Tiny Habits and the Power of Coaching

Note: this is part 2 of our ongoing series on Habits & the Power of Coaching. Read part 1 here (LINK).

In the first installment of this series, we examined Charles Duhigg’s model for creating habit loops. Here, we’d like to take a look at another model - The Fogg Behavior Model (FBM), developed by Stanford behavior scientist BJ Fogg. This model outlines triggers (similar to the cues in Duhigg’s habit loop model) that need the appropriate levels of ability and motivation in order to activate. Dr. Fogg now refers to these triggers as “prompts.”

Fogg uses his model to create an approach called “Tiny Habits.” These are habits which:

  • “you do at least once a day,”

  • “that take you less than 30 seconds,”

  • “that require little effort.”

Learn More:  behaviormodel.org

Learn More: behaviormodel.org

I would like to give you an example from my life. Before I begin each surgery, the scrub sink is the prompt for my boundary ritual. For the first 30 seconds while I’m washing my hands, I let go of ALL of my other roles and responsibilities in life and outside the OR. I remind myself of my purpose for this particular patient in the operating room.

This is just one example of a tiny habit that can have a huge benefit - especially when linked with other tiny habits throughout the day.

How Tiny Habits Compound

Here is a quick breakdown of the tiny habits I go through each morning.

When I unplug my phone each morning from the charger, I head to the bathroom. After that I play one or two games on my phone to get my brain awake. At that point, I go to my calendar for the day and assess what my day will look like. Is there a big event for one of my kids? What do I need to get done? This tiny habit triggers my next tiny habit to find my most important daily email - the priorities email that I receive from my team leader. What are the priorities for SurgeonMasters for the day and the next few days? Do I have emails requiring a response? If yes, then I will need my laptop, as I don't like writing emails on my phone. Do I have client calls? I will need to be in the right environment to provide my undivided attention and care. Do I have a podcast to record? I will need a quiet place. My days are complicated, and the tiny organizational habits I created build on each other to help me manage my day with less stress and frustration.

Creating tiny habits can make a huge difference in the ease of accomplishing tasks throughout the day.

How Coaching Supports Tiny Habits

Creating tiny habits is a great way to incrementally improve our physical health and mental well-being. Over time the benefits compound, and tiny habits can produce deep results. How does coaching support our ability to create tiny habits? A great example is when we are first beginning to take action. Sure, it would be great to “just do it.” Chances are it is not that easy. In an iterative, give-and-take process, coaches ask driving questions that address underlying motivations and situational factors. By answering these questions, coachees benefit from thinking critically about their process, how it can be improved, and what additional steps are required to make the desired incremental changes.    

What tiny habits will you create this next week? Tell us here, along with your motivations, situational factors and how it is going. Our team will follow-up with coaching questions to aid your self-inquiry. Working hand-in-hand with a coach can significantly increase your ability to create and maintain healthy habits. At SurgeonMasters, we offer coaching services to surgeons in all specialties. Let us help you create healthier habits and a more lifestyle-friendly surgical practice.

Want to learn more about surgeon coaching? Sign up for our inaugural training program on January 20, 2019 at the Kona Kai Resort & Spa in San Diego.


Source: BJ Fogg, PhD, http://behaviormodel.org/

You can sign-up for a free, 5 day session of the Tiny Habits program at TinyHabits.com.