#1199 How to Delete a Behavior

Remove the Prompt and Make It Hard!

In our last +1, we talked about BJ Fogg and his Behavior Design Equation.

Pop quiz: Do you remember it?

(Active retrieval for the Making It Stick win!!)

B = MAP.

Behavior is a function of our Motivation + Ability + Prompt.

(And… Friendly check in: Did you MAP out one of your Behaviors on that handy-dandy grid?)

I promised we’d talk about my chat with Emerson.


Let’s go back to Emerson and our chat about Digital Sunsets.

Quick context.

As you know, I’m ALL about shutting down the electronics early and moving from Deep Work to Deep Love. The other night I was on Alexandra’s phone ordering something from Amazon AFTER the time we usually have it turned off.

At which point, Emerson tells me: “Daddy. I can make it easier for you to do the Digital Sunset by putting the phone in the drawer and then putting a lock on it.”

To which I replied, “Buddy. You’re absolutely right. That is AMAZING Behavior Design. In fact, I’m reading a book right now by the world’s leading expert and you know what he says?”

Then I might have sketched the Fogg Behavior Model and walked him through what it meant. Then I showed him that my Motivation to use the phone is relatively high so we’d need to either reduce that Motivation more by reminding myself just how important Digital Sunset -> Deep Love is for me and/or make it MUCH harder for me to use the phone.

His idea of putting the phone in a drawer and locking it up with a key I don’t have would do a GREAT job of making it REALLY Hard for me to use the phone while also removing the Prompt—making it much more likely that I’d engage in the Behavior I say I want.


ONE more time: B = MAP

If you feel so inspired, take a moment to run another one of YOUR Behaviors through that model.

How can you remove the Prompt and/or make it Harder for you to do something you DON’T want to do?

Here’s to mastering the three variables of our Behavior: Motivation + Ability + Prompt.

P.S. “It’s time to set the record straight and acknowledge that bad habits are not fundamentally different from good habits when it comes to basic components. Behavior is behavior; it’s always a result of motivation, ability, and a prompt coming together at the same moment.”

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