New Year’s, the first of the month or the week, the new school year, after a birthday, after a holiday, the start of spring… These are all times we can take advantage of, and people do. Katy Milkman, author of How To Change, found that people are more likely to go to the gym and search “diet” on google during these times. Even if they’re arbitrary, new beginnings are triggers for new habits. In order to test out this ‘new beginning theory’, Milkman conducted research using two groups of people with birthdays coming up in 3 months. For one group, they asked, “Do you want to start saving for your 401(k) in 3 months?” and for the second they asked, “Do you want to start saving for your 401(k) after your birthday?” The second group said yes more often and saved a lot more money.
This fresh start gives us a spurt of motivation that, while it doesn’t last, can give you what you need to finally make that first step (which we know can be the hardest). You feel like a new person. Somehow, you’re not that person you were prior to your 30th birthday or even prior to last Monday. That was the old you. It’s Monday and it’s time for the new me (barf).