The Fresh Start Effect: Materials and Discussion about Goals, Transitions, and New Beginnings

The fresh start effect was discussed in Katy Milkman’s Book ‘How to Change‘.  Below are materials and questions that can be used to learn about this and discuss.


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  • improvisation
  • tendency
  • renewal
  • vigor
  • clean slate
  • narrative
  • implications
  • bracket
  • barrier
  • anticipate
  • wired to
  • instant gratification
  • bite-sized chunks
  • hack my life
  • looming
  • binge-watch
  • resonating,
  • rejuvenated
  • one fell swoop
  • procrastination
  • wiggle room
  • on track
  • get-out-of-jail-free cards
  • profound

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What is your Sunday night/Monday morning routine?  Do you have any ‘start of the week’ habits?
  2. What significant ‘fresh start’ experiences have you had in your life?
  3. Have you ever been ‘the new kid’ in class or the ‘new person’ in some situation where most people already knew each other? How was that?
  4. Think of times when you tried something new or different (new haircut, different club activity,  fresh relationship).  How did the change affect you?  How long did changes last?
  5. It’s a new school year.  Spring is almost here.  Covid isn’t over, but social distancing (kind of) is.
    What fresh starts are you making (or considering) these days?
  6. How is your semester going so far?
  7. Do you make new year’s resolutions?  If so, what were they this year?
  8. Which parts of your life feel ‘stale’ (not fresh)?
  9. How did you deal with ‘fresh starts’ during the Covid era?
  10. Do you think a ‘fresh start’ approach can make a difference in achieving your goals?

Related Song of the Week: New Beginning by Tracy Chapman

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