Break the habit in baby steps, choose a trigger, iterate

1 minute read
  1. Pick 6 habits for 2010.
  2. Pick 1 of the 6 habits to start with.
  3. Commit as publicly as possible to creating this new habit in 2 months.
  4. Break the habit into 8 baby steps, starting with a ridiculously easy step. Example: if you want to floss, the first step is just to get out a piece of floss at the same time each night.
  5. Choose a trigger for your habit – something already in your routine that will immediately precede the habit. Examples: eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, showering, waking up, arriving at the office, leaving the office, getting home in the evening.
  6. Do the 1st, really easy baby step for one week, right after the trigger. Post your progress publicly.
  7. Each week, move on to a slightly harder step. You’ll want to progress faster, but don’t. You’re building a new habit. Repeat this until you’ve done 8 weeks.
  8. You now have a new habit! Commit to Habit No. 2 and repeat the process.

from The 6 Changes Method by Leo Babauta

This is an interesting step-by-step method to make life changes. I agree with many parts of it, mostly break habit in baby steps (4), choose a trigger (5) and repeat (7).

Baby steps are critical, in order to “make changes without noticing” and the triggers are hooks to our brain ability to automate sequential and repeating tasks (think about walking for example).

I think those three elements work well for either one’s life, work environment or team changes. They’re also similar to some parts of BJ Fogg‘s theories and, of course, my own Motivational Design. I also think that they could play an important role in games and adoption of new tools. :)