comes time to do the stuff we don’t want to do.

Yes we can use willpower and discipline, but they have a high energy cost.

So, it might not be the best variable to play with.

Which takes us to number 2.

The 2nd BIG Point

It is often better to work with ‘ability‘, which is usually more tangible.

And less connected to how we feel.

So BJ’s main point, and probably the main theme of Tiny Habits, is to make the habit so easy to do that the ability you require is minimal.

A good example is BJ wanting to start the habit of flossing his teeth.

The habit goal he set was to floss one tooth.

Ability required – near zero.

The other thing he talks about is other factors (which might be a one off thing) that make a tiny habit even easier to do.

Like buying the best dental floss for his specific teeth (i.e. based on the size of the gaps between teeth). 

Again, this makes the task even easier.

The 3rd BIG Point

This is actually more of a reiteration.

Make the new habit as TINY as possible, so it is easy to do.

The idea is to get in the habit of showing up, and then letting the habit grow organically.

For instance, I decide I want to do more push-ups daily.

My ‘Prompt‘ is when I walk up the stairs in our house.

The behaviour was 2 push-ups.

Two push-ups is very easy for me, so it takes very little motivation.

I actually find once I jump down for my set of 2, I often end up doing a lot more (because why not, while I am in position for it); though I know I can also do just 2 if I feel that is all I have in me or time available.

I have always liked the idea that ‘some’ is better than none.

The 4th BIG Point

‘P’ stands for Prompt, and this is hugely important when it comes to Habits.

He has a lot more to say about it in his book but here is one of the key points.

Choose a prompt that already exists in your lifestyle – rather than coming up with a new prompt.

Have a task you always end your working day with?

What ‘good’ habit can you add to that?

Always have a morning coffee before you step into work?

What ‘good’ habit can you add to that (e.g. saying 1 thing you are grateful for).

Use the Prompts that are already built into your life, and then stack other good habits on top.

The 5th BIG Point

I spoke about this is an earlier Newsletter.

It is the idea of celebration to create a dopamine hit.

Making you more likely to ‘want’ to do the new habit.

Celebrate the little stuff and build up from there.

In Summary

1. Don’t rely on ‘Motivation’ to establish new habits.

2. Make the habit as easy to do as possible, so the ‘Ability’ required is low.

3. Start TINY (real tiny).

4. Use Prompts that are already built into your lifestyle.

5. Always celebrate your small achievements to further anchor the behaviour neurologically.

And finally do yourself a favour and check out his book. 😉

Below is the graphical representation of BJ Fogg’s “B = MAP” framework.

My Parting word

Well done BJ Fogg, for being more focused on service, than using big works to look fancy pansy within the academic community.

It really is a great book to read.

Because – as many wise people have said over time – we are the sum of our habits, for better or worse. 

And last week I spoke about the ‘Process’ related to getting results.

The ‘process’ is essentially a group of consistently applied Habits.

And obviously, the quality of the habits, and the collection of habits, has a huge impact on the quality of your journey and the richness of your destination.

I don’t think I need to say more.

You already have 5 BIG points to work with. 😉


See which of the 5 Big Points you can bring into your day, and then feel free to play with all 5 throughout the rest of the week.

Take care,


PS: Have you read or listened to this book yet? 18 Ways We Make Life WAY Harder Than It Needs To Be

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