I had this girlfriend that I wasn’t entirely smitten with, until, she dumped me. Suddenly, she was the love of my life. Turns out we humans value what we lose even more than what we gain. Applying that insight could triple your chances of achieving your goals.

Psychologists gave mugs to half a class of students. The other half got nothing. The mug owners were invited to sell their mugs and the nonowners were invited to buy them. The result? The mug owners demanded roughly twice the price as those without a mug were willing to pay. Huh? Remember these were all students presumably with an equal love of the instant soup filling possibilities of a mug. So why did the one group rate the mug double in value? Because they owned it and losing something you own is about twice as painful as the pleasure of getting the same thing. How can you use this insight to motivate you to break a bad habit like smoking?

Cares is a saving program in the Philippines. Smokers deposit the money they would have spent on cigarettes into an account. After six months they take a urine test to confirm they haven’t smoked. If they pass the test they get their money back if they don’t, their money is donated to charity. Those who participate are 53% more likely to give up smoking, making this more successful than any other anti-smoking method. Why? The health gain in giving up smoking is a motivator but remember we’re twice as motivated by avoiding losses. Adding in the threat of losing money massively increases motivation.

Want to try it? is a website designed to help you achieve a goal such as losing weight or getting out of debt. Not only will you put money on the line, they’ll publicly monitor your progress. You could also do it with a goal buddy. Each of you deposits an agreed amount into a bank account. If you don’t achieve your goal, the money is donated to charity or better still an anti-charity – an organisation you hate! The more painful the loss the more committed you will be to avoiding it. When you put money on the line, research shows you’ll triple your chances of achieving your goal!