New York-based career coach Rebecca Kiki Weingarten says her clients are always looking for fresh starts, but the timing “depends on each person's work style and motivational needs. Some clients plan for after vacations, [while] some are athletes and use their specific sport season and work around that.”
Some people find that being laid off, or a relationship breaking-up is the best time to take on projects, careers, financial changes, or personal changes that they'd been putting off for a long time or ‘never got around to’,” says Weingarten.
Some of her clients are more motivated in the lead up to a significant birthday, an anniversary commemorating the birth or death of a loved one.
Success not guaranteed
People tend to have more long-term success with goals that require a one-off action, such as signing up for retirement savings.
But while we might be able to harness a meaningful date for a fresh start, this is no guarantee of success in the long run, says Katherine Milkman, a professor of behavioural economics at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and co-author of the study into the fresh start effect with Dai.
Dai agrees. “In terms of how long-lasting that behaviour will be and whether the persistence will vary based on temporal landmarks, that’s an open question we’re still exploring.”
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