Loss aversion? What is it and how can it help you? Do you want to commit to daily yoga but need help to do it? Kat Farrants muses on how a carrot and stick approach might provide the key and offers practical help on MFML
The last few weeks I’ve been delving into and discovering things which effect our daily lives but that we often don’t think about. The concept I’m exploring is that sinking feeling which haunts me when I’ve lost a note I’d stuffed away in a pocket and then it disappears. Arrrgh, that feeling! So awful! I’ve spend days hunting round wondering which other coat I’ve been wearing, re-tracing my steps and the loss has really worn heavy with me. And I can really remember so clearly where I was and exactly how I felt when I had my bag stolen, even though it was decades ago now. It’s funny how these losses are something that magnify in my mind but the times I’ve gained? Well I can’t even remember those. Well, I’ve found out that there’s a whole term for this. It’s called Loss Aversion.
“The central assumption of the theory is that losses and disadvantages have greater impact on preferences than gains and advantages.”
Tversky and Kahneman (1991)
Stepping out of your comfort zone
I’ve also found out that loss aversion is the thing that’s holding us back. It’s the reason why us humans are sometimes unwilling to leave our comfort zones and risk things, we want to play it safe.
This theory is the result of numerous studies which have shown that losses are twice as powerful as gains. The consequence of us humans’ fear of loss results often in risk aversion, we will prefer to avoid losses than the possibility of making gains. We will work incredibly hard to stop losing money!
Now from an evolutionary point of view, I think that this was part and parcel of being any animal in a previously wild world, and the fear or aversion to risk is, arguably, what enables any species to survive. Of course that risk aversion has to be counterbalanced to some extent with curiosity and opportunism, but it’s the risk aversion which will keep the species population growing. If the species just carries on doing what it’s always done, then the species is likely to survive.
Getting ‘on a roll’
So how does this relate to our daily yoga practice? I know that once I’m ‘on a roll’ with anything, I’m more likely to continue. Because I don’t want to lose that momentum that I’ve gained. I know that I’m getting into a habit, I’m feeling better. The hardest part is the starting and I know that once my habit is getting underway, it’s way easier to continue than it would be to quit and start over.
It’s with this in mind, and with my particular take on the phycological phenomenon of loss aversion, I think that one way to really help me to practice every single day is simply to be able to have the possibility of giving myself a gold star for consecutive days practice. Miss a day and you lose a star. And nobody wants to lose a star.
Habits and Rewards
I really do want to help to motivate and inspire you to be the person you want to be. To be the person who finds the time to roll out their mat even for 10 minutes a day. And that’s why we’ve introduced a brand new gold star system! To keep you inspired, motivated and knowing that you can’t lose your stars! And even better than a gold star for each consecutive day’s MFML practice? You get a trophy for 21 days’ consecutive practice. Because after 21 days you’re making a really good start in forming the habit of a lifetime.
And even better than the loss aversion of not losing your gold star or your opportunity for the trophy, every month I’ll be sending a prize to a random person Gold Star Trophy winner. What’s not to love? I really do hope that you’re as excited as I am about this new MFML feature.
So if you want to be the person who gets off the sofa and onto the mat, or who manages that extraordinary feat of clearing 10 minutes in a packed full and overwhelmingly busy day, we have the gold stars which, science has said, will help you to reach your goals.
Be Brilliant with care and kindness
But remember, even the best of us miss a day. And actually it really takes a lot longer than 21 days for the habit really to be ingrained. So you’re in it for the long-haul, you’re in it for your life, to improve the hours in your day, so that each and every day you feel healthier, happier and your body and mind feels freer. You may have to remind yourself of that. Remind yourself of the commitment you’ve made to yourself. Be kind on yourself when you fail, and remember it’s about the process. Take it easy on yourself, take small steps to form your habit. Know that we have the tools to help you and our community is supporting you and cheering for your success in committing to your home yoga practice, which is why you’re here to begin with?
Now roll out your mat and be brilliant!
About Kat Farrants:
Movement for Modern Life’s fabulous founder Kat Farrants lives her yoga and her own yoga practice informs how she develops MFML. This post was written by Kat and is inspired by her exploration into how she can take the small steps to move into a happier, healthier and more sustainable life. Please do join her on this journey and explore with us your happiest, healthiest, most sustainable life