Behavioral Change through Tiny Habits


Often, we have the capability for a desired behavior -we can do (or keep ourselves from doing) a behavior if given optimal circumstances. But we can't get it to happen reliably in all relevant contexts.

As therapists, when we see that a behavior isn't reliably happening in all needed contexts, we default to assuming the problem is not enough motivation and intervene to strengthen motivation. Rather than rely solely on motivation, you can DESIGN and BUILD behavior change with scheduled baby steps.  I've been working to strengthen this core competency by playing with tiny habits and habit-stacking to support my own and my client's behavior change.

If this is interesting to you, try a week-long experiment with tiny habits. BJ Fogg, a researcher at Stanford, gives away his method in a super helpful bite-by-bite way (and it's free!).  You can go to this link and register for the next Tiny Habits Session  

In brief, a "Tiny Habit" is a behavior --

  • you do at least once a day
  • that takes you less than 30 seconds
  • that requires little effort

You use an already established anchor, something you already nearly always do, a well-established habit.  After I _[anchor]__, I will [tiny habit].

To get the hang of the tiny habit steps, I started with the easiest set I could think of (that still were important to me). For example:

After I start the coffee, I will:
1. drink a glass of water
2. take a vitamin
3. do an ankle mobility drill (8 each side)

After 2 weeks, I've found that all the above are regularly happening and I am kind of smitten with how fun this is.

I also invite you to check out two exciting offerings that will be coming this fall (see below for details).  Space in both is limited, so definitely zip in to sign up soon to get your spot.  Thanks!

--Kelly Koerner, PhD


Fall Learning Opportunities

Evidence Based Treatment of Eating Disorders: A General Practitioner's Guide

  • Do you want to become more confident treating disordered eating?
  • Have you struggled treating eating disorders (EDs) due to clients' co-occurring medical complications, psychiatric conditions, and ambivalence toward recovery?
  • Do you feel called upon as the front line of treating eating disorders without the needed skills to be as helpful as you would like?

If yes, we have the course for you!

In this practical course with Lucene Wisniewski, PhD, FAED, you will learn the core competencies needed to conduct the first six sessions of a generalist's approach to disordered eating. You will learn elements drawn from evidence-based protocols to help you identify and assess disordered eating, and decide on an appropriate treatment approach and level of care. During the online live meetings, Dr. Wisniewski will model how to apply core concepts and interventions. Participants will be invited to learn many strategies from the inside-out by trying exercises personally. This will allow you to generalize your experiential learning to work with clients.

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Diagnose and assess a client with an eating disorder.
  • Describe the core competencies of a generalist's approach to disordered eating
  • Identify factors involved in determining the appropriate level of care for a client
  • Use initial assessment measures and psychoeducation to create a rationale and treatment plan for changing eating behaviors
  • Describe and apply behavioral strategies for treatment of disordered eating behaviors
  • Select a multidisciplinary treatment team and assess whether treatment is effective

Register today at to secure your spot in this exciting offering!

The Compassionate Supervisor Webinar

Compassion-focused therapy offers an extremely useful method to support the self-reflection needed to do your best clinical work. Join us for an exciting single session webinar with Tobyn Bell to:

  • Learn about compassion-focused therapy (CFT) from the inside out
  • Practice CFT exercises adapted specifically to develop compassion in mental health professionals
  • Experience a powerful self-practice, self-reflection model for therapist development
  • Reduce unhelpful worry, rumination and self-criticism whilst increasing self-reflection, attentional flexibility and approach behavior in your professional life

According to past studies by Paul Gilbert and Kristen Neff, self-compassion is associated with significantly lower levels of depression, anxiety symptoms, self-criticism and shame. Self-compassion has also been shown to support the moderation of negative emotions after receiving ambivalent feedback, increase self-evaluative accuracy when reviewing performance, and to support responsibility-taking for negative events without feeling overwhelmed with emotion. Such findings have important implications for mental health professionals and have inspired adaptations of compassion-focused exercises for therapist self-care and development.

At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the reasons therapists would benefit from integrating compassion-focused therapy (CFT) exercises into their own practice.
  • Explain the implications of compassion research for your therapy and self-care.
  • Identify your threats as a therapist including triggers, protective strategies, and unintended consequences.
  • Apply soothing-rhythm breathing to prepare your mind and body for self-compassion work.
  • Utilize mental imagery practices specifically adapted to develop therapist self-compassion. This will involve you developing your own 'internal' compassionate supervisor, an exercise researched by the instructor.
  • Explain the benefit of using the self-practice, self-reflection model to support your well-being, develop therapeutic skills and increase empathy with clients.

Register today at to secure your spot at this webinar!

Help Design an App! Know Teens and Parents?

We are seeking to reach teens and their parents who may be able to offer their ideas as we develop a mobile app for parents and teens with problem behaviors. WE NEED YOU! Won’t you help us get the word out by sharing the info below and flyer at to refer families to this study? Thank you!

PARTICIPANTS NEEDED!  Help improve a mobile app for teens & parents/guardians by providing feedback about a mobile app for youth with problem behaviors (skipping school, physical fights, illegal behaviors, arrests) and their parents/guardians.  Youth 13-18 who may have had legal troubles, or who engage in these behaviors, AND/OR their parents, are eligible to participate. Give your feedback to our design team over the phone, the Internet, or (depending on location) in person. We compensate parents $35 and youth $20 for their time. Contact Angela at (206) 455-7984 or via email: