I know January is supposed to be the universal fresh start, however, I find fall, or more specifically back-to-school, has become my best time for a fresh start. I have just come off a summer of playing, relaxing by the pool with the boys, vacation days aplenty, and I am quite relaxed and ready for taking on a fresh start. Back-to-school is a logical time for a fresh start, not just for me, but for most adults because for most of us summer is a different, more relaxed rhythm. Fall feels like an invitation to explore new possibilities, set new goals, and undertake a challenge.
Fresh starts are essential for inspiration, creating a sense of movement in our lives, and resetting areas that aren't working. Fresh starts invite self-evaluation as well as goal evaluation. Think about it, it is much easier to start a new exercise routine when the weather is still balmy and the days are still reasonably long, than to start one in the dark, cold days of January (for us northern dwellers that is!).
There is actually a scientific backing for fresh starts. Consider this perspective from the University of Pennsylvania:
Wharton operations and information management doctoral candidate Hengchen Dai, operations and information management professor Katherine Milkman and visiting professor Jason Riis call it the “fresh start effect,” and they studied the way temporal landmarks can motivate aspirational behavior.
The researchers found that these fresh starts aren’t actually limited to January, and that they take place throughout the year. “Fresh starts” help us separate our old “inferior” selves from our new “improved” selves, notes Dai, who led the study, “The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior.” Fresh starts also encourage people to evaluate their lives in a wider context, she says.
The idea that we need times in our lives to separate out what is and is not working, as well as viewing our lives within a larger context is powerful. If we never took the time to do that, what would happen? Life would stagnate. Life would become more difficult because all t
hose things that aren't working would become walls to our relationships and circular patterns that would land us right back where we started which would stop all forward movement in our lives. That is depressing!
What is your best fresh start time? Is it fall? Perhaps it is spring? Maybe January does work well for you. Whatever your best fresh start time, embrace it for all it opens up for you. Exciting possibilities. New relationships. Synergistic partnerships. A fresh pace or a new perspective. Embrace it all, learn from it, and then welcome your next fresh start.