Studies show that temporary fixes to old habits actually make people gain weight. Basically, the dieter's brain is trained to gorge when off the diet and inevitably the weight returns.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine provides some supporting evidence that putting some skin in the game makes people more likely to accomplish their goal of stopping a bad habit.This study followed three groups of people trying to stop smoking. The control group was offered information and traditional methods for the stopping of smoking such as free nicotine patches. After 6 months, some 6% of the participants stopped smoking. The next group, called the "reward" group, was offered $800 if they were smoke-free at 6 months. Of those, 17% quit. From just there two groups, we see paying people does indeed provide an incentive to stop a bad habit, at least short term.

On the other hand, the third group provided the most interesting result. In this group, called the "deposit" group, members wee asked to put down $150 of their own money, which they would get back if they successfully quit in 6 months. In addition, they wee given a $650 bonus prize from their employer if they quit.

On the surface, this is absolutely not very logical. Why would winning $899 be less effective than willing only $650 plus $150 of your own money back? YOU FIGURE . . . .