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"The Fresh Start Effect"

January 11, 2023 - Newsletter 014

We’re in a New Year and on the other side of a busy holiday season. Phew! Welcome 2023! I finally took down my Christmas tree yesterday, January 9, which is the latest I have ever left my tree up after the holidays. I had a burst of energy and felt the need to “tackle the beast" while the sun was out, the tree could be thrown out the front door, and my boys could drag it into the woods after they got off the school bus. Success! I am completely exhausted today but am so relieved that it's done and we have our living room back! It's my first day back at my desk after several weeks working overnight shifts and being on call with a new family. October to December was nonstop and being at my desk was like hanging out with an old friend again. Adorned with a hot plate gifted to me by my son, my fresh new 2023 calendars, artwork from my daughter, and my newly thrifted cuckoo clock, it felts amazing to reconnect and be back in my creative space once again. For as along as I can remember, my desks have always been a sacred space for me to get my creative juices flowing and power through projects. I do a majority of my writing and content creation at my desktop and as a photographer, my computer was a major tool in the editing process of the end product that I deliver to my clients. It truly is my home base and finding my true north through reconnecting helps me to create new intentions for my family and my growing business for the year ahead. It’s wild to think back to just ten months ago, I made the decision to become a doula. I am still trying to find the words to describe how profound this life/career change has been for me. I was listening to a Mel Robbins podcast recently, 3 Simple Steps to Change Your Life, and I knew I was going to speak on it in one of my newsletters. She talks about "the fresh start effect" and how we release our old selves during life’s transitions. She specifically talks about the mile markers we all celebrate each year on our birthdays. Every time you celebrate a birthday you are celebrating the fact that you are still here! You are also celebrating the magic of what the future holds for you. She asks the listener to think about the moment when the birthday cake comes out and you close your eyes and make a wish. In that moment, time stops. As the cake gets closer to you, you hear a pause within yourself, blow out those candles with the intention of that wish coming true, and you open your eyes and are present to the wish and the possibilities ahead. Researchers have a name for this moment, "the fresh start affect". When you make that wish, you break from your past self and a transformation window of time opens up. You think bigger and feel more hopeful and inspired. The intrinsic motivational power of the fresh start affect happens with a birthday, a new year, a birth, a death. Something ends and something else begins. It happens in the physical, psychological, and spiritual space. These moments offer you a blank slate, a whole new fresh start, and the power to change. These changes are called, “temporal landmarks”: a date or an experience or a physical thing that marks the passing of time. A birthday marks another year of your life past. A breakup/divorce marks the passage of time and a change in your identity; life as couple before and your life after a breakup. A temporal landmark marks the breaking point in the change in you. The episode goes on to talk in more detail with Mel's insight on adapting three steps to help change your life, go listen! I was blown away by "the fresh start affect" because I know I feel it when the New Year rolls around. I know I experience it when my kids are getting ready to end their summer break and go back to school in the fall. I totally feel it now with new families signing on to work with me as their doula. I just love that someone took the time to research it and explain it as being something that is real and truly magical that happens in our brains. That the feeling we have when we close a chapter in our lives and move onto writing the next one, that the magic and the electricity we feel within us is change happening. That feeling is the unfolding of the course ahead of us. Embrace that magic. Crack open a new journal. Get a new notebook or sketchbook to write down your ideas. Get yourself a new canvas to create a vision board. Commit to a daily practice of quiet meditation. Whatever it is, embrace that magic of having a fresh start and listen to your intentions within. Peace and Love, Robin

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