The B Map to New Habits

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He's the Kevin Bacon of habits. Everyone who writes about the topic seems to be connected to BJ Fogg, our guest on this week's Disrupt Yourself podcast.

But only recently has he collected and composed his ideas into a book. You'll be glad he has.

If you want to scale your current S Curve of Learning more quickly; you want to achieve exponential growth faster, then, like me, you’re perpetually on the lookout for the ‘thing' that will make that possible.

Even though we know “the one thing” is a fairytale.

Growth isn’t about big things. It's the small and simple, sometimes itsy, bitsy things, done repeatedly, that get us moving then zooming up an S Curve. And Fogg has a formula.

B = MAP. B is for Behavior.

To change our behavior, we need to be Motivated. According to Fogg, each of us has about a bazillion self-improvements we want to make (true for me and probably for you), so motivation is our starting point.

Then comes the Prompt. Whatever new behavior you want to implement needs to be anchored to something. Do it when you first wake up. Or brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, drive to work, eat lunch, turn on your computer.

For example, I decided that prior to an interview or coaching call, when I turn on Zoom or Skype I will exhale, sit quietly for two seconds and say “slow down”, three times, to position myself in the moment with the person I'm about to speak to. My prompt is after I open the computer and am about to open Zoom.

Keeping it simple is critical. If I decided that every time I'm about to hop on a call I would meditate for five minutes nothing would happen. No way. Too hard. But exhale, quiet for 2 seconds, slow down? We’re talking ten seconds at most. A new habit has to be something we have the Ability to do. With a prompt and a simple change that I’m able to make, if I still don’t do it, then I'm not really motivated.

Good formula, right?

I just used it to unpack something one of my coaching clients wants to achieve—a class they want to take; something they want to learn. Motivation. The class meets once a week. Prompt. But the client wasn’t getting there. We needed simpler actions. First, connect with the teacher so the teacher knows him and anticipates his attendance. Second, complete expected work 48 hours before class so that lack of preparation isn’t a deterrent. Finally, ON the day of the class, arrange to go with another person—an accountability partner. Now the change is broken down into small enough pieces to facilitate the ability to act.

What I love most about this formula is that it can be applied to so many things. And you can use this to figure out if you are on the right S Curve, and to make progress along the curve. If the Prompt, and the Ability are there, and it's still not happening you can diagnose that your motivation isn’t there and use that knowledge to help you progress along the S Curves that matter to you. For even more on this topic, revisit the James Clear podcast episode.

If you'd like to read (MOTIVATION) BJ Fogg’s book, go to the show notes (PROMPT) and say in the comments, “I'm all about tiny habits” (ACT), and you will be eligible for one of two copies of his book.

So, what's your tiny habit you want to develop?

My best,


P.S. Some of you responded with feedback (even pushback) to last week’s newsletter Say Yes to No. Dr. Bob Nelson thought I might have said No a little too hastily to TEDx: “New challenges STRETCH us and they wouldn't have even approached you if they didn't think it was in your realm of expertise.” Something for me to think about!

And Pierre Powell offered this insight: “A few years ago I wrote a blog called “Just say no” and after lots of comments I wrote a second blog called “Just say yes”. I actually find that both are really important. The problem is the middle ground, as you discuss. The “maybe” zone or the “soft yes” is problematic. Clearly, you said “YES” to writing the book. It is a “Yes” of conviction, commitment, and action. And, you clearly said “NO” to the TED program with conviction, commitment and action. The Yes and No were aligned with your highest intentions. So yes is not the problem, it is saying yes without intentionality and/or alignment!”

Thanks to all who shared their thoughts!

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