The Simple Science of a ‘Fresh Start’ to Change Your Habits

Have you ever started a new routine after a big life change, like moving homes or changing jobs? Ever felt more inspired to act on a goal after your birthday (this will be the year I schedule all my doctor appointments!) or at the start of a new season (this winter, I'll actually use my slow cooker!)

If so, you've directly benefited from what behavior change experts call the "fresh start effect."

What’s the ‘Fresh Start’ Effect?

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found that our brains focus on meaningful personal events (e.g., a birthday, anniversary, travel) and shared timeframes (e.g., a week, month, year, season) to help us to track the passing of time and organize our lives into phases.

What’s more, the researchers found, we’re more likely to act on our goals before or after these points in time. 

What we love about this science: You don’t need to wait for something big to start or change your habits (like making a new resolution every January 1). Any ordinary Monday can be the new beginning you need right now. 

Gift Yourself a Monday ‘Fresh Start’ 

Are you craving a chance to recommit to a goal? Reflect on the steps below to help you make this Monday a time to re-engage with Hinge Health — or any other routine you’re trying to establish.

1. Set a Goal

  • What led you to sign up for Hinge Health? 

  • What are your hopes and goals?

2. Plan

  • What feels like a doable plan for this week? 

  • The more you can visualize your plan, the better. What are the best days and times to use Hinge Health? Where will you do your exercise therapy sessions? Would anything make it more enjoyable (listening to music or rewarding yourself after)? 

3. Share

  • Let your support system know your plan — you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Tell your family, friends, or coworkers about why you’re using Hinge Health. 

  • Connect with your coach! Share your plan and how they can help you follow through. Let them know if you need any modifications to make your exercise therapy sessions easier or more challenging. 

  • Join a Hinge Health Group to hear how others are taking action. (Go to Groups on the bottom of your app homescreen.)

Now that you know this surprisingly simple way to boost your motivation, brush off what didn't work last week. Embrace the fresh perspective that this Monday offers and jump-start a new routine with us at Hinge Health!


  1. Dai, H., Milkman, K. L., & Riis, J. (2014). The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior. Management Science, 60(10), 2563–2582. doi:10.1287/mnsc.2014.1901

  2. Alter, A. L., & Hershfield, H. E. (2014). People search for meaning when they approach a new decade in chronological age: Table 1. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(48), 17066–17070. doi:10.1073/pnas.1415086111

Our Hinge Health Experts

Valerie Black, MBA, CWC
Director of Behavior Change and Clinical Reviewer
Valerie Black is a healthcare expert, entrepreneur, and thought leader for mental, emotional and physical well-being, culture change, and leadership skills. She oversees behavior change and habit formation at Hinge Health.