How Yu-kai Used Tiny Habits to Write ‘Actionable Gamification’

Tiny Habits are powerful. But you may not know how they impacted Yu-kai’s work.

Ever wondered how Yu-kai wrote his first book, ‘Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, & Leaderboards’?

In the development of his Lifestyle Inertia Design framework, Yu-kai came across B.J. Fogg’s Tiny Habits.

Tiny Habits is part of B.J. Fogg’s larger model: Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Trigger (Prompt) [B=MAT(P)]

What are Tiny Habits?

When Yu-kai studied B.J. Fogg, the father of persuasive technology, he was intrigued by Tiny Habits.

Tiny Habits are a small task attached before or after another habit in your routine.

B.J. Fogg described his own application: Whenever I go to the bathroom, I do two pushups.

Only two?

Yes, just two. Maybe you’ll end up doing five or six, or ten. But if the goal was ten or twenty, and felt hard, you might not even start.

Lowering the pushup count increases the Ability in the B=MAT(P) equation.

With plentiful triggers (you go to the bathroom several times per day), the habit of pushups can be formed.

How Tiny Habits Helped Yu-kai Make Progress

Yu-kai had been asked to write a book about the Octalysis Gamification framework. And he wanted to write it.

He even promised attendees of an upcoming workshop that he would provide them a signed copy at the event.

The problem? Yu-kai’s approach was overly Black Hat. He didn’t want to disappoint attendees, and yet he didn’t have enough balance in the Core Drives to get him to the finish line.

Unpredictability to Lead You to Creativity

Yu-kai found a solution.

After completing email or client tasks, he usually took a break with some light gaming.

He made one change, though.

Before gaming, he would read the last paragraph he’d written in his book. Can you guess what happened?

That’s right: Simply reading one paragraph piqued his internal curiosity and began a positive feedback loop of creativity that often saw him writing for several hours!

The result?

He completed the book and did so happily and productively.

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