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Motivate yourself with "loss aversion"

NPR: Put Your Money Where Your Girth Is

I really enjoyed this Morning Edition story on "Prospect Theory," or the idea that loss aversion can be an effective motivator in goals related to health improvement like weight loss and smoking cessation:

"What we know about incentives is that people work a lot harder to avoid losing $10 than they will work to gain $10," explains Ayres. "So something that's framed as a loss is really effective at changing behavior."

Related to that question I was asked at Macworld: I wonder if a gym membership might be even more motivating if you received a daily email updating you on the wasted dollars you'd spent by not working out in the last n days.

When I started paying most of my own college tuition, I remember realizing that every class I skipped was equivalent to throwing away about a day and a half of the money I'd earned from waiting on tables. It was very motivating for me, and I started missing a lot fewer classes as a result.

kmickey's picture

That's why...

It's good to join a $$$ gym. For those of you in Silicon Valley, think Decathlon Club. (well it was 8 yrs ago when I lived there).

It definitely motivated me to go. I liked to keep the costs of each visit under $10. Plus, you're more likely to go if it's a good clean gym with great amenities - the fewer things you have to bring with you, the more likely you are to go.

I'm in Germany this year, working on an Army base with a great free gym. But I don't use it as much as I should because there's nothing to lose if I don't go. If I got a non-refundable personal trainer I'd be a lot better about going. Hmm.....




An Oblique Strategy:
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