Tiny Habits - BJ Fogg PhD

Tiny Habits - BJ Fogg PhD

 Video Book Summary

Download all of the Mind Maps here.

Book Summary Notes 

Tiny Habits 

“Tiny is mighty. At least when it comes to change.'

"Over the last twenty years, I’ve found that most everyone wants to make some kind of change: eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more, reduce stress, get better sleep. We want to be better parents and partners. We want to be more productive and creative."  

"But the alarming levels of obesity, sleeplessness, and stress reported by the media—and seen in my Stanford lab’s research—tell me there is a painful gap between what people want and what they actually do.

"The disconnect between want and do has been blamed on a lot of things—but people blame it on themselves for the most part. They internalize the cultural message of ‘It’s your fault! You should exercise more, but you aren’t doing it. Shame on you!’"

"I am here to say. It isn’t your fault. And creating positive change isn’t as hard as you think.”

What kind of change do you want to make?

Everyone probably wants to change something..

  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • Better work
  • Sleep better

Actually that thing we want to change has probably been in our minds for years..

Maybe we've even tried multiple times (and failed) to accomplish the change?

How did you react when that change didn't happen?

Here is a helpful quote: "If there’s one concept from my book I hope you embrace, it’s this: People change best by feeling good, not by feeling bad.”

Other words?  Give yourself a break!  Try and stop over-dramatizing your failures and instead celebrate your wins!  (More on this later). 

What else will we be looking at?

“We are not the problem. Our approach to change is. It’s a design flaw—not a personal flaw”

“The essence of Tiny Habits is this: Take a behavior you want, make it tiny, find where it fits naturally in your life, and nurture its growth. If you want to create long-term change, it’s best to start small.”


“You can change your life by changing your behaviors. You know that. But what you may not know is that only three variables drive those behaviors."

"The Fogg Behavior Model is the key to unlocking that mystery. It represents the three universal elements of behavior and their relationship to one another." 

"It’s based on principles that show us how these elements work together to drive our every action—from flossing one tooth to running a marathon." 

"Once you understand the Behavior Model, you can analyze why a behavior happened, which means you can stop blaming your behavior on the wrong things (like character and self-discipline, for starters). And you can use my model to design for a change in behavior in yourself and in other people.


  • "Behavior happens when Motivation & Ability & Prompt converge at the same moment”

Step one in behavior change?  Understanding.

That means understanding how your behaviors happen..

  • Taking the pressure off 'willpower, character or discipline' and putting it into B = MAP.
  • Behaviors happen for a reason and it's not because of a personal failure!

Behaviors happen because of our Motivation + Ability + Prompt.

  • Motivation is our desire to do the behavior. 
  • Ability is our capacity to do the behavior.
  • Prompt is our cue to get the behavior done.

Let's look into a behavior you want to change.

  • First what is it?  (Positive or Negative both work)
  • Next let's look at your motivation.  Where are you at on that graph?
  • Now lets look at your ability.  Where are you at on that graph?
  • Finally let's think about the prompts.  What are they?

Tiny Habits

What do Tiny Habits look like?

“1. ANCHOR MOMENT 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."

"2. 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."

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


The best way to get above the action line?

Follow your Habit ABC's!

  • The goal here is to make things as EASY as possible to create a repeatable habit..
  • Each one of the ABC's accomplishes that!

Let's look at my ABC's

  • First I wanted to create a daily meditation practice. 
  • ANCHOR: Every morning I drink coffee without fail!  Attach meditation to that. 
  • TINY BEHAVIOR: All I need to do is sit on the couch without distraction.  No 'practice' needed.
  • INSTANT CELEBRATION: This is something I need to work on..  But HELL YEAH has a nice ring to it. 

The crazy part? Once we do the first tiny action we're much more likely to do more!

When I'm on the couch undistracted I generally feel like taking some long deep breathes..  Sometimes I even feel like chanting a mantra!

Enough about me..  Here are some actionable steps for the Behavior Design process.

Step 1: Clarify your aspiration. 

Step 2: Explore behavior options.

Step 3: Match with Specific Behaviors.

Step 4: Start Tiny.

Step 5: Find a good prompt. 

Step 6: Celebrate Success!

Step 7: Troubleshoot, Iterate & Expand.


“You already have a lot of reliable routines, and each of them can serve as an Action Prompt for a new habit." 

"You put your feet on the floor in the morning. You boil water for tea or turn on the coffee maker. You flush the toilet. You drop your kid off at school. You hang your coat up when you walk through the door at the end of the day. You put your head on a pillow every night."

"These actions are already embedded in your life so seamlessly and naturally that you don’t have to think about them. And because of that, they make fantastic prompts. It’s an elegant design solution because it’s so natural. You already have an entire ecosystem of routines humming along nicely—you just have to tap into it."

"Action Prompts are so much more useful than Person Prompts and Context Prompts that I’ve given them a name: Anchors." 

"When talking about Tiny Habits, I use the term Anchor to describe something in your life that is already stable and solid. The concept is pretty simple. If there is a habit you want, find the right Anchor within your current routine to serve as your prompt, your reminder. I selected the term ‘anchor’ because you are attaching your new habit to something solid and reliable.”

The most important part of B = MAP?


  • They are the invisible drivers of our lives because no behavior happens without a prompt!
  • “You can disrupt a behavior you don’t want by removing the prompt. This isn’t always easy, but removing the prompt is your best first move to stop a behavior from happening.”


These are specific things that you do each day without fail ALREADY..

Drinking Coffee

Brushing Your Teeth

Going to Bed Each Night

  • They are powerful because they are a prompt that you can count on!
  • Anytime we are trying to build a new Habit we would do well to attach it to an Anchor.
  • Then we would use this basic algorithm: After I [ANCHOR], I will [New Habit]

Let's setup some Anchor Algorithms!

What is something you do each day in the morning?

What is something you do each day in the afternoon?

What is something you do at work repeatedly?


“What might surprise you is this: In English we do not have a perfect word to describe the positive feeling we get from experiencing success." 

"I’ve read piles of scientific literature on related topics, and I’ve done my own research in this area, and I am convinced that we are lacking a good word. (The closest label is ‘authentic pride,’ but that’s not an exact match.) So, with the encouragement of three of the world’s experts on human emotion, I decided to create a new word for this feeling of success."

"Ready? I call this feeling Shine."

"You know this feeling already: You feel Shine when you ace an exam. You feel Shine when you give a great presentation and people clap at the end. You feel Shine when you smell something delicious that you cooked for the first time."

"I believe my celebration technique is a breakthrough in habit formation. I hope you can see why. By skillfully celebrating, you create a feeling of Shine, which in turn causes your brain to encode the new habit."

"If I could teach you Tiny Habits in person, I would start our training by focusing on celebrations. I would help you find celebrations that are natural and effective for you. We would practice them together and it would be a blast. I would train you in celebrations before teaching you about the Fogg Behavior Model, or the power of simplicity, or Anchors, or recipes for Tiny Habits. Celebrations would be first—because it’s the most important skill for creating habits.”

The most important piece of building new habits?

Celebrating your wins!

  • Pretty much the opposite of what most of us are doing now right?
  • Instead of celebrating our wins most of us spend our time tearing ourself down for our mistakes.

Emotions are what create our habits.

  • Feeling good about what we've done is important.  That feeling hits the reward centre in our mind and encourages us to do it again!
  • The most addictive things on earth really circumvent this process via introducing those chemicals into our mind exogenously. 
  • But through the power (and skill) of celebrating our wins IMMEDIATELY and with INTENSITY we can create a positive feedback loop in a healthy way. 

What does it look like?

Right after accomplishing a new habits or foregoing an old one do a little fist pump and say YES or whatever is natural to you! 

I really like 'I'm on a winning streak' or 'That's like me' vs just a simple yes.  But to each their own!

Final word:

“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.”

Back to blog