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July 21, 2022

Focus on Goal Progress…Completed Vs Still To Go

Did you know that when we are close to reaching our goal and we compare how much progress we’ve made to how little we have yet to go, we actually tend to put on the brakes and self-sabotage?! Yeah…me neither but when I look back, I can see clearly wh...

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Did you know that when we are close to reaching our goal and we compare how much progress we’ve made to how little we have yet to go, we actually tend to put on the brakes and self-sabotage?! Yeah…me neither but when I look back, I can see clearly where I’ve done that in the past.

Stay with me today where I talk about how to keep your momentum and even increase velocity toward your goal when you are close to the finish…It’s about where you place your focus.


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goal, studies, progress, motivation, rat race, finish line, intrinsic motivation, actions, episode, gradient, motivated, podcast, workout, focus, motivate, theory, feel, completed, rearview mirror, left



Did you know that when we're close to reaching our goal and we compare how much progress we've made to how little we have yet to go, we actually tend to put on the brakes and self sabotage? Yeah, me neither. But when I look back, I can see clearly where I've done that in the past. So stay with me for today's episode, where I talk about how to keep your momentum and even increase your velocity toward your goal. When you're close to the finish line. It's about where you place your focus.


The following was recorded in front of a live studio audience at the studio 21 podcast cafe. This is the United Podcast Network.


Welcome to rat race reboot. I'm your host, Laura Noel. And as a certified coach and former 27 year military leader, each week, I provide bite sized mindset pivots that will help you reset your mind reawaken your spirit and regain your control. Welcome back, everybody, we have been doing a series of podcasts episodes all around the idea of motivation, because there's different things that motivate different people in different ways. And so this is something that I wanted to share with you about looking at goal progress, focusing on completed actions toward the goal versus how much left you have to go toward the goal and how that can influence your motivation, and your velocity toward getting to your goal. So there was a study by fish brach and dar in 2005. And there are multiple studies conducted on this idea where people who were starting out in their goal pursuit when they looked in the rearview mirror and looked at how much progress they made, that influenced and made them feel good, like they were more committed, it just showed them, they were more committed toward their goal. And so they were motivated. And so you would think that it would be kind of the same thing, like when you are closer to the end of your goal or reaching your goal. If you look at, oh, my gosh, look at where I started, and look how much left, I have to go. It's not that much, you would think that would motivate you. But that's not the case. They did multiple studies on this. And there's a lot of studies with other researchers as well, that that actually, in their studies, people would do actions that were that would kind of derail them, and get them off track toward their goal when they were looking at progress, and then comparing their progress with how much less they have to go. So when people were at that 50% Mark, where they were 50% done with their goal, that's when it kind of flipped for them. So it's interesting, because one of the studies that they did, people are even willing to borrow perceived progress from the future and derail their efforts to so they did a study, there were 52 graduates from a university who volunteered to participate in the study, and they were at the gym, and they got people together who were either going to go work out or people who had just completed their workout. And the participants, the participants were asked to rate the effectiveness of their either upcoming workout or their accomplished workout, and helping them progress toward their goal of being fit. Okay, so they rated their effectiveness on this 10 point scale. And then they were asked to rate themselves on a five point scale, their desire to have a tasty, fatty meal later that evening. And what they found was the results aligned with what they predicted. And people who took the survey before engaging in their workout. And they expressed more satisfaction with their workout to come. They actually had more instances where they were going to engage in a meal, an activity that was counter to their goal of being more fit. And I find that really interesting.


They displayed an idea and interest and doing activities that were incongruent with their actual goal, their desired goal. And there were a ton of studies. So you might be thinking, Well, where does that leave us? Because I know I was thinking this as well. So where does that leave us? So when you are first starting out on a goal, and you're making some progress, it feels good. If you're like below that 50% done point and you're looking in the rearview mirror, generally speaking, that kind of bolster is your motivation, your self efficacy your belief in yourself that you can do it, and you're happy with what you've done. But when you are 50%, and above, closer to your goal, if you look at this is where I started, and how much progress I've made and how much more progress I have yet to go, that can kind of squash your motivation. So what can you do instead. And this is all about practical application here, because I've read multiple studies. So one of the things that you can do, there's another theory, it's called the gradient goal gradient effect. And this came out in 1932. Clark Hall is the one who talked about this initially. And it's the idea that as people get closer to their goal, they tend to speed up their behavior to move faster toward that goal. Now, you might be a little confused. I just said that if you're focused on the end of your goal, you might self sabotage. The key here is, it's you're focusing on how much left you have to go or you have to, you're focusing on the end point of your goal, you're close to it, you're focusing on the end, but you're not focusing on how far you've come. So it's, you're not focusing on your perceived progress, you're putting that to the side, and you're only focusing on this gap of where I am right now. And there's the finish line, and I'm focusing on that finish line. If you put your focus there, instead of looking in the rearview mirror, or going, Oh, I've done this much work, and I have this much left to go, No, you're going to self sabotage, I don't know why we do that. That's another interesting point for me to research, I would love to do that.


But to help you now, think about just where you currently are. And the finish line. That's kind of the idea of the goal gradient kind of effect. The next thing is there are researchers who and Fishbach, who came up with this theory, the small area theory, and it creates an illusion that actions are being impactful. So the small area theory, it can work in the beginning stages of your goal. So maybe you've done made a little bit of progress toward your goal. If you focus on that little bit of progress. That's that small area theory, that'll keep your motivation going. And if you focus on the progress that you have left, at the end, if you're beyond that 50% mark, that small area at the end, very similar to the gradient theory, that will increase and boost your motivation. That's that small area theory, it's the illusion. And it's the idea that your actions that you're taking are impactful. So you're getting connected with not only the finish line, but the action I'm taking is moving me closer toward that finish line. That's where your focus is not on overall perceived progress that you've made. And then lastly, its intrinsic motivation. So you want to get connected with your goal with visualizing your goal and maybe why this goal is important to you. And that bolsters your commitment toward your goal. And we did another episode about motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and the difference between them. So I'll give you an example. I am currently in a doctoral program. So it's a four year program. I am two years into it. However, I've done two thirds of my coursework within the first two years. So at times, it can feel really daunting, I'm at a point in my, my career as a student, where if I keep looking in the rearview mirror, it's like, it's, it's not as motivating as if I look at what I have to go, I'm putting one foot in front of the other. And here's, I'm completing this semester I'm completing next semester, I'm looking at the finish line. But the other thing that keeps me motivated when I feel kind of overwhelmed at times, I love this program of study, but I get connected into this intrinsic motivation. So there are extrinsic value variables at play here. I have assignments that I need to complete, I have expectations set upon me by my professors. So there's some extrinsic push, I'm in a cohort of people and we're motivating each other that's external. I told my husband that I was paying for a doctorate degree and that I was gonna get a lot out of it. And, and so, you know, if I were to quit, then I have that extrinsic motivation, right? But that's not what's gonna keep me going and it's not what is going to keep me in the joy I have going through this process again, out, you'll hear me say it multiple times. It's not about the end state, the end goal, it's about who I get to become along this journey. And I want to enjoy every aspect of life. You know, I don't know about you, but you know, I'm not living to work. I want to enjoy every experience that I engage in. So what keeps me intrinsically motivated, is knowing that I'm tapped into my purpose. And knowing that I'm reading all of these studies, and I'm boiling them down is this something that's a little takeaway or nugget for you, because my mission and my mission in life is to help other people stand in their awesomeness and get out of the rat race and live their best lives. So if I can take what I'm learning, and put it toward a purpose right now, of helping people, and it's kind of lending itself to the greater purpose of finishing this work and, you know, doing other things, you know, with it, then that keeps me motivated. So hopefully, that helps you. So just to kind of boil this down, we talked about motivation. And looking at your goal, whether you, if you look at it through the lens of progress made, do you increase motivation? When you're in the earlier stages of your goal? By looking at the progress you've made by looking in the rearview mirror? Yes, in a nutshell, yes. Do you keep motivation and that velocity toward your goal when you're beyond the 50%, finished mark, by looking in the rearview mirror as to where you are and your perceived progress now? No, what you do instead, is you look at looking at the gradient theory, for example, and I encourage you to research it, look at where you are now. And then look at the finish line, focus on that finish line, and you'll find that you're moving faster toward it, you're increasing your velocity, another thing you can do is focus on the gap between where you currently are and where you need to be. And focus on actions that feel good because you take this action step and look out for it's move the needle, that's awesome. So you're focusing on your actions being important and impactful, and the finish line. And then lastly, is you focus and tap into that intrinsic motivation. And a big part of that, which I teach is through auto suggestion, living in your goal, imagining your goal, experiencing it through your five senses, tying something that you're doing now, to something you know, something that you're working on towards something that you're working on now. So the why bringing that into focus as well. So those are three ways that you can increase your motivation, and your velocity toward your goal when you're beyond that halfway point. So you don't fall into that self sabotage. So I hope this has been helpful for you. If you have questions, if you have comments, I would love to hear them. I want you to go to rat race reboot.com. And leave us a review wherever you listen to your podcasts, write a review, write questions that you might have, I read those and it guides future episodes, I want to hear from you. And also exciting news is, you know, a lot of these teachings through the podcast history.


We're on episode, I think 47. Now it's distilled in a book. So my book is coming out in the next couple of months, I want you to be the first to know when it's launching. So when you go to rat race reboot.com You can subscribe on the right hand side of that page about halfway down. And you'll get notifications when the book is launching and all the freebies that come along with it. So I'm super excited to share this information. This is going to take you from start to finish, and you will be set up for success. So today we're going to end our episode like we do every episode and we're going to tap into that inspired action and tap into you living from your goal and getting into that intrinsic motivation again, by helping you imagine it through your five senses and living it feeling it breathing it being it. So wherever you are right now,


I want you to take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale. Take another deep inhale through your nose and exhale fully and completely. Then take one more deep cleansing breath and release any tension that you might be holding on to and I want you to think about a goal that you're currently working on


Bring it to your mind's eye. Imagining that you're already there, you've reached the finish line what's different for you in your life as a result of you reaching this goal? Do you feel just elevated levels of confidence in yourself be more joyful gratitude see yourself celebrating this goal with the people you love see the impact you're having on others because you've reached this goal directly and even indirectly as you inspire imagine you're viewing the world from your goal. How is your perspective shifted? You are aligned this vision is meant for you know, ask yourself, What can I do today to move me in the direction of that goal? Who do I need to be? How do I want to show up today as that person decide and become Welcome back. And this is all about inspired action. That's what this is all about. So, this is closing the gap to where you are where you want to be. And this is how you get out of the rat race. So any ideas that came to your mind, write them down, take action, this is inspired action. And this is how you start becoming the person you want to be right now because you will not manifest that goal until you become that person now in your mind and in how you feel and and how you treat others and engage in the world around you. So I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Again, go to rat race reboot.com Subscribe, get all the scoop on the book rat race reboot that is coming out in the next couple of months. And I look forward to seeing you next week. And remember, everything's created twice, first in your imagination, and then in physical form. We'll see you next week.


The views and opinions expressed by the hosts guests or callers of this program do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the studio 21 podcast cafe, the United Podcast Network, its partners or affiliates.