Namaste friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Tiny Habits by B J Fogg. Tiny Habits shows how you can increase productivity by tapping into positive emotions to create a happier and healthier life.
Tiny is mighty. At least when it comes to change.
There is no real failure in Tiny Habits. There are little stumbles, but if you get up again, that’s not failure - that’s a habit in the making.
One tiny action, one small bite, might feel insignificant at first, but it allows you to gain the momentum you need to ramp up to bigger challenges and faster progress. The next thing you know, you’ve eaten the whole whale.
Keeping changes small and expectations low is how you design around fair-weather friends like motivation and willpower. When something is tiny, it’s easy to do - which means you don’t need to rely on the unreliable nature of motivation.
From now on, I want you to look at your behavior the way a scientist looks at what’s growing in a petri dish - with curiosity and objective distance.
I want you to treat your life as your own personal “change lab” - a place to experiment with the person you want to be. A place where you not only feel safe but also feel like anything is possible.
Motivation is like a party-animal friend. Great for a night out, but not someone you would rely on to pick you up from the airport. You must understand its role and its limitations.
Big spikes of motivation are awesome for doing really hard things - once. Rescuing your child. Quitting your job. Throwing away all the junk food in your house. Sprinting through the airport to catch a flight. Attending your first AA meeting. Writing a letter to the editor. Keeping all ten of your New Year’s resolutions ... for a day. But high levels of motivation are both scattershot and unsustainable.
We should be dreamy about aspirations but not about the behaviors that will get us there. Behaviors are grounded. Concrete. They are the handholds and footholds that get you up the rock face.
Big bold actions on the balance are not as effective as many of us are led to believe. While small might not be sexy, it is successful and sustainable.
If you start with a big behavior that’s hard to do, the design is unstable; it’s like a large plant with shallow roots. When a storm comes into your life, your big habit is at risk. However, a habit that is easy to do can weather a storm like flexible sprouts, and it can then grow deeper and stronger roots.
Prompts are the invisible drivers of our lives.
Life is filled with an overwhelming number of prompts that we don’t want, but there are plenty that we do want. But most people soar on autopilot at the behest of invisible prompts while desperately trying to remind themselves to do things they keep forgetting to do. If your desk is covered with sticky notes and your phone is pestering you with notifications and you are still not doing the things you want to do, it’s time to take the power of prompts back.
Combine the right behaviors with the right chronology, and, poof, a new habit is created.
When you learn to design and redesign prompts in your life, you’re opening the door to new ways of managing situations that would otherwise distress you.
When you celebrate effectively, you tap into the reward circuitry of your brain. By feeling good at the right moment, you cause your brain to recognize and encode the sequence of behaviors you just performed. In other words, you can hack your brain to create a habit by celebrating and self-reinforcing.
Emotions create habits. Not repetition. Not frequency. Not fairy dust. Emotions.
Celebration is the best way to create a positive feeling that wires in your new habits. It’s free, fast, and available to people of every color, shape, size, income, and personality. In addition, celebration teaches us how to be nice to ourselves - a skill that pays out the biggest dividends of all.
Each individual celebration strengthens the roots of a specific habit, but the accumulation of celebrations over time is what fertilizes the entire habit garden. By cultivating feelings of success and confidence, we make the soil more inviting and nourishing for all the other habit seeds we want to plant.
If celebrating the small stuff is hard for you, the go-big-or-go-home mentality is probably sneaking up on you. Shut it down. It’s a trap. Celebrating a win - no matter how tiny - will quickly lead to more wins. Think about all those times you could have changed but didn’t, and here you are, two squats in - changing.
Celebration will one day be ranked alongside mindfulness and gratitude as daily practices that contribute most to our overall happiness and well-being. If you learn just one thing from my entire book, I hope it’s this: Celebrate your tiny successes. This one small shift in your life can have a massive impact even when you feel there is no way up or out of your situation. Celebration can be your lifeline.
Success leads to success. But here’s something that may surprise you. The size of the success doesn’t seem to matter very much. When you feel successful at something, even if it’s tiny, your confidence grows quickly, and your motivation increases to do that habit again and perform related behaviors. I call this success momentum.
You might flail around a little at first, but if you keep going, you’ll get there. Some of your tiny changes will grow; others will multiply. Along the way, as you feel successful, your identity will shift. And this is how you will go from tiny to transformative.
Behavior Design is not a solitary pursuit. Each behavior that we design, each change that we make, is another drop in the pond that ripples out. We shape our families, communities, and societies through our actions. And they shape us. The habits we create and perpetuate matter.
I don’t think you should leave changes to chance. Design for your future deliberately and efficiently so things change for the better in every part of your life.
Change leads to change. You start people on the path to change from the place they want to begin. As they build confidence and skills, they will open up to other types of changes, I promise.
Behavior Design is not just about losing ten pounds or putting the phone down during dinner. It’s about becoming the person you want to be - and creating the kind of family, team, community, and world we want to live in.
Habits may be the smallest units of transformation, but they’re also the most fundamental. They are the first concentric circles of change that will spiral out. Think about it.