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Fresh Starts

Ever just get the urge to throw everything out and start from scratch? Do some spring cleaning in the middle of winter?

And why not? Life gets messy.

But why the desire for fresh starts in the first place? Why do we look for those moments of transition? What is it about a fresh start that gets us going?

Psychology gives some insights. The human mind has a preference for completeness. Our brains like to finish things. This is why you prefer to have a round number of something, why it bothers you so much to have an incomplete set, and why songs get stuck in our heads. The brain keeps working on something until it is done. A new start then, for our brains, signals that things were completed and allow it to move on and give energy and focus to new projects.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania identified what they call the “fresh start effect”. They did research on why people have more motivation when pursuing goals in times of new beginnings, such as the new year. They found that our psyche seems to separate from our earlier selves after important milestones (our memories also get organised around noteworthy events) which allows us to think of ourselves as a new person, or at least new version of ourselves. So you experience the you from last year as someone removed from the person that you are today - and this gives us a boost in motivation!

There’s a catch though: We only get one new year each year, and that energy we feel is very fleeting. It’s as if that old person I left in last year comes creeping back and reasserts themselves - usually within the first few weeks.

So here are a few thoughts on how this can work for us:

Look out for those times where you’re instincts are telling you it’s time for something new

Look out for those times where you’re instincts are telling you it’s time for something new - those gut feelings often come from a deep perception of the world around us that our more conscious thoughts don’t even pick up on.

Get some rhythm in your life. Most modern lifestyles are a never ending bombardment of things to do and places to be, which just becomes one long unbroken note. Your life should be a song, with rhythm. Pauses and starts. Otherwise you’re brain isn’t getting a chance to tie things off, to get some distance. So take a vacation, take a weekend, or even just take a coffee break. You’ll feel like a new person after.

Don’t let mistakes break your stride. You are not perfect. Sorry. I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, but there it is. You are not perfect. And that’s okay! No one is, and no one can expect you to be. Mistakes happen. I break my diet. I mess up the report. I lose my temper. And then I keep going forward - making the same mistake I did last year doesn’t mean I’m back there, it just means I’m not all the way to where I want to get yet. But I’m gonna keep on going.

you are an ever improving entity of growth and potential

Because, when you really get down to it, you are an ever improving entity of growth and potential. Every day you are more developed than the day before. Every moment you are more capable than the last.

Wiser

Smarter

Stronger

And who knows what this new you is capable of?

Copyright 2017 Crest Life Coaching