Behaviour by Design

I found this article yesterday and found it pretty interesting.  It's worth a read but basically there are a few take aways: 

Behaviour is a combination of motivation and ability with a trigger to set it off. If you are very motivated to do something but you have low ability (i.e. it's hard) then you are unlikely to perform the behaviour and to create a new habit. 

If your ability is high (i.e. it's easy) but your motivation is low then it's equally unlikely you are going to do the behaviour and create a new habit. 

His point is that we spend all our time trying to move the motivation part of the equation which is very hard, especially when trying to change it in other people. Maybe we should look at moving the ability i.e. making it easy. 

So he advocates finding the minimum enjoyable action. what is the smallest, literally laughable thing you can do in the area you are focussing on. i've been playing around with it a bit. so my desk is always messy and i want to make it cleaner. so my minimum enjoyable action is to put one piece of paper in the bin or do one action that moves my desk towards being cleaner and more organised. should take only a few seconds. 

It's been pretty easy to do and the thing is that it creates a habit and that's the important thing. once a habit has been created i.e. each day i come in and clean my desk before i turn on my computer (even if it's just a single piece of paper) then you have a habit. once you have the habit it's reasonably simple to increase the things you are doing. i've found in most cases it happens naturally. 

There's some other things in there about triggers and putting them aside your existing habits and a few other odds and ends.


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