The fresh start effect explained
Going to the gym in January can be overwhelming, I spend most of my time competing for machines from people I have never seen. Fast forward to the end of February, and the gym returns to normal capacity with familiar faces. This phenomenon happens due to the fresh start effect.
The fresh start effect is a cognitive bias that refers to our tendency to feel more motivated to make positive changes when we are confronted with a new beginning. One of the most prominent new beginnings is the start of a new year but includes things like a new job, a new month, and even a new week.
A study by Dais et al. (2014) found that people were more likely to attend the gym and search for diets at the beginning of a week, month, or semester. The researchers found that new beginnings create an interruption that allows us to dissociate from our past selves and mistakes, shifting our perspective and increasing our motivation.