21 days make a habit and today I celebrate the fact that I am 21 days into my 365 Days of Ted journey. For this reason I decided to seek out a Ted talk on habits and found a great one by BJ Fogg called “Forget big change, start with a tiny habit” In this talk BJ shares his method of creating big change in a small way.
What I learned from watching BJ Fogg’s Ted talk “Forget big change, start with a tiny habit”
This particular talk really resonated with me as it covers a principle that I have adopted in my life over the past 12 months with a good level of success and that is attaching new habits onto existing ones. The way this works is when you participate in the old habit, your brain is trained to mentally trigger the new habit. An example that BJ gives is every morning he always does push-ups after he has been to the bathroom. The two morning habits have become a pair and one habit is no longer complete without the other.
For the past 12 months I have implemented this for a few small habits I have adopted into my daily life and it works! The first few days I really needed to drill into my brain the connection but after a while it becomes automatic. The way that BJ’s process differs to the one I have been using is that he recommends using tiny habits and then increasing them gradually over time. At first he used to only do 2 push-ups each morning but a year later that number has increased to 70 daily push-ups. That would seem like the ideal approach I think as tackling big change head on can be hards so packaging it into bite sized tasks would seem less overwhelming. In a way that’s what I am doing for my 365 Days of Ted I never think too long about how many days are left in the challenge as it would overwhelm me. I only think about the current days Ted talk and post and because of that any anxiety about the challenge has been very fleeting and rare.
“Don’t design for the outcome. You need to design for the behaviour that leads to the outcome.”
That was a quote by BJ and pretty much sums up how we can increase our probability of change and success. For example if we are trying to loose a few kilos our focus needs to be on the behaviour that will lead to this change. That might be an exercise session each morning as soon as you get out of bed or ditching the lunchtime soft drink and replacing with water. BJ put together a great formula which will help trigger those new habits.
After [existing habit]
I will [tiny new habit]
Today’s action step
I have a confession to make. Although I have been getting my instalments of my 365 Days of Ted posts out on a daily basis, sometimes they are quite late in the evening. I just have no schedule in the day so I have been writing them as I can fit them into my day. This Ted talk served as a reminder that I need to attach the process of watching and blogging about a Ted talk to an existing habit. So as of tomorrow I am going to try and attach the habit of writing a 365 Days of Ted post after an existing habit. Usually after I eat breakfast (another habit I am trying to adopt) I drink a cup of coffee and read the latest posts on my Feedly app. I will now attach the habit of blog writing directly after my morning coffee.. Wish me luck!
I have created a worksheet to help me attach new habits onto old ones. Please feel free to use it too!
How do you develop new habits? Are there any habits that you are wanting to develop? Please share them in the comments below.