Do you start projects with great gusto, work consistently for a few hours or days and then peter out as the project continues, losing interest and steam?

Many people are just like you, paying attention to the beginning of a task but ignoring its ending. We lose focus. We procrastinate, missing deadlines.

So how can we maintain our drive from the start of a project to its completion?

Researchers at the University of Chicago studied people who were working toward a goal. The researchers wanted to know if people were looking back at what they’d accomplished so far or looking forward to what they had to do. People tend to use both to motivate themselves. The researchers wanted to find out if one or the other was better.

They found that, while both ways can work, focusing too much on what we’ve completed can actually lessen our motivation because doing so can give us a feeling of a job well done too soon and so our motivation declines.

Researchers studied college students and found that the students were more apt to focus on their work if told that they still had more than half of the information to still study. Students who started slacking off had been told they had covered about half of the material.

Researchers found that the reason looking ahead helps keep us motivated is due to the fact that our brain sees the difference between the ways things are currently and how we want them to be, so it focuses on how to close the gap between them. This results in focusing our attention more on the task before us and giving it more effort.

In short, to stay motivated, think more about what the goal and now about what you’ve already accomplished.

Looking for a new job in the New York City area and needing a bit more motivation? Contact Winston Resources! We can help you get the proverbial “foot in the door” with some of Manhattan’s best employers. We look forward to hearing from you!

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