When we think about behavior change, we often think about motivation. How can we motivate ourselves or others to do this great new thing? But BJ Fogg thinks we have it all wrong, “People underestimate how important the prompts are, designing the prompts, and timing the prompts.” He adds, “The mistake is, everybody assumes it’s about motivation. We’ve got to motivate people to do X, Y, and Z. The motivation piece has just been overgeneralized.” As the Founder and Director of Stanford’s Behavior Design Lab and Behavioral Science Chair of Thrive’s Scientific Advisory Board, Fogg understands that forming new habits requires reminders to solidify new behaviors. These are also known as prompts.
In this video, Fogg explains the importance of these prompts, and how to make them most effective, “The opportunity is getting really good at prompt design: the timing of the prompt and the channel through which you prompt. Those are the two most important things.” He goes on to explain that you can add two components to your prompts: motivator or ability factor. By designing your prompts in a way that makes them easy, quick, and useful, you increase your chances of doing the behavior and, as a result, forming a new habit.