Changing behaviours: the Fogg method

We’ve been thinking about the set of progressively deeper collaborative behaviours we’d like to see people using at BT. So when Feedly delivered me a blog pointing to a method all about changing behaviours I was immediately interested. I surfed around for a while, found lots of pretty pictures, and useful-looking diagrams, and here below is what I collected. I haven’t expanded on them much, I’m just letting them percolate into my brain and hopefully the brains of the people I work with by writing this blog. I wondered if any of my readers might have other things about habit change to set in contrast with “the Fogg method”.

The Fogg method

The method was created by BJ Fogg at Stanford. So it’s not an acronym. He says:

Only three things will change behavior in the long term.

Option A. Have an epiphany
Option B. Change your environment (what surrounds you)
Option C. Take baby steps (and celebrate victory)

Here’s Fogg’s TEDx talk

And therefore his method has three steps which are:

Step 1: get specific

Step 1 includes “Crispification” and “Priority Mapping.”


Be very specific—”crispify” your habit in a way that everybody understands the behaviour. Work out what kind of behaviour it is using this chart:

Most of what I am working on is a combination of a Green Dot behaviour (the setup needed to do the behaviour for the first time) followed by a Green Path behaviour (doing it repeatedly from now on).

I wonder if there’s another category for “green dot-paths” for things like Blogging or Personal Development Planning where the desired outcome is for it to happen intermittently from now on.

Fogg priority mapping: likelihood vs effectiveness

Here’s the diagram that tells the story of brainstorming and prioritising things that might influence the behaviour happening.

Step 2: make it easy

For Step 2 you can use Fogg’s four techniques to make behaviour easier. You consider options for adjusting the environment, the actor, and the behaviour itself.

Motivation: sensation, anticipation, belonging

Motivation model.

When motivation is high, get people to do hard things. (the motivation wave)

Critique: I think the motivation picture is bigger than this – as I said in my blog about the motivation mixing desk.

Six simplicity factors

Step 3: Trigger the behaviour

Step 3 accounts for behaviour as part of a dynamic system. Fogg’s techniques for “Sequencing,” “Domino Actions,” and “Starfishing” reveal how to trigger people at the right time, using the right channel.

Tiny habits

I love the concept of starting with building tiny habits and developing from there. Loads of my friends have been using a 0-5km running app to help them get started in a fitness regime. It really seems to work – small steps with a celebration of success does indeed help people to get started in developing a habit.

Sequencing: do it after something that already happens a lot

Starfish diagram: lots of paths to the target behaviour





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