B.J. Fogg is a behavior scientist and author. He is the founder and director of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab.
Here is the full text of Fogg’s talk titled “Tiny Surprises for Happiness and Health” at TEDxMaui.
Today I want to share with you my favorite habit. I’m a behavior scientist, and in my research I’ve never set out to find my favorite habit.
But I guess it’s sort of like a geologist who’s studying a landscape, in a new way. And as he’s doing the research, he stumbles across a gem, and that’s hard to ignore. And that’s what it’s like with me, as I am doing my research – here’s this gem, it’s my favorite habit; and I’m going to share it with you today, in a way that might surprise you.
I’ve been studying human behavior for about 20 years, and in 2011, I started sharing a new way to bring behaviors into your life, a method that I call Tiny Habits. And along the way as I was sharing it, I’m a researcher, so of course I’m doing research, on how to teach it better, and what works and what doesn’t, in terms of creating habits.
And, the bigger questions, you look at the data and you see some of the bigger research questions getting answered.
For example: What is it that makes a behavior become automatic? In other words, become a habit. The short answer on that is emotions create habits.
Another big research question: What is the relative importance of simplicity and motivation, when it comes to behavior change? The short answer on that is, when it comes to long term change, simplicity is the more reliable factor. So those are some of the big research questions, and I look at the data and you try to make sense of it.