The closer we get to a goal - the harder we'll try to accomplish it
Arore Communications

The Goal Gradient Effect

As we get closer to completing a goal we can feel more motivation to complete it.

I often find that businesses using project management software such as Asana gives the entire team a sense of achievement as they complete even more minor tasks. This sense of accomplishment can greatly encourage further momentum towards milestones and more significant objectives and accelerate a companies growth.

It has a name: The Goal Gradient Effect.

In the example in the sketch provided by Sketchplanations, we find that as people approached the final stamp towards a free coffee, they were more likely to pick up the rate of buying coffees.

When issued with the new card, the coffee buying rate went back down again. We also found that it wasn’t the absolute ‘distance’ from a goal but the distance perception. 

People who started on a 12 stamp card with two stamps already complete tended to complete the card faster than the people who had a ten stamp card starting empty even though it was the same number of stamps towards the goal.

Read more in Katy Milkman, and Kassie Brabaw’s Scientific American article, Why Feeling Close to the Finish Line Makes You Push Harder.

Illustration: www.sketchplanations.com

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