The Dummies Guide to Behavior Change: Obscenely Small Steps

The 3 Keys to Change

The 3 keys to making a behavior* change in our lives are:

  1. Feel The Over-Arching Why
  2. Create Motivation Triggers
  3. Reduce Activation Energy

The Overarching Why

If you woke up tomorrow and the problem was solved, how would you feel? what would be different? what pain would be gone?

Action: describe the feeling.

Motivation Triggers

Inspiring images, quotes or songs ready where you need them.

Action: find a photo and hang it where you will see it everyday.

For example, this is an image of my Mac desktop.
Screen Shot 2013-02-02 at 22.29.17

I play the same music every time I go for a run. When I hear that music I now “need” to run… No matter how lazy I am feeling in the moment.

Activation Energy

If it takes longer than 20 seconds to start a task, you will not start it.

Action: prepare the resources and leave them out.

For example, put your sports clothes in a bag next to the door; leave a notebook open with a pen on your kitchen counter.

Insanely, obscenely small steps.

We overestimate what we can accomplish in a day, we underestimate what we can achieve in a year. Chronic inconsistency is always the mark of mediocrity; daily consistent habits are the path to creating something worthwhile – whether a company, a healthy body, a book or a talent in cooking.

* Behavior is spelt Behaviour where I was born!


  1. Insanely, obscenely small steps… And one step (and one habit) at a time. I’ve learned this from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and it works wonders.

    Thanks for sharing Conor.

    1. One habit at a time. ;-)

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