Leveraging the “fresh start effect”

Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Faculty Blog

The Brilliant Report

By Annie Murphy Paul

Here are a couple of things you already know about resolutions: One: We customarily make them around New Year’s. Two: These resolutions often fail.

And here’s something about resolutions that you probably didn’t know: You can use them in conjunction what psychologists call “the fresh start effect” to effectively generate motivation throughout the year.

Fascinating research conducted by Wharton professor Katherine Milkman and her colleagues shows that we are more likely to start a diet, go to the gym, and make commitments to reach our goals around the start of a new year. But, the researchers found, we’re also more likely to make such moves toward self-improvement aroundother “temporal landmarks”: a birthday, a holiday, the start of a new semester, a new month, or even just a Monday, the start of a new week. Even without all the hoopla around New…

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