It’s the New Year and that means you may or may not have decided to make a life-changing goal.
If you did, that’s great. If not, that’s also great because we are human and can decide to make a change any time we want.
The major problem is that almost no one seems to stick to these changes.
We could just be motivating ourselves the wrong way.
“In prospect theory, loss aversion refers to the tendency for people to strongly prefer avoiding losses than acquiring gains. Some studies suggest that losses are as much as twice as psychologically powerful as gains.”¹
I’ve heard about “accountability” websites for a while and finally decided to test one out for myself.
These websites let you bet money against yourself or others to increase motivation towards a goal or habit change.
I went with Stickk, but there’s plenty of other options out there. Here’s what you do:
- Make a free account
- Choose one of their goals or create your own
- Choose what happens if you don’t meet your goal (donate money to a cause you loather, give money to a friend/foe)
- Set the parameters (how you know if you “cheated”)
- Link up your bank account
- Go be awesome and stick to your goal
Why does this work?
Something we hardly address in the weight loss/personal training world is the need to always be positive/ not talk about negative emotions. But some of those negative emotions are okay to feel, recognize and use to your advantage.
Telling someone they “CAN DO IT!” is great, but what is going to happen if they don’t? There’s no real or immediate consequence that we can feel.
Researchers realized the power of these negative emotions upon finding that gamblers felt more pain when losing than pleasure when winning.² We are programmed to want to avoid these negative feelings of loss. And our body will try harder to avoid a failure than it will to achieve success.
The good news is we can use this to our advantage with weight loss/our goals/motivating ourself.
Use the “fear” of feeling loss, shame, failure to motivate you to achieve your goals because you are hardwired to do so.
I have been SO much more motivated after making my goal on Stickk, because I can picture the money leaving my bank account and going somewhere I really don’t want it to go.
A big problem with weight loss is that people don’t immediately feel failure or lack of losing weight or their arteries hardening. But we do notice money leaving our bank account or the failure of loss.
Tim Ferris calls it, “failure-proofing” your goal.
Rewards are fine, but deterring yourself from failure is better.
Have you ever tried loss aversion as a means to motivate yourself? Let me know in the comments!