#1205 The ABCs of Tiny Habits

Anchor + Behavior + Celebration

Today we’re going to revisit BJ Fogg’s Behavior Design Lab at Stanford.

We’ve already talked about his equation: B = MAP. (Recall: “Behavior happens when Motivation & Ability & Prompt converge at the same moment.“)

Professor Fogg also has some ABCs to help us master the process of Optimizing our behavior: Anchor + Behavior + Celebration.

Here’s how he describes the anatomy of Tiny Habits:

An existing routine (like brushing your teeth) or an event that happens (like a phone ringing). The Anchor Moment reminds you to do the new Tiny Behavior.

A simple version of the new habit you want, such as flossing one tooth or doing two push-ups. You do the Tiny Behavior immediately after the Anchor Moment.

Something you do to create positive emotions, such as saying, ‘I did a good job!’ You celebrate immediately after doing the new Tiny Behavior.”

Want to install a habit?

(Yah? Which one? Seriously. Pick one now and let’s work on it together…)

Know your ABCs: Anchor + Behavior + Celebration.

What’s the existing routine that can serve as your Prompt? (Note: James Clear and Charles Duhigg call our “Prompt” a “cue” in Atomic Habits and The Power of Habit, respectively.)

That “existing routine” is what BJ calls an ANCHOR. He tells us that “anchoring” our new behavior to something we ALREADY do is a really powerful way to Optimize the Behavior-changing process.

Now that you’ve got your Anchor, it’s time for the new behavior.

NOTE: We want that Behavior to be TINY. As in, CRAZY tiny.

One of the examples BJ uses is that after (key anchor word: “after”) he went pee while working from home, he’d do two push-ups. That’s it. TWO. Not twenty. TWO.

Now that we’ve got our Anchor and our (tiny!!) Behavior, it’s time to Celebrate.



We’ll talk about this more soon. For now, give yourself a little fist pump with a “YES!!! That’s like me!” (Or whatever it is you do when you celebrate something awesome.)

Anchor + Behavior + Celebration.

That’s Today’s +1.

If you feel so inspired, MAP out the behavior you’d like to install.

Then ABC it.

Let’s change our lives one Tiny little Habit at a time.


+1. +1. +1.

P.S. If you feel REALLY inspired, sing it with me: Now I know my ABCs. Next time won’t you sing with me?


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