Put on your sneakers, and then put some money on the line: potentially losing money is the best incentive for staying fit, suggests new research from the University of Pennsylvania.
In the study, scientists asked people to walk 7,000 steps a day for 6 months. Some walkers received $1.40 every day they achieved their goal, while others lost $1.40 whenever they failed to hit their daily steps.
The participants who were faced with losing their money reached their goal 50 percent more often.
This is a behavioural economic theory called loss aversion, says lead study author Dr Mitesh Patel. Your brain is hardwired to avoid loss at all costs.
Use this natural inclination to your advantage the next time you start a new exercise program. Download an app that holds you financially responsible for any missed workouts.
Our pick: Pact (free for iOS and GooglePlay), which is synced to your PayPal account. Each week, you’ll promise to do a number of workouts. Then, you’ll choose an amount of money to pay if you miss that quota.
Patel’s advice: pledge a sum of money you’d miss. Losing a nickel may not seem like a big deal, but you’ll think twice about skipping a workout if you lose a dollar or more from your account on a daily basis.
As long as you achieve your goal, you’ll earn real cash (as much as $5 a week). This money comes from other members who didn’t meet their resolutions.
If you don’t reach your goal, however, you pay up.