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  • Writer's pictureJohn Hollway

The Goal Gradient Effect

The Goal Gradient Effect explains that our energy to complete a task increases as its completion (and the reward) gets closer. For longer tasks, we can get bogged down in the middle as things get more challenging and the end doesn’t feel that close. But when the finish line comes into sight, we have more energy and drive to accomplish the task.

The opposite is also true: a task without an endpoint can be daunting and demoralizing, harder to achieve. As we grapple with the uncertainty of the coronavirus impact, help stabilize your emotions by giving yourself small, achievable to-dos each day in different spheres of your life:

• Connect each day with someone at work, in your family, and in your friend group;

• Perform one daily act of intentional self-care: clean a room in your house, or shave.

• Exercise: YouTube has a host of videos that don’t require equipment or space and can help you stay fit.

• Learn a new skill: spend part of each day on a self-education initiative (25 pages/day of a book you’ve wanted to read, 30 min/day of practicing a musical instrument or learning a foreign language, for example.)

These activities will help you move forward through the uncertainty, and be better prepared when the finish line comes into sight.

Photo by Lance Grandahl on Unsplash

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