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How the Fear of Losing Can Actually Help Motivate You to Win

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Photo: GaudiLab / Shutterstock

Motivation is a funny thing. Take this study in the New England Journal of Medicine from 2015, for example. It found that among smokers in cessation programs, those who stood to lose $150 if they failed were twice as likely to quit the habit. Even with all the huge health benefits of quitting, not wanting to give up their deposit was ultimately what made many people able to stop smoking. (P.S. Here's the best way to successfully quit a bad habit for good.)

The point is that we have a natural aversion to losing, and that can actually spur us to make the needed changes in our lives. Which brings me to you. Since much of what motivates us is rooted in being loss-averse, my question to you is this: What are you not willing to lose out on anymore?

  • Feeling confident in your skin
  • Being truly healthy
  • Playing with the kids in your life
  • Trying new activities
  • Dating

No matter what has kept you from fully committing to a more healthy life, a new workout regimen, or even just more positive self-talk, it’s time to look at things from this different angle—consider these the real valuables that you would do anything not to give up. (Maybe write them out in a bullet journal.) It could be the $150 moment that finally sparks you to live on the path you belong on. (Making sense? Also, check out Jen's advice on why you should try something new and how to convince yourself to work out even when you really don't want to.)

 

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