The Fresh Start Effect Says You Should Make That Change On Monday

Alright, admit it—you've let your New Year's resolutions fall by the wayside. It happens to the best of us, but we have good news: according to a 2015 study, you'll have plenty of opportunities to turn things around this year. It's all about picking the right dates to spur a "fresh start."

Push The Reset Button

If you've ever started a diet, only to abandon it several Bloody Marys into your Sunday brunch, you've likely bargained with yourself: "That's OK — I'll start over on Monday." You're not alone, and, according to research, Monday is actually a great time to start over. Adopting new habits at the beginning of a week can motivate you to pursue your goals via something called the fresh start effect. That's because the start of a new week, month, or year creates a psychological shift that allows you to leave your imperfections behind while looking forward to new beginnings ... on Monday.

In the study, participants were asked to describe a goal they wished to pursue. One group was asked to imagine that they had just moved to a new apartment after nine years. The other group was told they had moved to a new apartment after moving every year. Then, both groups were prompted to reveal how motivated they'd feel to achieve their goals in their given scenarios. You guessed it — the participants who thought they were moving for the first time in many years felt more distanced from their past selves and more motivated to dominate their goals. The bigger the fresh start, the greater the motivation.

There's Always Monday

So if you're looking to pick up some healthy habits, feel encouraged! As the study's authors put it: "For individuals who hope to curtail bad behaviors but struggle with initiating goal pursuit, temporal landmarks that open new time periods may prevent vicious cycles of impulsive behavior stimulated by 'what the hell' rationalizations." Need some "temporal landmark" ideas? Try your birthday, the beginning of a school semester, the first day of a new job, or the first day of the month. Of course, there's always Monday.

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Written by Curiosity Staff April 27, 2017