Exit Site

SART Foundations: Building Motivation

Human motivation is a funny thing. We get really excited about new projects or ideas and stick with them for a short period of time. We love to start up projects on particular dates or around particular events. This is part of something called the “fresh start effect.” However, as we move further into the project that really cool thing we were so excited about, we slowly lose motivation. As we get closer to the end of our goals, we regain motivation. It looks like this:

That middle slumpmotivation.png is really tough to work through, and it’s a totally normal part of how humans feel motivation. Think of any major project your team or agency has undertaken—it probably followed this pattern. The question for most SARTs is how to fight the normal slump in the middle?


The answer to how to beat a motivational slump?


Within your larger goal, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. You harness the natural energy of the beginning of projects and provide opportunities to celebrate accomplishments. You have to mark and reward the end of projects or sub-goals. Humans are pretty typical in that they enjoy celebrating work well done, which actually shortens the motivational slump that comes after completing projects. Using the sub-goal method, your motivational chart will look more like this:


Your red line is the big projects. Notice, there usually is a slump in motivation after completing really big projects; this is also normal. Your blue line is your sub-goals. This breaks down the big slump into smaller, easier to manage dips in motivation and really harnesses the fresh start effect and new project excitement.

Have you used this strategy with your own team? Do you have questions or comments about this or other approaches to SART work? Leave it in the comments!