Shankar Vedantam writes a column on cognitive science in the Washington Post. On December 4 last year, he was talking to Scott Plous, a social psychologist and author of "The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making". What caught my eye was:
"Rational decision-making should not be driven primarily by recovery of past costs," Plous said. "If you can no longer justify it in terms of what it will bring in the future and what its realistic prospects are, that is a warning sign you may have become entrapped."
Other techniques to avoid entrapment in everyday life include making sure that a decision to continue on a path is not made solely by people who decided on that path in the first place, by setting limits on investments upfront and by triggering automatic reviews if a plan of action hits certain predetermined failure points.