Happy New Year.
New Year, New Start, New You.
Time for a fresh start.
But wait….why now?
Why is it that some of us make New Year’s resolutions today? Taking advantage of the fresh start that a new year brings is just a bit weird isn’t it?
The Fresh Start Effect states that we’ll more likely achieve goals set at the start of a new time period. The New Year nudge is pretty powerful and ritualistic.
Dai et al (2013) have found that we tend to motivate ourselves into good habits by using a new week, month, year or national holiday marker to put past behaviour behind us and focus on being better.
We propose that these landmarks demarcate the passage of time, creating many new mental accounting periods each year, which relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce people to take a big-picture view of their lives, and thus motivate aspirational behaviors.
They say that salient temporal landmarks signalling new beginnings can open new “mental accounts” and people can put their imperfections behind them as “the old me” (Dai et al, 2015).
I suppose we are all constantly trying to reinvent ourselves and self-edit but actually, we don’t change that much because our willpower wibbles and wobbles.
If the “New Year, New Me” works for you then go for it but change and goal initiation doesn’t have to be so dramatic and linked to a change in the calendar. We see our past, present and future selves as separable but inside, do we really change?
Every day is a school day.