William Liao

September 3, 2021

The Fresh Start Effect

In 2014, Dr. Hengchen Dai, her doctoral advisor Dr. Katy Milkman, and Dr. Jason Riis published a study called “The Fresh Start Effect”. 

The main finding of the study was that specific dates — birthdays, new semesters, new years, etc — empowered people to more effectively set and achieve new goals.

Sometimes change can be hard, and in those instances deploying strategies like what’s suggested in this study can help us get unstuck. 

You don’t necessarily have to wait until your birthday or the beginning of the year — something as soon as the beginning of next week would work. Any date where you can find or create meaning will suffice. 

Be creative; create your own fresh start. 

It might be the nudge you’ve been needing.