Changing your behavior is the hardest things you will ever do.
Or is it? Could it be easier than we think? Maybe — if you know how.
The science of behavior design
One of the top experts on behavior design is Dr. BJ Fogg, who runs the persuasive technology lab at Stanford University. He’s developed a model that shows three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur:
- Ability, and
- A Trigger
When a desired behavior does not occur, then one of these three elements is missing. So the trick to changing your behavior is to make sure all three elements are there. And you want to start small and grow from there.
An easy way to get the results you’re seeking
I’m going to give you an example of how this works based on my own personal experience. I signed up for for BJ Fogg’s program (which is free), and I chose the first three behaviors they suggested:
- When your feet hit the floor, say to yourself: “It’s going to be a great day!”
- When you make your morning coffee, set out your vitamins.
- When you turn on the shower, do two push ups.
These were really easy. I did them every day for a week. And I’m still doing them today.
In other words, a small behavior became a habit.
What I learned from these three simple behaviors
1. The power of suggestion is very powerful
As a result of behavior #1. I found myself reminding myself to say “It’s going to be a great day!” before I got out of bed. “By telling myself it’s going to be a great day, it becomes a great day. Attitude is everything.
Colin Powell called a positive attitude it “a force multiplier.”
The power of suggestion can help you gain a better attitude.
2. It’s important to prepare your environment to succeed
When I make my morning coffee, I set out my vitamins. Behavior #2 is really a far-reaching behavior, because it taught me that I’m more apt to succeed if I prepare my environment ahead of time. Now when I got to the grocery store, I avoid buying processed foods. When I bring bell peppers home, I set them out to remember slice them right away. When I slice the bell peppers, I put them in healthy snack containers in the fridge. When I open the fridge for a snack, the bell peppers are there (along with some home-made hummus).
To succeed you need to be prepared.
3. If you want to get in shape there’s time and space enough to do it
Third, before I turn on the shower, I do ten push-ups. Behavior #3 is another far-reaching behavior, because it not only shows you that you can exercise anywhere anytime, but that you can sneak exercise into your day anytime and anywhere you want. Now I find myself doing sun salutations (a yoga sequence), when I take a short break from work (I work from home).
You have more time than you think you do.
So three new behaviors have helped me (1) get a better attitude (2) set up an environment for success, and (3) make more time for health & fitness.
More importantly I’ve learned how small behaviors lead to healthy habits.
If you do this enough, you develop a whole bunch of healthy habits. You won’t have time for the old unhealthy ones.
Sign up today!
If you’d like to sign up for BJ Fogg’s behavior design program, and start changing your behaviors, simply sign up at: http://tinyhabits.com/
Try it, and let me know how it goes!