Does making a small change, starting a tiny habit, really make a difference? Dr. BJ Fogg has done a lot of academic research and seems to think so. This week I’ve taken his e-mail based course about tiny habits.

Here’s a TED talk from Dr BJ Fogg that explains the technique some more

Firstly why am I doing this. Well, I’m in the middle of reviewing my personal and business goals and wondering why I’ve achieved some but failed on others. The first thing I learned was I had too many goals and I couldn’t possibly devote enough time to them all to succeed. The second was I was doing some things because I thought that I should do them, but I wasn’t really motivated or passionate about them. But the one thing I noticed more than anything was that the goals that had been achieved had one thing in common. I was committing a huge amount of effort to them and doing things on an almost daily basis. Last year my son moved house and I helped him sort out a new bathroom. We achieved it because we took a week out and worked on it exclusively. Focus got it done.

In the business situation that sort of focus is rarely possible, and we need to do business projects along with all the routine business as usual stuff. Making time is difficult. Business as usual gets done quite often because there are processes and systems in place to make sure it happens. Suppose that we can take a lesson from this and have some regular activities that makes sure projects get done; create some new habits for ourselves as business owners and for the people around us from whom we need support to deliver the new business goal.

What I’ve learned from tiny habits this week is the power of introducing a new habit by making it so small you can hardly fail to do it. I’ll give you an example. One of the things I know I’ve struggled with is drinking enough water during the day and losing energy because of dehydration as the day goes on. So one of the three tiny habits I’ve tried this week is simply putting a water-glass on my desk as I walk through the office door each morning. It worked. I drank water. I even went to fill the glass a few times each day. I spent one day this week out of the office travelling to see clients, the effect of the new habit was I bought a bottles of water instead of my regular coffee addiction!

Each of the tiny habits I’ve tried this week have been personal things, but the discovery I’ve made is they work. Next week I’m going to apply the learning to my current business project and make sure there are things in place that change my behaviors so I get it done.

Theres a simple lesson. Make a tiny tiny change, something so small it’s almost impossible not to do it, and this will act as a trigger to make something bigger happen. Tiny habits work.Tiny habits need to be embedded in the goals that I develop from my first “Quarterly Personal Offsite”