The Science of Motivation:
Ever noticed how starting a new project is like launching a rocket – all excitement and roaring engines – yet halfway through, it feels more like slogging through mud?
Behavioral psychologists have a name for this all-too-familiar dip: the “Middle Slump” or the “Mid-Project Crisis.” It’s that frustrating phase where our initial surge of enthusiasm wanes, and the finish line seems like a mirage in the desert.
It’s the point where many of us are tempted to throw in the towel. Think about those New Year’s resolutions – brimming with potential on January 1st, but often just a distant memory by February.
But here’s the good news: we can outsmart the Middle Slump. The trick? Make the middle smaller. Not by skimping on the work, but by slicing our goals into manageable, bite-sized pieces.
Let’s try a quick thought experiment:
Imagine your dishwasher conks out right after a big dinner party, leaving you with a mountain of dirty dishes.
That two-hour cleanup could feel like an eternity. But what if you break it down into 15 mini- segments?
Suddenly, you’ve created 15 mini finish lines, each one offering a sense of completion and a hit of endorphin-fueled satisfaction.
That’s 15 boosts of motivation instead of just one long slog.
This power of goal slicing is undeniable. Of course, I’m not advocating for the creation of detailed Work- or Goal Breakdown Structures for such mundane tasks.
However, when challenges grow in complexity, a well-documented Goal Breakdown Structure can be a game-changer and a must-have. The more visual the structure is, the more motivation it will unleash.
Below is an example of such a breakdown for a cultural transformation project within an organization. This approach transforms a complex endeavor into something tangible, understandable, and open for discussion.
The public and downloadable version of this template is available here.
So, the next time you or your team are struggling to stay motivated, remember the power of breaking things down. Log in to Goalscape now – and start slicing your challenges into energizing subgoals!