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Loss Aversion: A Powerful Motivator

Monday, August 26, 2013

I read in the book Change Anything (about the science of behavioral modification) that you can use the concept of "Loss Aversion" to help motivate you to work toward your goals.

The way it works is you put something at stake that you don't want to lose, whether it be money, or something else. Studies have shown that people are more motivated by the thought of losing something that they want to keep than by the thought of gaining something positive they don't yet have (i.e. a reward).

An example would be betting $200 that you are going to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks. You'd have to make a deal with a friend (or friends) to keep you accountable.

Another example would be getting rid of all your size 14 clothes when you buy new clothes because you are now a size 10. That way, if you were to gain the weight back, you would have to buy new clothes again, which would be a monetary (and self-esteem) loss.

I'm thinking about betting some money on my weight loss goal. But I think I will wager that I will lose 20 pounds in 40 weeks. That seems a little more reasonable given all the holidays that are coming up with their potential for weight loss setbacks.

Have you ever used Loss Aversion to motivate you? If so, what did you do? Did it work?

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ALIDOSHA 8/26/2013 4:45PM

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