Here is a study which shows that we we tend to change our perception of how much progress we have made in order to motivate ourselves. Whether we exaggerate or downplay our progress depends on how close we are to our goal.

 

So Near and Yet So Far: The Mental Representation of Goal Progress
By Szu-chi Huang, Ying Zhang, & Susan M. Broniarczyk

Abstract: In the present article, we explore whether people’s mental representation of progress level can function as a self-regulation mechanism that helps motivate continued effort in the pursuit. We propose that when individuals have just started pursuing a goal and have accumulated only limited progress, they exaggerate the achieved progress level in their mental representation to signal a higher chance of eventual goal attainment and thus elicit greater effort. In contrast, when people have made substantial progress and are approaching the goal attainment, they downplay the achieved progress in their mental representation to create greater perceived discrepancy, hence eliciting greater effort. Empirical evidence from four studies supported the hypothesis.

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