Fresh Starts

There is a magic to fresh starts. I remember loving to start a new notebook when in school and I still get that rush when starting anything new as an adult. For years, when trying to motivate myself to do something, I'd find that magical moment of newness plus added significance to make it stick.

Turns out I'm not so unique in this. Gretchen Rubin, in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives spends a chapter on how taking advantage of fresh starts—otherwise known as a "clean slate"—can help make a new habit stick.

She explains how pairing a new habit with a new circumstance in your life, whether good or bad, is more likely to help make it a new routine. For example, although she had trouble getting up early for the gym while going to law school, she managed to make this part of her routine when starting her clerkship and was therefore able to keep it going. 

Sometimes when there isn't something big and new, one can fabricate this "magic." Gretchen cleaned out her daughter's room to give herself a simulated fresh start when working on this book.

Starting something is the hardest part, often harder than maintaining it. And although people vary whether starting small or large is more motivating, starting along with something new or different invariably helps.

I'm constantly amazed how powerful our mind and reframing can be. We really can use these mental tricks for our own good, so is there something you've wanted to start and just can't get yourself to do so? What "fresh start" can you use to inspire yourself?


Karina is VP of Operations and HR at 24/7 Teach.

A version of this was originally posted on Business Common Sense blog.

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