The Behavioral Economics Diet: The Science of Killing a Bad Habit
Studies have shown recently that people trying to kick a bad habit are having more success when there is money on the line. Whether it is in the form of a bet or a bonus, people are having more success than by traditional methods alone, such as education and support. By presenting a negative monetary aspect to the repetition of a bad behavior, people feel as if they have lost or wasted the money, a feeling no one wants. However, with a reward system for success, adding a bit of competition plays on the human ‘ virtue’ of pride, thus making one feel more invested in the task of breaking the bad habit.
- A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that people were more motivated by the will to avert loss than by the desire to increase their gains.
- Behavioral Economics also suggests that commitment contracts are effective at changing behavior due to a phenomenon called time inconsistency.
- According to a recent study, the words “I don’t” are more effective at getting people to resist temptation than “I can’t.”
“In my last article, I shared that my father and I shook on a $25,000 wager that binds him to never eat refined carbohydrates again — no processed sugars, no processed grains. Many people are shocked by the dollar amount of the bet but that’s missing the point.”