You can measure progress by how much you’ve completed or how much you have left to do. Research says you’ll be more motivated if you focus on whichever of those two is smaller:
“We predict that individuals will express greater motivation to pursue actions when they focus on whichever is smaller in size—the area of their completed actions or of their remaining actions—because motivation increases with the perceived impact of each new step, and each new step will appear more impactful if compared to a smaller set of other steps toward the goal,” the authors write.
“For participants who were closer to getting a reward, an emphasis on remaining progress (small area) increased motivation more than on completed purchases (large area),” the authors write. Customers who were far from the rewards said they were more motivated to finish filling the cards when the cards emphasized completed (small area) versus remaining progress (large area).
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