Fresh Start Effect

Recently I began listening to Maya Shankar’s podcast “A Slight Change of Plans” – she was interviewing Dr. Katy Milkman on her research on how to facilitate change.

I found Dr. Milkman’s research on the “fresh start effect” particularly interesting which posits that people are more likely to make a change in their life when it coincides with a temporal marker (i.e. new year, birthday etc.).

As a chiropractor I have observed this for years: one example is when patients return to treatment after Labour Day which coincides with the natural ‘back-to-school’ feeling many people have in early September. 

How does this translate to coaching?
Since people often look to a  coach to support them with small and big life changes, I can use this ‘fresh start theory’ to encourage clients to sync their changes with natural temporal markers, i.e. beginning of the month or new business quarter or summer/winter solstice. 

[originally published January 2022]

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