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Tiny Habits - Book summary

Change is essential, yet it can be hard. This book by behavioral scientist Dr. B.J. Fogg presents a universal approach to help you understand all types of human behavior, and to design any behavioral change or habit. In this free Tiny Habits summary, you’ll learn the conceptual frameworks and steps for behavioral design using Tiny Habits.

Tiny Habits: An Overview

Everyone desires change at some point in life—be it to become healthier, to learn a new skill, or to improve our relationships and productivity. Yet, it can be hard to break a bad habit or to build a new one.

After years of research and experiments, Fogg found that the problem with change doesn’t lie with us as individuals, but with our approach. This book presents the Fogg Behavior Model (a universal model for analyzing and designing all types of human behavior), and Tiny Habits (a method to develop habits using baby steps). Together, they can help you to achieve any behavior change.

Tiny Habits summary - overview of frameworksThis system has been tested with more than 40,000 people and can work for virtually any behavior at work, at home, for individuals or groups.

Understanding Human Behavior


The Fogg Behavior Model says that there are 3 universal elements behind human behavior.

The 3 Elements of Behavior (MAP)

  • Motivation refers to your desire to do something.
  • Ability refers to your capacity to do the action.
  • Prompt refers the cue to do something, e.g. a reminder for a meeting.

B = MAP, i.e. a behavior will occur only when all 3 elements—Motivation, Ability and Prompt—converge. For example, you’ll donate to a charity if you already wish to donate (Motivation), you receive a reminder to donate (Prompt) and can donate easily by replying to the text message (Ability).

PAC: The 3 Sources of MAP

Once you understand how the elements work, you can use them to design almost any behavior. Specifically, for each of the 3 behavioral elements (MAP), there are 3 sources that shape behavioral change: Person, Action and Context (PAC). In short:

Tiny Habits summary - Fogg Behavior Model Ready to learn more about each of these elements (MAP + PAC), and how they come together to affect the “action line”? Check out our 14-page Tiny Habits summary for more insights from Fogg.

Using Tiny Habits in Behavioral Design

B.J. Fogg found that the best way to make a behavioral shift is to go small. Tiny habits are so effective because:

  • They’re fast to do, can fit into any schedule and allows you to start now.
  • They’re safe, unlike big or risky actions. If you make a mistake, it’s easy to try again.
  • They’re so tiny/easy that you don’t need to rely on your limited willpower.
  • Yet, they add up over time to deliver dramatic changes.

Basically, you use 7 steps to identify a desired behavior, make it tiny, fit it into your life, then cultivate it naturally.

Behavioral Design: 7 steps in 3 phases

In the book, Fogg takes us through 7 steps of behavioral design in great detail. The goal = inject all 3 MAP elements to ensure you’ll perform a behavior, then repeat it until it becomes a Tiny Habit, which eventually grows into bigger transformations over time.

Tiny Habits summary - 7 Steps for Behavior Design

Here are the 7 steps in a nutshell , which are elaborated further in the complete 14-page version of Tiny Habits summary:

  • Clarify your aspirations.
  • Do “magic wanding” and explore your behavior options
  • Find your “Golden Behaviors” using behavioral matching and focus mapping (Motivation)
  • Design a tiniest action that’s super-easy to perform (Ability)
  • Design a good prompt to fit the behavior into your existing routine (Prompt)
  • Celebrate each time you complete your tiny behavior. Create the positive feeling of Shine—that inner sense of success when you’ve won a contest, aced a test, or receive a standing ovation.
  • From the steps above, you can design your Tiny Habits ABC recipe. From there, the last step is to troubleshoot, iterate, and expand your habits so they’ll grow and multiply to create exponential results over time.

Getting Started with Tiny Habits

Once you grasp the key concepts and components of the Fogg Behavior Model, Tiny Habits and  Behavioral Design, you can use them to shape virtually any behavior.

In particular, you can use the approach to :

  • Untangle unwanted habits (i.e. break bad habits) in 3 phases;
  • Make behavioral changes at a group or collective level—either by co-designing behavioral change with others, or subtly using MAP to influence others’ behaviors; and
  • Create many small changes that snowball into massive transformation.

You can learn more about each of these areas in our full version of the Tiny Habits summary.

Getting the Most from Tiny Habits

If you’re ready to start building your own tiny habits by learning the exact steps and considerations involved in the behavioral design process, do check out our full book summary bundle of the Tiny Habits summary. This includes an infographic, 14-page text summary, and a 23-minute audio summary.

Tiny Habits summary - book summary bundle

This is an extremely detailed book, where B.J Fogg presents many examples, exercises, and illustrations of his behavior design models. He also shares numerous stories about behavioral change, from flossing one’s teeth, to multiplying one’s income, to reducing stress in a hospital. The book ends with appendices including a script for teaching the Fogg Behavioral Model, flowcharts for the 3 phases of untangling unwanted behaviors, 32 ways to frame success, 100 ways to celebrate, and 300 tiny habit recipes. Feel free to get a copy of the book or visit for more resources.

Want to learn more about habits?  Check out Atomic Habits summary, and The Power of Habit summary.

About the Author of Tiny Habits

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything is written by Dr. Brian Jeffrey Foggan American social scientist and author. He’s a research associate and adjunct professor at Stanford University, and the founder and director of the Behavior Design Lab. He has published several papers, authored/co-authored several books. For more details please visit

Tiny Habits Quotes

“Behaviors are like bicycles. They can look different, but the core mechanisms are the same. Wheels. Brakes. Pedals.”

“No matter what kind of change you want to make, matching yourself with the right behaviors is the key to changing your life for good.”

“Combine the right behaviors with the right chronology, and, poof, a new habit is created.”

“The feeling of success is a powerful catalyst for change.”

“The essence of Tiny Habits is this: Take a behavior you want, make it tiny, find where it fits naturally in your life, and nurture its growth.”

“Emotions create habits. Not repetition. Not frequency.”

“You’re a Habit Ninja, not a conformist. Find what works for you.”

“Taking the first step, no matter how small, can generate a sense of momentum that our brains love.”

“Creating positive habits is the place to start, and creating tiny positive habits is the path to developing much bigger ones.”

Click here to download the Tiny Habits summary & infographic

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