🎉 Happy New Year and welcome to the hundreds of new readers who’ve joined us over the holidays.
This week is all about the science of New Year’s resolutions. Why do we make them and how can we find the motivation to make them stick!
Today’s newsletter is 723 words, 3½ minutes. Let’s do this!
1 big thing: A clean slate
“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… yet.” This is an endearing quote from Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old character in the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery (my fav book as a kid, BTW).
While this sentiment of starting anew is over a century old, there’s modern-day science proving that the power to start over goes beyond child’s play.
⏰ Resolutions. If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution to save money, aimed for better grades in September, or sworn off sugar on your birthday, then you’ve chosen a moment in time to break away and wipe the slate clean.
🔬 Fresh science. There’s a psychological phenomenon you can leverage to achieve your financial goals, make better choices, or leave your old self behind – it’s called the Fresh Start Effect. (source – pdf)
❓ Why does this happen? We’re more motivated to take action and tackle our goals around temporal landmarks – these are stand-out dates that mark new beginnings free from old mistakes.
You don’t have to wait for a big day like New Year’s to make a change though, you can reboot yourself on other meaningful days too. The beginning of the week, the start of a new job, or the day you read this newsletter. 😏
While the Fresh Start Effect may be a key to motivation, it doesn’t guarantee success. Sure, many New Year’s resolutions fail, but these pivotal days can be a useful first step towards many areas of change, including financial goals, fitness goals, or dietary goals!
2. How to make your Fresh Start stick!
There is science behind achieving your goals, and ways to get back on track, even on rainy days. Here are 5 ways:
1. Pick a date. Be strategic about when you want to start a goal or change a behavior. There should be personal meaning behind the day to trigger the Fresh Start Effect.
2. Get a goal. Write down a financial goal you’d love to achieve. Maybe it’s starting an emergency fund, dealing with a student loan, or contributing to a 🇨🇦 Tax-Free Savings Account / 🇺🇸 Roth IRA.
3. Connect with your future self. We all have two selves: our present self and our future self. Science shows we’re terrible at predicting our needs as time passes. It’s a problem if you want a bright future.
I’ve written about how to connect with your future self and the powerful changes that can happen.
4. Bundle your temptations. A straightforward and kinda fun way to boost motivation and increase willpower is to build a “Temptation Bundle” – a term coined by Katy Milkman, behavioral economist and professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Temptation bundling is a pairing trick – you combine, or “bundle” the healthy habit you dread with something you love. Got a guilty pleasure like binge-watching TV? Combining your TV time with a treadmill session could get you back in the gym. (source)
5. Catch the drift. Change isn’t linear – it’s a daily practice filled with a few bumps in the road, a mix of successes and missteps. If you start to drift from your target goal, don’t beat yourself up. Keep going!
3. A little nudge
Free Audio Course: How to Afford the Life You Want
🎧 I’m also sharing my FREE audio course, How to Afford the Life You Want. It’ll help you avoid the money habits that cost you, BIG TIME.
It leverages the Fresh Start Effect and could be the little nudge that gets you going.