The smallest habits

Starting anything can be daunting. Even just the idea of taking the first step can be enough to give pause or allow an excuse to creep up.

BJ Fogg says to start by committing to an action so small that it is almost ridiculous how easy it would be to actually do. “Ridiculous” is how I think of it, not necessarily how Fogg would describe it.

His example that comes to mind is flossing. If this is something you want to start, just commit to flossing one (1) tooth. That’s all. Commit to just that.



The idea is to get the habit going, even the smallest action. It’s likely that just doing the initial action will lead to doing more. With flossing, it will probably happen quickly, because once you have the one tooth flossed, it’s natural to just keep going.

You overcome the resistance of getting any momentum going. And once the smallest action becomes normalized, it’s easier to expand on that momentum.

An added bonus is anchoring that small action to another action that’s already a habit. So flossing could be tagged on to getting in the shower or brushing your teeth.

Finally, celebrating the smallest wins (with something to the effect of a mental/or audible “Woohoo!) further nails the habit into your psyche.

So if you’re wanting to start a new habit, consider this approach:

  • The smallest action
  • added on to your current routine
  • with celebration of small wins


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