Triggers

When designing for behavior change, Dr. BJ Fogg, Director of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab, says “Put hot triggers in the path of motivated people.” This is the primary tenet of the Fogg Behavior Model.

But what exactly does this mean? What is a hot trigger?

A trigger word is a very popular performance psychology technique = we teach athletes to use trigger words to better regulate their emotion and energy for peak performance. A trigger for behavior change, though, can be more than a word. It can be anything. Anything that tells you to do it now.

During a work meeting at Stanford a few weeks ago, BJ said “Let’s say you want to eat more fruits and vegetables….what is the one thing that will trigger you to do that? Do you need to see them in your fridge? Do you need a daily reminder in your IPhone…..?”

What he means is, how can you design your environment for healthier habits?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fruits and vegetables conversation. I am very guilty of letting the fruit in my fridge go to waste. I see it every time I open the fridge. But why don’t I eat it? What is the hot trigger missing?

This is what the strawberries in my fridge usually look like:

In can see the strawberries in their container; and I placed them front and center. But that still doesn’t trigger me to eat them. Is it really that hard to take strawberries out of their container, rinse and cut them?

So I decided to design the strawberries in my fridge. I prepared them ready to eat, and now I see this in my when I  open the door:

Happy to report regular consumption of strawberries over these last two weeks. Not a single berry has gone to waste.

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