2022 was supposed to be your year to grow your audience.
You watched the Twitter thread bois grow to tens of thousands (and sometimes hundreds of thousands) of followers.
Every day you saw somebody talk about how much money they made from promoting their products or services on social media.
And, the one that stings the most, you’ve heard your favorite creators talk about the incredible opportunities (speaking gigs, investment deals, top talent, etc..) that came their way thanks to their audience.
Yet, as you sit at the start of 2023, you shake your head that it didn’t happen. To be fair, life got in the way and you had to prioritize work projects, family time, and taking care of yourself over posting.
But this year – it’s going to be different.
Why do you feel more confident in your audience growth this year than you did last year?
In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at Fresh Starts – why we feel so motivated at the start of every year.
Let’s get into it…
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The Psychology of Fresh Starts 🧠
Change is hard.
(If you’ve ever tried to build a new habit or kill an unhealthy one, you already know that.)
But according to Katy Milkman, there are specific times of year when it’s easier to change.
In her book How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Milkman introduces a psychological phenomenon called the “Fresh-Start Effect.”
The idea is simple…
There are moments in life when we feel like we can wipe the slate clean from past failures and have a fresh start.
The Fresh-Start Effect gives us a motivation boost which can make it easier to commit to our goals.
A new year is a common time to adopt new habits. But fresh starts can happen at other times too such as birthdays, the beginning of a school year, a new business quarter, a new month, or even a week.
Research shows that starting something new in landmark moments:
- Let us leave our “old selves” in the past
- Help us see the bigger picture of our long-term life vision
- Motivates us to finally make the change that aligns with that vision
Yet this motivation eventually dwindles.
Where Does the Motivation Go? 🧐
The elusive nature of fresh starts is their ability to come and go as they, seemingly, please.
One day you’re motivated to grow your online audience and the next you’re deciding that you’d rather spend your time scrolling than creating.
What changed between your motivating moment and your procrastinating moment?
You showed yourself that you hadn’t left your old self in the past. Part of that old self crept in and tainted your fresh start.
And that self-image is dragging you backward. Slowly, you start to push back from posting content or working out.
At first, just by a day, Then by two days, Then four. Suddenly, a week has gone by.
If there’s one thing you can rely on when it comes to fresh starts… it’s that your motivation will dwindle.
You won’t be motivated 100% of the time to reach your fresh start goals. And you have to go into them knowing this.
You’ll need bumpers along the way to make sure you stay on track. Or else you’ll quit too soon.
How To Make Behavior Change Stick 🤑
Alright, so how can we apply this right now to achieve your goals?
Visualize Your Goals
Visualizing your goals isn’t fluff advice (even if it may seem like it). Research has found that the people who describe their goals are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to reach them.
Goal visualization shows you which decisions are aligned with reaching those goals and which would send you in the wrong direction. It also helps you create something absolutely necessary to achieve your goals. A set metric of success.
When you visualize your goals, you visualize the number of followers you’ve hoped for, the feeling you’d get from splurging on something nice, or a round of applause from a happy audience at your speaking gig.
Use Commitment Devices
Commitment erases procrastination. When you have a huge meeting coming up that determines the outcome of your job, do you procrastinate making your presentation? Or do you get right to work to get all of your ducks in a row?
Commitment devices vary. You could use an app like GymPact that charges you money every time you skip your workout. Or you could find an accountability partner to push you to keep your commitments. Studies show that having a third party hold you accountable will make you 95% more likely to achieve your goals.
Commit to 21 Days
I bet you thought that the notion that it takes 21 days to build a habit came from somebody trying to write every day, work out more often, or quit smoking.
It turns out that it actually came from a plastic surgeon in the 1950s. This surgeon realized that it took their patients an average of 21 days to adjust to the changes in their face or body.
This is an important perspective shift when it comes to building habits.
It’s not about doing the habit for 21 days—it’s about seeing yourself differently. In 21 days you can shift your self-perception from someone who is trying to start running more consistently to “a runner” and that’s a very powerful thing.
The Short of It 💥
The Fresh-Start Effect can give you a motivational boost you need to make changes and achieve your goals.
But you can’t rely on motivation alone. You need to take actions to set yourself up for success.
Little things like visualizing your success and committing to a new habit for 21 days can help you to shift your perception of yourself and become the kind of person you want to be.
2023 can be your best year yet—so let’s get started! 💪
Until next time, happy selling.
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