Revamp Your Routine: Harnessing the Fresh Start Effect for a Successful Back-to-School Season

Aug 24, 2023 | Consistency, Ownership

Before you roll your eyes and think, “great, another back-to-school thing,” give me 2 sentences to explain why this non-kid-having coach is talking about back to school. See, our brains have this psychological phenomenon that’s more than just a January thing called the fresh start effect, and it helps us with our habits as our schedules adapt to the kids’ school routines. In short, this psychological ‘trick’ can help us start – and KEEP – new routines during this busy time.

Intrigued? Read on 😉

Fresh Start Effect 

The psychology of fresh starts goes like this: we have a period in time where we can say, “that was the old me and this is the new me.” It brings us out of day-to-day survival and has us thinking about bigger picture things. Things like who we want to be, the type of person we want to become, the types of behaviors we want to start doing, etc.

You witness, and probably experience, these fresh starts every January 1st, but also on Mondays (diet starts Monday??), new months, big birthdays, and other big life events like marriage, babies, promotions, moving and more. Research even shows that 40% of people who move use it as an opportunity to develop new habits. I’d argue it’s 100% since your entire environment is different – even the way you make coffee changes… but I digress.

This fresh start effect is where back to school comes in. Our brains are wired to love beginnings, it’s as if a switch flips, igniting our motivation to conquer challenges and create positive changes. And the giant schedule change that comes with the back to school season presents a great opportunity to take advantage of the fresh start to create the habits you’ve been meaning to all summer.

How to Start Fresh

First up, mornings: if the early hours have never been your jam, the fresh start effect could be your secret weapon. Use it to your advantage by tweaking your morning routine. Maybe set your alarm a bit earlier to enjoy a moment of quiet or to kick off the day with a quick workout. Capitalize on that fresh start energy!

Speaking of energy, back-to-school season might actually gift you more “me-time.” As the kids head off to school, those precious moments can become pockets of opportunity. Instead of scrolling through social media, consider spending that time on a new habit. Whether it’s dedicating 10 minutes to meditation or squeezing in a yoga flow, these small actions can lead to significant improvements.

Next up, after school and/or evening routines: these create another disruption to your schedule that you can add in other habits. Perhaps you make the kids’ lunches in the evening so while you’re at it, you can prep your smoothie for the next morning. Or maybe having bedtime earlier than in the summer means you have more time for the skincare routine you’ve wanted to try.

Here’s the beauty of it: you don’t need a complete overhaul. Begin with baby steps. Choose one habit that resonates with your goals. Hydrating throughout the day, taking a short walk, or even trying out a new recipe can all be great starting points. It’s about the small wins that eventually create a big impact.

Reality check: nobody’s perfect. Slip-ups happen, and that’s okay. Rather than throwing in the towel, recognize the power of a mini-reset. You don’t have to wait until next Monday to get back on track. With the fresh start effect in your corner, any moment can be a new beginning. Really, you can establish your fresh start at any day and any time! Just declare it to be true, tell a friend or family member about it for added accountability and voila! Fresh start.

New Routines, New You

Crafting routines is where the magic truly happens. As your schedule shifts, seize the opportunity to establish new habits. From incorporating a 10-minute stretching routine to enjoying a few pages of a book before bed, these consistent actions can become second nature thanks to the fresh start effect.

As school bells ring and the dust settles, take a moment to breathe. With the fresh start effect as your ally, you’re equipped to develop habits that make life smoother and more enjoyable. Whether it’s crafting a morning routine that sets a positive tone or creating an evening ritual that aids relaxation, these fresh starts are your ticket to a successful back-to-school season.

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