Thursday, January 5, 2012

3 Tiny Habits

Recently I ran into a method that explained to me why and how I was able to get in the habit of reading the scriptures every day. BJ Fogg, a PhD from Stanford has a motivational method called “3 Tiny Habits” he developed to help people make positive changes in their lives in about a week. He recommends that if you are trying to develop a good habit, then you make it something extremely small that you can do in about 30 seconds every single day and then tie that action to something that you already do everyday, so that the first action becomes a trigger for the new action that you are trying to make a habit.

So, if you want to get in the habit of reading your scriptures every single day, make it your goal to read just a single verse. That’s it. (And don’t underestimate the power of reading a single verse! I have felt my entire outlook on life change from reading a single verse on those days when that was all I could do!) The beauty of starting a tiny habit is that it is also painless. If you think reading only a single verse is too short a time, just remember that scripture that out of small things come that which is great.

When I first started reading my scriptures on my own, I tied my reading activity to the activity of getting into bed at the end of the day. I was able to read just about every day for two years because of that. After that two years, I changed my routine to reading in the morning, so I tied it to the activity of getting dressed. A few years ago, I changed my routine again and I tied my reading to the activity of eating breakfast. I can see that I have been able to maintain my reading habit because I tie it to something else I always do. It also shows me that my family was able to consistently do family scripture study because it always came right after dinner; we couldn’t leave until we read the scriptures together. Scripture study was tied to dinner.

So, why is my title 3 Tiny Habits? Well, if it happens that your new years resolutions are implementing family prayer and family scripture study, all you have to do is figure out an activity that you already do as a family that you can tie those small habits to. Make it short so it is painless. And as the third habit, how about giving each person a hug and a kiss? (My family growing up actually tied this habit to family prayer.) That will make it so that each person will get at least one physical sign of affection each day.


Rozy Lass said...

Wow, I 've been doing it right without knowing why. A year ago our Stake President challenged us to read the Book of Mormon is six months, the next Stake Conference. As we looked at when we could do this we decided that we were all together for breakfast anyway, we'd just eat a little earlier and allow time for reading. It worked so well that when we finished the Book of Mormon we began the New Testament and now are reading the Pearl of Great Price. When we finish that we've read the Book of Mormon again and then read the Doctrine and Covenants. We have four boys, one on a mission and three to get ready. Reading the scriptures daily has been such a huge blessings in our lives. The "tie it to something you already do" advice is great because it works.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

I like this...we read scriptures before or after breakfast in the am,so I think that's why it's been so successful this last year.

Rach said...

Love this! Really like the kiss and hug for everyone after family prayer/scripture...brilliant. : )

Anonymous said...

I love this idea - changing habits...This new year, I've been really thinking about that idea - of changing a habit rather than completing a goal.

Some things are already habits for me - like scripture reading. However, I'm not the best at prayer. I've been trying to make a habit of prayer in my life - and I think now I know what I'll "tie" it to - after I escort the kids to school, I will have the time and peace of mind to spend a few minutes praying.

Thanks for this post!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about 3 Tiny Habits.

My parents live in Bountiful, and I want to send this to them.

But my name is spelled "Fogg". Can you add a g? Then I can point my parents your way. They will like it.


BJ Fogg

Michaela Stephens said...

BJ Fogg, sorry about the mispelling of your name. I corrected it. Thanks for sharing your methods with us; as you can see, it gives us a lot of hope of making positive changes in our lives!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and you can delete my comment. I didn't know how else to reach you.