BlackDot Behaviors Preview

By the Stanford Behavior Wizard Team


An overview of BlackDot behaviors and techniques for achieving them.

BlackDot Behavior Overview

If you want someone to stop a behavior just one time, you are seeking a Black Dot Behavior.

Examples include:

  • Health: Don’t eat dessert this evening.
  • Environment: Turn off the air conditioning for today.
  • Commerce: Don’t renew your mobile phone contract.

Black Dot Behaviors are often an early step toward permanent behavior cessation (which is called “Black Path”). For example, not smoking at a party just one time can help people see how to make this change in the long term.

As you might expect, people are more successful in achieving Black Dot Behaviors than making the permanent change of Black Path Behaviors. These successes of Black Dot, even though small, have been shown to matter in programs for alcoholism and other addictions. A small step is part of a successful process.

To achieve a Black Dot Behavior, all successful interventions work by altering at least one element from the Fogg Behavior Model:

  1. Remove the trigger that leads to the undesirable behavior
  2. Reduce ability to perform the behavior (make it harder to do)
  3. Replace motivation for doing the behavior with de-motivators:  pain, fear, or social rejection

Our Resource Guide for Black Dot Behaviors explains specific techniques and tools for achieving one-time cessation. It also highlights successful programs and online systems that exist for this purpose.

About Resource Guides

Our Stanford team created these Resources Guides to help people working on behavior change projects. We can make it easier for you to:

1. Learn about a specific type of behavior change

2. Create solutions for achieving that behavior

In the past, most designers and researchers guessed at solutions for changing behavior. And frankly most attempts failed. Today, rather than guessing at solutions, people who use our Resource Guides will have clear guidance.

Our Stanford team will continue to improve each of the 15 Resource Guides.  We welcome your input.

BJ Fogg, Ph.D. (
Director, Persuasive Tech Lab @ Stanford University



The Behavior Guides were created in 2010 and we are no longer updating or selling them.

There is still lots of useful information in these guides. If you’re interested in obtaining a specific guide, please email us ( and let us know in which guide you’re interested and why. We may be able to share a copy with you.

We hope you’ll also benefit from our more recent behavior design projects at:

–BJ Fogg, Ph.D. (
Director, Persuasive Tech Lab @ Stanford University


To view a sample guide, please fill out the form below.