BlueDot Behaviors Preview

By the Stanford Behavior Wizard Team


An overview of BlueDot behaviors and techniques for achieving them.

BlueDot Behavior Overview

Blue Dot behaviorIf you want someone to perform a familiar behavior just one time, you are seeking a Blue Dot Behavior.

Examples include:

  • Health: Go on a run.
  • Environment: Plant a tree.
  • Commerce: Buy a book on Amazon.

Blue Dot Behaviors are among the easiest to achieve. That’s because the person, by definition, is already familiar with the behavior. They know how to perform it (such as exercise, plant a tree, buy a book). In addition, they already have a sense of the costs and benefits for the behavior.

To achieve a Blue Dot Behavior, three elements must come together at once. As the Fogg Behavior Model describes, you must Trigger the behavior when the person is both Motivated and Able to perform it. If any of these three elements is missing, the behavior will not occur.

  1. Trigger: A prompt must tell a person to “do this behavior now.” Triggers can take many forms, ranging from links in email (click here) to internal signals from our body, like a grumbling stomach (eat now).
  2. Motivation: A person must have sufficient Motivation when the Trigger occurs. Three core motivators exist: Sensation (pleasure/pain), Anticipation (hope/fear), and Belonging (acceptance/rejection)
  3. Ability:  The person must have the Ability to perform the behavior when the Trigger occurs.

With Blue Dot Behaviors, people do not require reassurance (enhancing motivation) or step-by-step instructions (increasing ability). Instead, the challenge is on timing: One must find a way to deliver a Trigger at a moment when the person is already Motivated and Able. This timing issue is well know: “Timing is everything.” The Ancient Greeks called this timing issue Kairos. In today’s world, technology is getting better at timing such Triggers, as we outline in the Resource Guide.

Our Resource Guide for Blue Dot Behaviors explains specific techniques and tools for achieving one-time behaviors that are familiar. 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


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