Does a “Fresh Start” Really Work?

Perhaps it’s time to emerge from the COVID cave! I recently was listening to the podcast Freakonomics on the topic of “fresh starts.” But, are fresh starts an effective way to change? The short answer from my experience is “yes” and “no.”

Behavioral scientists talk about the fresh start effect as the human tendency to take action towards achieving a goal after a special occasion or key date has passed. You might also call it a psychological reset. This got me thinking. Could the easing of COVID restrictions that are hopefully coming allow us to have a fresh start? Could those of us in later life step into new ways of being and doing as life gets more back to normal?

I’ve found in my practice, what helps increase the chances that a fresh start succeeds is:

  1. The ability to honor the past, but have curiosity for the future.
  2. Being in a new situation or life event to shake things up.
  3. Setting realistic goals, then finding a way to be accountable. 

Exhibit A: Part of the challenge with making a New Year’s resolution is that nothing else has changed – except the date! The benefit of leaving a main career – or making another life change – is that it’s not the same as before. Transitions are often unsettling, uncomfortable or worse. But they also can bring opportunity and a new forced frame of mind. The question to consider is, “How can I use a life change to explore new ways of doing and being?”

While not all of us are ready to retire, I like this article, 20 Tips for a Happy Retirement which opens up new ways of moving forward – and emerging from the COVID cave – into the sunlight.

With Spring coming, tree buds and life will start opening up again. It’s a good time to start thinking and planning about what’s next. I love coaching because it’s forward-focused, allowing clients to acknowledge the past but make the conscious decision to step into the future in a new and/or modified way. Give me a call or drop me a message to talk about how you want to make a change and I’ll share how I support clients in achieving success.

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Reed Dewey

Reed is a transitions coach supporting those 50+ to prepare for what's next and turn dreams into reality.