The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior

Hengchen Dai, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Katherine L. Milkman, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Jason Riis, Harvard Business School, USA
Three field studies show that aspirational behaviors (dieting, exercising, and goal pursuit) increase following temporal landmarks (e.g., the outset of a week/month/year; birthdays; holidays). Lab studies show that temporal landmarks relegate one’s imperfections to the past and make the current self feel superior and thus capable of pursuing its aspirations.
[ to cite ]:
Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, and Jason Riis (2013) ,"The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 41, eds. Simona Botti and Aparna Labroo, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.