What is the Fresh Start Effect?
The Fresh Start Effect describes people’s tendency to take action toward a goal after events that mark new beginnings. Examples of these temporal events would be a new week, month, or year. Even national holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays make it easier for people to create goals.
Why? Because people think of their present selves and their future selves as two different people. Called temporal discounting, brain imaging studies have found that thinking about your current self and your future self fire up different regions in your brain.
In fact, thinking about your future self activates that same parts of the brain as when we think about other people.
But when the calendar rolls over to a significant event, it forces us to consider how our present actions are affecting our future selves. It gives us a clean slate and psychological permission to attempt a goal again.