How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Endowed Progress Effect
When people feel they have made some progress towards a goal then they will become more committed towards continued effort towards achieving the goal.
Perception is critically important with this and the appearance of progress can have a strong effect whilst actual progress that is not recognized can be demotivating.
The corollary is that people who feel they are making little or no progress will be more likely to abandon efforts.
As people get closer to the goal, their commitment is likely to deepen as they strive increasingly harder to achieve success.
Nunes and Dreze set up a system in a car wash where you needed eight stamps on a loyalty card to get a free car wash. In variant (A) customers theoretically needed ten stamps, though the card already had two 'free' stamps on it. In (B) the card had only space for eight stamps.
In variant (A), with two 'free' stamps, the redemption rate was 34%. In (B) the redemption rate was only 19%. Also, the customers in (A) also came back more often and the time between washes got shorter and shorter as they got closer to the free car wash.
A teacher gives homework where the first couple of questions are short and easy. The questions then slowly get harder.
If you are seeking to create change or keep somebody committed to a longer term goal, show them that they are making progress. This may be helped by making the first steps very easy for them.
If you feel you have to keep working towards something that you actually do not really want, then take a deep breath and quit.