Double your Chance of Taking Action

A new study has found that people that focuss on losing a reward rather than gaining it are more motivated to take action and follow through.

The study showed that the same financial rewards can produce markedly different results when framed in different ways.

Whilst the study compared workplace rewards for physical activity, the findings can be utilised across many different behaviours (and habit formation in general).
Professor Kevin G. Volpp said:

“Our findings demonstrate that the potential of losing a reward is a more powerful motivator and adds important knowledge to our understanding of how to use financial incentives to encourage employee participation in wellness programs.”


The study had three groups. One group was given $42 and then had $1.40 taken away for each day they didn’t exercise.

Another group was told they would simply receive $1.40 for each day they exercised.

Both of these groups were compared with the control group.

Technically, the money was the same ($42) but the first framing emphasised a loss of money while the second framing emphasised a reward of money.

The Results:

The study showed that reward-framing had no effect over and above offering no reward for exercise but the loss-framed incentive doubled the number of times that people exercised (compared with the control group and the reward-framed incentive.)


Yet another example of the effectiveness of loss aversion.

The best part is that you don’t have to bet the house to see such results.

Loss aversion is a powerful psychological motivator.

Would you risk a small amount to double your chance of success?