Designing Habit Hacks to Change Your Life

Each morning, my mother would hand me my daily Flintstones chewable vitamin before I left for school. But now that I’m an adult, she can’t tell me what to do — Mountain Dew and Starcraft all night!

Well, and less vitamins. Since moving out of my parents’ house long ago, I’ve also moved away from this healthful routine. Sometimes it takes effortful self-control to do things we know we should do. But not always. Habits can function as a force, shaping our behavior and negating the need for self-control.

So months ago, I purchased a jar of multi-vitamins and placed it in my cupboard to get back into my healthy vitamin habit.

It sat there. Unused. Lonely.

I’m responsible. I’m a grown-up. I knew I should take my vitamins. Yet it was hard to do so regularly.

So I made one small change: I took the jar out of the cupboard and placed it on the countertop. Since then, I haven’t missed a day of taking my vitamins.

The visible jar is an unavoidable reminder, a trigger to take my vitamins. Removing them from the cupboard also made it easier, increasing my ability to do so. Sometimes the tiniest friction can make the difference between action vs. inaction.

BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model describes this best:

…Three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur: Motivation, Ability, and Trigger.

By simply increasing my ability and creating a trigger, I’ve been able to reinstate this habit. Sometimes it doesn’t take all that much to change behavior that feels so difficult to start doing regularly. For example:

What changes would you like to make in your life? Here are a few triggers and friction-reducers to start:

Reflect on your daily behavior. Which are destructive? What changes would you like to make? Consider how these simple concepts be used to change your daily habits and improve your life.

What habit hacks have you implemented in your life? Please share with me on Twitter (@rrhoover) or in the comments!

What habit hacks have you implemented in your life? Please share with me on Twitter (@rrhoover). Also, subscribe to my email list and get a FREE copy of, Hooked, a book on habit design by Nir Eyal, in collaboration with myself.

This essay originally appeared on the iDoneThis blog.


Now read this

Does Your Product Have Broken Windows?

The Broken Window Theory is a criminology theory introduced in 1982 to describe the downstream affects of vandalism and urban disorder. The theory states that the deluge of broken windows, graffiti, and general decay of a neighborhood... Continue →