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Welcome to Design Your Habits, an online class on Skillshare. My name is Tiago 
Forte and I will be your guide.
Enroll in this class for free at http://designyourhabits.co, sign up for my newsletter 
at http://fortelabs.co/blog, or fo...
Here are the 6 main units in this class. I’ll start off by giving you a brief 
introduction explaining why you should even...
Let’s start off with a very basic question: “Why habits?” What is the big deal about 
habits? To answer this question, I n...
To visualize this a different way, values-first taught us to answer the Why. It taught 
us to think about our values, our ...
In this class I’ll show you what I believe is the most effective answer to these 
questions: designing your own habits. Ha...
This is a different way of thinking about achievement. Listening to the stories of 
successful people we admire, we only h...
What we don’t hear about are the small daily routines that made these 
breakthroughs possible. This is a much more realist...
So then the question becomes, how can I create the consistency to become 1% 
better every day? This is a question that we’...
Willpower, Motivation, Self-Control, Excitement...these are short-term tools. They 
do not give us the endurance to stay c...
To answer this question, we need to look at how our brain naturally creates 
consistency. There are countless things that ...
The answer is, with a dedicated structure called the basal ganglia. The basal 
ganglia is always scanning for repeated beh...
Its function is to turn as many of these behaviors as possible into automatic 
habits, so you don’t have to make a decisio...
The basic pattern that governs human habits has 3 parts, as Charles Duhigg 
describes in his book The Power of Habit.
First is the Trigger, a sight, sound, emotion, or place that signals to the basal 
ganglia that a familiar situation is ha...
This triggers a specific Behavior, which can be as simple as covering your mouth 
when you cough, or as complex as driving...
Finally, there’s some kind of result. It can be physiological, like a sugar rush after 
eating a cookie, or psychological,...
When it’s all over, the basal ganglia kind of shakes itself awake and asks, “How’d 
it go?” If the result was positive, an...
This pattern is what we call The Habit Loop. It’s important that you really 
understand this model, because it’s the found...
What do you do when you hear your phone go off? The sound triggers you to 
check for new messages, which gives you the rew...
How about when you feel that low blood sugar after lunch? You may get up and, 
before you know it, you’re down at the deli...
Now it’s your turn. Go ahead and pause this video, and see if you can identify 
your trigger for checking email. Common tr...
...Habit Loop. What I call the Habit Loop 2.0. The core is the same - trigger, 
behavior, reward. These are hardwired into...
...set up a series of supporting structures around them that have been proven by 
research and experience to increase your...
Over the course of this class, I’ll guide you step-by-step as you fill in a 
personalized template with each component of ...
This class takes place across a variety of media, and I’d like to briefly point them 
out. The videos provide the main con...
Although we’ll be zeroing in on a single habit to make this process more tangible, 
I want you to keep in mind that this c...
To wrap up this introduction, I’d like you to set up your project workspace. Scroll 
down the page and click this link on ...
In this section, you’ll learn how to build a new habit loop. I’ll help you choose a 
new habit you would like to start, wi...
Let’s start off by learning about Keystone Habits.
There are many different kinds of habits - goal-oriented habits, emotional and 
mental habits, productivity habits. You ca...
Here are some common examples: exercise, yoga, breakfast, making your bed, 
clearing your desk. You can identify your keys...
I’m also going to ask you to not pick a bad habit to quit, since this is outside the 
scope of this class; don’t pick a ha...
I’m going to ask you to formulate your target habit in a very specific way. Although 
these are not absolute rules, the cl...
Every time you see this red “Project Update” banner, it means it’s time to do some 
work. Take a few minutes after this le...
I will be following along with each step with my own real example, using 
meditation as my keystone habit. In the Project ...
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to find the right trigger to activate your new habit.
A trigger can be almost anything, but the very best kind of trigger is an existing 
habit. We call these Anchor Habits.
These are some of the most common anchor habits - getting out of bed, 
breakfast, arriving at work, lunch, leaving work, b...
The ideal trigger should be as consistent as possible (getting dressed is better 
than getting ready for work because you ...
Take a moment now to choose your trigger, fill in space #2 on your template, and 
post the results to your Workspace. You ...
For my example, I initially chose waking up as my trigger, but found myself falling 
back asleep. I switched to after brea...
In this lesson, we’ll discuss how to pick rewards that help us not only look forward 
to performing our habit, but to actu...
When we say “rewards” we’re referring to what the research calls ‘conditioned 
reinforcement.” This is a subject that has ...
In a study of regular exercisers published in the Journal for Applied Social 
Psychology, 92% said they did it to feel goo...
...and that is craving. Think about the lengths you will go to to satisfy a craving. 
You’ll drive across town to get that...
Here’s some examples of rewards. They can be physical, like doing a victory lap 
or congratulating yourself out loud. They...
Before you decide, here’s some guidelines: rewards should be something you 
can deliver quickly and immediately after comp...
Take a moment to choose your reward or rewards, fill it in your Habit Template, 
and post the results to your workspace.
For my meditation example, I chose to take a moment of gratitude, and to check 
off my habit in the Lift app. The relaxati...
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to set up reminders to get the ball rolling.
The ideal reminder is unavoidable - you can’t claim that you didn’t notice it - and 
automated - you don’t have to remembe...
Here are some ideas. Physical options include Post-it notes in unavoidable 
places, placing objects where you will notice ...
Take a moment now to pick your reminder, fill it in space #4 on your Template, and 
post your results. It’s also a good id...
For meditation, I chose an 8:30 alarm on my phone, because by this time I’m up 
and getting ready. Having my Template post...
Enroll in this class for free at http://designyourhabits.co, sign up for my newsletter 
at http://fortelabs.co/blog, or fo...
Design Your Habits Online Class
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Design Your Habits Online Class

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Design Your Habits is an online class that uses the principles and tools of Behavior Design to guide you through a practical project: designing a sustainable daily habit to improve your productivity, creativity, health, or wellbeing.

-Enroll for free at http://designyourhabits.co
-Sign up to receive my Curated Habit Resources at http://fortelabs.co/blog
-Follow me on Twitter @fortelabs
-Watch the first 4 lessons on YouTube (http://bit.ly/1uJ8v4y)
-Watch a highlight reel of this class being delivered live (http://bit.ly/1ABUlVH)

Sources and attribution at http://www.fortelabs.co/design-your-habits-sources.

Published in: Self Improvement

Design Your Habits Online Class

  1. 1. Welcome to Design Your Habits, an online class on Skillshare. My name is Tiago Forte and I will be your guide.
  2. 2. Enroll in this class for free at http://designyourhabits.co, sign up for my newsletter at http://fortelabs.co/blog, or follow me on Twitter @fortelabs
  3. 3. Here are the 6 main units in this class. I’ll start off by giving you a brief introduction explaining why you should even care about habit formation. Then you’ll pick a new habit you’d like to start, and we’ll look at how to build a new habit loop around it. We’ll learn about the importance of identity-based behavior change, create some support systems to keep you on track, and set a deadline so you can evaluate your results. I’ll conclude with some final thoughts as you put your new plan into action.
  4. 4. Let’s start off with a very basic question: “Why habits?” What is the big deal about habits? To answer this question, I need to give you just a little bit of history. There have been 3 modern eras of self-improvement, according to my favorite blogger Venkat Rao. The first was “values-first,” and its defining book was The Power of Positive Thinking, published in 1952. In this era, the dominant idea was that by clarifying your deepest values, what really mattered to you in your life, everything else would become clear. The next era was defined by the book Erroneous Zones, published in 1976. The thinking was that, while values were important, it was really goals that drove human achievement. Most of us grew up and were educated in the goals-first era, which is why every book we’ve ever read, every seminar or class we’ve ever been to put such an emphasis on writing down our goals. We are now living in the third era, the “process-first” era, which was kicked off by the book Getting Things Done in 2002. The idea is that, while values and goals are as important as ever, the crucial missing element is the process you use to get there.
  5. 5. To visualize this a different way, values-first taught us to answer the Why. It taught us to think about our values, our purpose, our mission. Goals-first taught us to answer the What, and we learned to identify our goals, priorities, milestones, objectives. But until now, we’ve had trouble answering the How. How do I translate my big goals into concrete daily actions? How do I create behaviors that take me day by day closer to my objectives? How, in short, do I connect my Why with my What?
  6. 6. In this class I’ll show you what I believe is the most effective answer to these questions: designing your own habits. Habits are the bridge that connect our values to our goals.
  7. 7. This is a different way of thinking about achievement. Listening to the stories of successful people we admire, we only hear about the spark of genius, the lucky break, the leap of faith. These stories become myths that make success sound like something magical or lucky.
  8. 8. What we don’t hear about are the small daily routines that made these breakthroughs possible. This is a much more realistic picture of success: the daily discipline of doing just 1% better today than you did yesterday. This approach is not as sexy as the big win, but it has the power to produce incredible results over time. Improving just 1% each day results in a 3,741% improvement over just a year.
  9. 9. So then the question becomes, how can I create the consistency to become 1% better every day? This is a question that we’re not usually prepared to answer. All of our normal tools…
  10. 10. Willpower, Motivation, Self-Control, Excitement...these are short-term tools. They do not give us the endurance to stay consistent over time.
  11. 11. To answer this question, we need to look at how our brain naturally creates consistency. There are countless things that you already do every day right? Sleeping, eating, checking email, brushing your teeth. How does your brain so easily handle hundreds of these small decisions every single day?
  12. 12. The answer is, with a dedicated structure called the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is always scanning for repeated behaviors that fit a certain pattern.
  13. 13. Its function is to turn as many of these behaviors as possible into automatic habits, so you don’t have to make a decision in the future, saving time and energy. In the next lesson, we'll reverse engineer this pattern and see how we can put it to work for us.
  14. 14. The basic pattern that governs human habits has 3 parts, as Charles Duhigg describes in his book The Power of Habit.
  15. 15. First is the Trigger, a sight, sound, emotion, or place that signals to the basal ganglia that a familiar situation is happening.
  16. 16. This triggers a specific Behavior, which can be as simple as covering your mouth when you cough, or as complex as driving all the way to work.
  17. 17. Finally, there’s some kind of result. It can be physiological, like a sugar rush after eating a cookie, or psychological, like a small feeling of amusement when checking Facebook.
  18. 18. When it’s all over, the basal ganglia kind of shakes itself awake and asks, “How’d it go?” If the result was positive, and the reward was received, this behavior is reinforced on a neurochemical level.
  19. 19. This pattern is what we call The Habit Loop. It’s important that you really understand this model, because it’s the foundation of everything else to come. Let’s look at a few examples.
  20. 20. What do you do when you hear your phone go off? The sound triggers you to check for new messages, which gives you the reward of feeling connected.
  21. 21. How about when you feel that low blood sugar after lunch? You may get up and, before you know it, you’re down at the deli grabbing a sweet snack or a drink. This gives you a small sugar rush and the energy to work through the afternoon, strongly reinforcing this behavior.
  22. 22. Now it’s your turn. Go ahead and pause this video, and see if you can identify your trigger for checking email. Common triggers are hearing the new email notification, seeing the unread count in your inbox, or sitting down to work. But it could also be purely mental: the feeling that you’re missing something, a desire to connect with others, or the anxiety of not being sure what to work on next. Now pause it again and think of what your reward is. It could be receiving new interesting information, a feeling of being part of the discussion, or simply a little bit of distraction from an unappealing task. Now that you understand the basic habit loop, let me introduce the project this class is built around. I’m going to ask you to pick any new habit you would like to establish in your life, whether it involves becoming more productive, eating better, exercising more, being more creative, or something else. Then, we will construct a new-and-improved...
  23. 23. ...Habit Loop. What I call the Habit Loop 2.0. The core is the same - trigger, behavior, reward. These are hardwired into our brain and can’t be changed. What we’re going to do is…
  24. 24. ...set up a series of supporting structures around them that have been proven by research and experience to increase your chances of success.
  25. 25. Over the course of this class, I’ll guide you step-by-step as you fill in a personalized template with each component of the Habit Loop 2.0. Once you understand it, you'll be able to use this template to design any new habit in the future.
  26. 26. This class takes place across a variety of media, and I’d like to briefly point them out. The videos provide the main content and instructions for the class. The Project Guide, which you can access in its own tab, is where you can find the links and documents you’ll need to create your project. The Habit Loop 2.0 Template is a PDF document you can fill out on your computer or print out and complete by hand. The Discussions tab contains ongoing discussions around topics related to the class. You should post your questions here. The Curated Resources are a guide to the best habit resources I’ve found across the web, including articles, books, apps, and websites. Finally, to help you actually put your newly designed habit into practice, I’ve created a guided coaching plan on Lift, a popular habit tracking app for iOS, Android, and web. Don’t worry, I’ll provide links and instructions to each of these resources at the appropriate time.
  27. 27. Although we’ll be zeroing in on a single habit to make this process more tangible, I want you to keep in mind that this class is not about solving that one problem in that one area of your life. It’s about developing the larger skill of habitforging, which can be applied to any area of your life.
  28. 28. To wrap up this introduction, I’d like you to set up your project workspace. Scroll down the page and click this link on the right. Please start off by answering these 3 questions in your Workspace, to clarify what you’re looking for and help me understand your needs: First, What is your Habit Personality Type? You can find a link in the Project Guide to a quiz to find out. Second, why did you sign up for this class? As specifically as possible, what are you looking for? And third, what has been your most consistent habit in the past? What good habit are you most proud of? I also encourage you to invite a friend to take this class with you. This will be very helpful when it comes time to find an accountability partner. Both you and they will receive a month of free membership when they sign up. In the next lesson, you’ll select the new habit you’ll be working on.
  29. 29. In this section, you’ll learn how to build a new habit loop. I’ll help you choose a new habit you would like to start, with a trigger and a reward. I’ll also show you how to set up reminders to get your new habit started.
  30. 30. Let’s start off by learning about Keystone Habits.
  31. 31. There are many different kinds of habits - goal-oriented habits, emotional and mental habits, productivity habits. You can pick any one you want, and I have a list of good examples in the Project Guide, but I suggest that you pick a keystone habit. A keystone habit is one that forms a foundation for other habits.
  32. 32. Here are some common examples: exercise, yoga, breakfast, making your bed, clearing your desk. You can identify your keystone habits by asking yourself “What’s the one thing that, if I do it, the rest of my day goes better?” These habits create the structure and energy you need to tackle other habits.
  33. 33. I’m also going to ask you to not pick a bad habit to quit, since this is outside the scope of this class; don’t pick a habit you really dislike doing, but instead one you actually kind of enjoy, you just can’t seem to get around to it; and don’t pick something you’re not comfortable sharing, since the feedback you’ll get from other students is one of the most valuable parts of this class.
  34. 34. I’m going to ask you to formulate your target habit in a very specific way. Although these are not absolute rules, the closer you can get the better. Your target habit should be short (‘spending time’ is kind of a vague commitment - lunch or coffee is easy), it should be specific (there’s a million ways to become informed - reading one article is more tangible), something you can do repeatedly (not a one-time event), and, if possible, something you will do daily (taking a long hike every day might not be feasible, so start with a daily walk).
  35. 35. Every time you see this red “Project Update” banner, it means it’s time to do some work. Take a few minutes after this lesson to think carefully about your target habit, download the Habit Loop 2.0 template PDF, and fill in space #1. Then post your work to your Project Workspace. See the Project Guide for specific instructions. I also cannot encourage you enough to look in the Project Gallery tab and give feedback on other people’s work. Helping others is truly the best way to learn. You can give each other encouragement, provide accountability, or offer tips on their efforts from your own experience. I've also created discussions on the most popular habits, so you can exchange ideas with people pursuing the same goal.
  36. 36. I will be following along with each step with my own real example, using meditation as my keystone habit. In the Project Guide you can find other completely filled out Templates on other habits like drinking water, waking up early, running, and doing a weekly review, so you can follow along with those too. In the next lesson, I’ll help you find the perfect trigger to go along with your new habit.
  37. 37. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to find the right trigger to activate your new habit.
  38. 38. A trigger can be almost anything, but the very best kind of trigger is an existing habit. We call these Anchor Habits.
  39. 39. These are some of the most common anchor habits - getting out of bed, breakfast, arriving at work, lunch, leaving work, brushing your teeth. These are the things you do without thinking.
  40. 40. The ideal trigger should be as consistent as possible (getting dressed is better than getting ready for work because you get dressed every day), it should be precise so there’s no room for interpretation (‘in the evening’ is a large span of time, whereas ‘right after dinner’ is a specific time), it should occur at the same frequency as the new habit you’re trying to create (for example, you probably don’t clear out your inbox every single day, so this wouldn't be a good trigger for a daily habit), and finally, use common sense for linking your new habit to related behaviors, such as flossing your teeth after brushing. It’s not always possible to follow these guidelines perfectly, but the closer the better.
  41. 41. Take a moment now to choose your trigger, fill in space #2 on your template, and post the results to your Workspace. You can also pick a secondary trigger to give you a second chance if you miss the first one.
  42. 42. For my example, I initially chose waking up as my trigger, but found myself falling back asleep. I switched to after breakfast because I do it every day, and by that time I’m awake enough to not fall asleep while meditating. In the next lesson, you’ll choose a reward for completing your habit.
  43. 43. In this lesson, we’ll discuss how to pick rewards that help us not only look forward to performing our habit, but to actually crave it.
  44. 44. When we say “rewards” we’re referring to what the research calls ‘conditioned reinforcement.” This is a subject that has decades of study behind it, going all the way back to Pavlov’s dogs.
  45. 45. In a study of regular exercisers published in the Journal for Applied Social Psychology, 92% said they did it to feel good, while 67% said it was for a sense of accomplishment. This is important because it shows that the real reason people stick to difficult habits is not primarily the long-term benefits, in this case health and longevity. It’s the short-term benefits, the immediate pleasure that the primitive parts of our brain really respond to. It can be difficult for us as adults to give ourselves rewards, because we feel like we shouldn’t need a little prize to do something that’s good for us. But long-term, abstract benefits simply are not powerful enough. We have to recruit the most powerful psychological force in the world…
  46. 46. ...and that is craving. Think about the lengths you will go to to satisfy a craving. You’ll drive across town to get that favorite snack. You’ll trade your firstborn for 15 more minutes of sleep in the morning. Craving is the force we need to tap into.
  47. 47. Here’s some examples of rewards. They can be physical, like doing a victory lap or congratulating yourself out loud. They can be social, bringing you affirmation or respect. They can be physiological, like giving yourself a small treat or a break. They can be emotional, like listening to a favorite song or writing a journal entry about your achievement. They can be inspirational, like reading a favorite quote or poem. And they can be psychological, like crossing off a day on a calendar or checking in to a habit app. What is powerful for one person will seem silly to another, so make sure it is something that fits your personality. I suggest picking one reward that is more externally focused, from the left column, and one that is more internally focused, from the right column. See the Project Guide for more ideas of rewards, or take a look at the example completed templates for ones that I’ve found effective in the past.
  48. 48. Before you decide, here’s some guidelines: rewards should be something you can deliver quickly and immediately after completing your habit (so don’t pick something like better sleep which only happens hours later), they should be as emotional as possible (because emotions are rooted deeply in our limbic system), they should have a physical action that reinforces the mental, and, if possible, should be social. We’ll talk more about this in the Accountability section.
  49. 49. Take a moment to choose your reward or rewards, fill it in your Habit Template, and post the results to your workspace.
  50. 50. For my meditation example, I chose to take a moment of gratitude, and to check off my habit in the Lift app. The relaxation I felt after meditating was another built-in reward. In the next lesson, you’ll select a reminder.
  51. 51. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to set up reminders to get the ball rolling.
  52. 52. The ideal reminder is unavoidable - you can’t claim that you didn’t notice it - and automated - you don’t have to remember to set it each time.
  53. 53. Here are some ideas. Physical options include Post-it notes in unavoidable places, placing objects where you will notice them, alarm clocks, posters, and physical obstructions, like blocking a door with something you will have to move. Digital options include habit apps, which we’ll talk more about later, simple reminder apps that come standard on smartphones, repeating calendar entries, images on your lock screen or desktop that remind you of your habit, and location-based reminders on your phone, which activate when you arrive at or leave a certain location.
  54. 54. Take a moment now to pick your reminder, fill it in space #4 on your Template, and post your results. It’s also a good idea to pick a Secondary Reminder that will give you a second chance in case you missed your usual time.
  55. 55. For meditation, I chose an 8:30 alarm on my phone, because by this time I’m up and getting ready. Having my Template posted on the wall next to my desk, with nothing else around it, catches my attention if I sit down to work without meditating, and my secondary reminder is a 6pm Lift reminder that only goes off if I didn’t check in in the morning, giving me one final chance in the evening. In the next lesson, you’ll learn how to set an intention for your new behavior.
  56. 56. Enroll in this class for free at http://designyourhabits.co, sign up for my newsletter at http://fortelabs.co/blog, or follow me on Twitter @fortelabs

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