GrayDot Behaviors Preview

By the Stanford Behavior Wizard Team


An overview of GrayDot behaviors and techniques for achieving them.

GrayDot Behavior Overview

Gray Dot behaviorIf you want someone to reduce a behavior not forever but just one time, you are seeking a Gray Dot Behavior.

Examples include:

  • Health: Eat less food at dinner, just this one time
  • Environment: Take a shorter shower, just this morning
  • Commerce: Spend less on clothes during this one shopping trip

Gray Dot Behaviors are often an early step toward permanent behavior change. For example, spending less during one shopping trip can help people see how to spend less on all future shopping trips.

As you might expect, people are more successful in achieving Gray Dot Behaviors than making the permanent change of Gray Path Behaviors. Creating successes with Gray Dot Behaviors have been shown to matter in achieving a behavior of longer duration. In other words, a small step can lead to a more enduring behavior change.

To achieve a Gray 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.