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  • Now, many of you in the audience are geniuses already. I

  • think that's true, but my goal is to turn you into behavior

  • change genius. I'm going to pick one little slice of it. It'

  • s different than what Gina will be talking about later. And

  • they're very complementary approaches. If I can get the

  • visual up on the screen here? If not, I will just kind of

  • keep going.

  • Today I'm going to talk about habit. And what I want us to

  • do first of all is-you've got your mobile phone, right? Can

  • everybody pull that out and turn your ringer on? Yeah! First

  • time anybody's ever told you to do that, right? Get it out

  • and turn the ringer on. Here's what we're going to do. Every

  • time you hear somebody's phone ring I want you to do this-

  • relax, okay? So, it's a very quick relaxation exercise. So,

  • when you hear a phone ring, ring means relax. So, if it's

  • your phone going off, yeah let it ring once or twice but

  • then turn it off. We don't have to hear the whole Lady Gaga

  • ringtone or what have you.

  • Okay. We got that? So, habits, habits, habits. The class

  • that I'm teaching right now here at Stanford is about using

  • technology to create habits of calming, of stress reduction

  • and I think habits are very important. If we only have

  • information and we don't-I missed that one! We'll talk about

  • that. If we don't change our behavior information frankly

  • doesn't matter. In fact, rarely does information lead to

  • behavior change. There are some cases where it does but just

  • because somebody gives me a stat about I'm out of shape

  • doesn't mean I'm going to go and start exercising right

  • away. And we all know that's the case.

  • So, the challenge is how do you change people's lives by

  • changing their habits? And that's been an obsession of mine

  • for about 18 months in the health arena.

  • I came here in '93 to study this question-how to use

  • computers to change people's attitudes and behaviors. I

  • really wasn't a health person although I've always been a

  • health enthusiast. But in the last two years I've been

  • sucked into this arena because of the changes we need to

  • make. A lot of them have to do with health. I don't have the

  • exact number of how much we can save money by changing

  • behaviors. Somebody at a previous event said 80%. But I don'

  • t know what the number is.

  • I do believe that by using systematic methods to think about

  • behavior change that we can solve bigger problems. And to

  • this point-I'm going to offend some people, sorry-people

  • have been very sloppy thinkers about behavior change, okay?

  • So, listen to things with a critical ear, look at things

  • with a critical eye including what I'm going to be showing

  • you today.

  • There's a Facebook class I did here. It was on the New York

  • Times. Somebody asked me to talk just briefly about this. I

  • won't go into it deeply, but 10 weeks, they got millions of

  • people involved. The New York Times did do a cover story

  • three years later. It came out Sunday. The derivative

  • stories that weren't always accurate. Don't trust everything

  • you read. But the New York Times story was mostly on target.

  • But the class was all about how can we systematically have

  • impact with these apps and how can you do that?

  • In my lab's work here at Stanford we've been systematically

  • looking at behavior change. Now, the metaphor breaks down

  • pretty fast. But imagine if you were a chemist, a

  • pharmacist, somebody even in construction and you didn't

  • have the periodic table elements to work with. Imagine what

  • a problem that would be.

  • To date we have not had a periodic table of behavior change

  • types. And I recognized this a while ago. I tried to get

  • some students in Europe to do it. They didn't really pick it

  • up and say, "Okay, we're going to do this". And my lab and I

  • have been through a few iterations of this. We call it the

  • behavior grid. We passed out a product from my lab. You've

  • got a little card. Pull that out right now. For some of you

  • you'll have to get out your microscopes or magnifying

  • glasses and look at the side of the card that has that grid.

  • I'm going to give you a brief intro to that in the hopes

  • that you will then study it further, in the hopes that when

  • you think about a behavior change type you'll be able to put

  • it in the right place on the grid.

  • The big idea here is there's 15 types of behavior. Each one

  • has a different recipe strategy that works. So, if you're

  • trying to get a Green Dot behavior done solving with black

  • path strategies, that's like trying to cook a birthday cake

  • with chili powder, right? You've got to use the right

  • ingredients for the right target. You've got green

  • behaviors. Look at the first column. We decided to call them

  • green. We could have called them new. These are behaviors

  • that are new to people.

  • About a year ago I got an email here from the editor of

  • Playboy and he said, "Hey B.J., we're putting together a

  • cool professor's list. We want you to be in it in Playboy.

  • We're going to come to Stanford, and talk to you, and take

  • some shots." I was like, "Ugh". I'd never been in Playboy

  • before. And so, see for me that's a green behavior. It's

  • characterized by fear, uncertain what would happen if I said

  • yes. Well, I did end up saying no.

  • But as you look at the behavior types we're trying to get

  • people to do, if it's new there may be fear and uncertainty

  • around it and there may be lack of ability. They'd never

  • done it before.

  • Mid.com-good example of how they address this. Notice all

  • the things they do. I've circled it in orange to address the

  • issues of fear and security. Now, I'm going to use some

  • examples from the consumer internet space cause in many ways

  • they are leading the pack in changing people's behaviors.

  • And by adopting the techniques they use we can do a lot

  • better job in the health space.

  • Let's go to blue behaviors in the next column. Blue is

  • characterized by things you've done before. Virgin Airlines-

  • cause I fly on Virgin a lot it's no big deal for me to book

  • a ticket flying Virgin. There's nothing uncertain about

  • that. There's no barrier there. And so, when it comes to

  • blue behaviors it's helping people do what they already know

  • how to do whether it's buying a book on Amazon, showing up

  • to class on time, using email, using Google Docs, what have

  • you.

  • Now, I'm not going to go through all of this, but then we

  • have a class called Purple Behaviors. These are all about

  • doing stuff and then the gray and black behaviors are about

  • doing less or stop doing stuff. Actually, what I'd like you

  • to do is if you have a pen where that orange line is draw a

  • line down through those columns so you see really clearly, "

  • Here's the 'Do Stuff' side and here's the 'Do Less' or 'Stop

  • Doing' side of the grid."

  • Now that you have your pen out also, Blue Path. This is my

  • favorite cell in the chart. Circle that. This is where

  • habits live. And Blue Path means doing something you know

  • how to do for the rest of your life. Need a book? Go to

  • Amazon. My alarm rings, I wake up or I turn off the alarm. I

  • walk out to the kitchen, I get some water. What do you do

  • all the time without making decisions? So, understand some

  • behaviors require decisions and some don't. In fact, in some

  • ways that is a measure of the strength of the habit is how

  • much do you do it without making a decision for better or

  • for worse.

  • The Winning Technology Company-and this is a perfect list. I

  • grabbed it from Tech Crunch last fall. But it's a pretty

  • good list. They're good at creating habits, so they're very

  • good at getting people to this spot. Now, you don't just

  • start here. At least from our perspective there's a path.

  • There's a route to get people to that Blue Path. Certainly

  • people have to use your service the first time, then they

  • have to do it again. Maybe there's a period of time where

  • they're using it 30 day trial and then eventually you hope

  • they're always using whatever program service you're

  • providing and so on.

  • At least now with the words you can say Green Dot, Blue Dot

  • and then eventually you want to get people into a Blue Path

  • or do we want to get people into a Purple Path? That's do

  • more of something-exercise more, eat more vegetables, and so

  • on from now on. Do you really want to do a path or do you

  • want to do a span? A span is for a limited period of time-14

  • days, 21 days, six weeks, what have you for path. We want

  • you to buy in for the rest of your life. Spans are easier to

  • do than paths.

  • The winners are really good at creating these habits. Watch

  • how they do it. If you're not using the popular technologies

  • you should be using them. There's a reason-Twitter,

  • Facebook, Cora, GroupOn. There's a reason those people are

  • winning and you can extract the psychological recipe from

  • those things and use it in your work related to changing

  • health behaviors. That's a big, big, big part of what we're

  • doing in my Stanford lab-what are the recipes that work?

  • Focus on those behaviors. Imitate the winning formulas. Don'

  • t study the losers. It's a waste of time.

  • So, deeper on habits. I think there are three steps to new

  • habits and unless you've read my stuff you've not heard

  • these before. You have some stuff coming out. There's some

  • Post-It's coming out right now. So, when you get a Post-It

  • pass it along. Grab a Post-It and pass it along. We'll use

  • that in a minute.

  • The first step is to make it tiny. So, let's say you want

  • your workforce. You want people to exercise more. They're

  • not exercising. If you go out and say, "Hey, we're all going

  • to create a habit of exercising 30 minutes every day" you

  • all know what will happen. Very, very few people will

  • actually make that a habit. We've seen that over and over.

  • These big leaps don't work. What does work is make it really

  • small such as walk five minutes a day, find a spot where it

  • lives in somebody's routine-right after you take your coffee

  • break, right after you come back from lunch-and then you

  • train the cycle.

  • In other words, you don't work on getting people to walk 30

  • minutes a day until they have that automatic reaction, "Oh.

  • I'm back from my coffee break. I'm going to go walk for five

  • minutes." So, they're not making a decision about exercise.

  • They're just automatically doing it and that's it.

  • I think those are all the steps. I call those tiny habits.

  • Here are the steps here and here is the assertion we've not

  • yet shown scientifically, but I think it's true. Plant a

  • tiny habit in the right spot and it will grow out coaxing.

  • So, the right little behavior once you get it trained in

  • cycle-let's say it's walk five minutes-you don't have to

  • further push people to exercise more. If the context is

  • right they will naturally expand to the full behavior.

  • What I want to do is together right now let's work through a

  • case study. I've never done this before, but let's try this.

  • Okay. I'm going to have you vote on something and it might

  • be sensitive. So, I'm going to have you close your eyes and

  • don't look at how other people are voting. Got it? Okay.

  • Ready. It'll only be like 12 seconds. Ready? Close your

  • eyes.

  • How many people wish you had a better flossing habit? Raise

  • your hand.

  • Okay. You can go ahead and put your hands down. Hopefully

  • nobody peaked, but I will tell you it was at least 60%. A

  • bit more than I thought actually. Let's take this and apply

  • it to flossing. Make it tiny. Floss one tooth. Find the

  • right spot. Find the right spot right after you brush and

  • then just train the cycle. In other words, don't floss all

  • your teeth unless you really, really want to. What you're

  • focusing on is just right after I brush, I floss. You

  • already know how to floss all your teeth, right? That's not

  • what you need to drill on. What you need to drill on is the

  • automatic, "I brush and then I floss".

  • And that other piece that I didn't put here is once you

  • floss that one tooth what you need to do somehow-this is the

  • idea it's like, "Victory! I did it!" Don't floss the rest of

  • your teeth unless you really want to. As soon as it gets

  • painful like, "This is a drag" I think your brain says, "No.

  • I'm not making this a habit". So, it has to be something

  • like, "Yeah! I get to floss this one tooth. Oh and guess

  • what? If I do them all? Awesome! I'm even awesomer!"

  • Okay. So, on the Post-It that I handed to you what I want

  • you to do on that Post-It is write, "Floss one tooth". Got

  • it? Okay. We'll come back to that. Here we go. "Floss one

  • tooth". And again, what happens I believe where we're

  • showing this scientifically is once you get that little

  • habit going guess what? Every day I floss one tooth. In

  • fact, I floss twice a day cause my habit is after I brush I

  • floss. So, it doesn't matter when I brush I floss. So, it's

  • twice a day.

  • You can expand it to a larger behavior. "Walk five minutes-

  • walk 30". "Eat two vegetables-eat five". "Floss one tooth-

  • floss all your teeth". That expansion from blue to purple is

  • much, much easier than going for Green Dot. "For the first

  • time ever do something". And this is where as you look at

  • the companies that have won they're very good at this. Get a

  • tiny habit going. "Use us for research". "Use us for music