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Money Control: What is the fresh start effect and how you can start afresh this Monday

January 1 is usually the big day when millions of people decide to start something afresh. This could be finally going to the gym, giving up unhealthy habits like smoking, or working towards a career goal they’d set months earlier. The beginning of every year marks a fresh start on the calendar, so it seems appropriate to start something new on that day too. Dr Katherine Milkman and her colleagues call this motivation the Fresh Start Effect – when special days in our lives inspire us to believe we are re-starting with a clean slate. Milkman is a professor at the Wharton School and is best known for her writings on behavioural change. “Fresh start” days also serve as watersheds, when we take a step back to look at the big picture of where our lives are headed – this, too, can inspire us to take charge and course-correct. The much memefied New Year New Me concept stems from this belief. To be sure, whatever endeavour you undertake on January 1 – start eating healthy, stop smoking, begin a workout – can be embarked upon on any other day of the year too. It’s just that certain dates make us believe that a new era is upon us, and that we can take charge from this point on. Read more in Money Control.