What are temporal landmarks?


Temporal landmarks are specific dates or experiences that instigate a psychological sensation of starting anew, which can inspire aspirational behavior and thinking. They act like mental signposts that signal a break from past behaviors or patterns and are associated with moments like New Year's Day, a birthday, or the first day of a school semester. These moments allow individuals to open a new chapter in their lives, often accompanied by renewed motivation and intent. Temporal landmarks encourage a sense of a fresh start, where past failures or behaviors are put behind, giving people a psychological "clean slate" to work with [1 2 3].

Fresh Start Effect

Mel Robbins and Rich Roll discuss the concept of temporal landmarks, also known as the Fresh Start Effect, which are specific dates or experiences that create a sense of breaking from the past and starting anew. They explore how these temporal landmarks can inspire aspirational behavior and thinking, and how creating personal rituals and morning routines can help sustain motivation for positive change.

Rich Roll

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These landmarks are not just dates, but they can be any noteworthy events that make us pause, reflect, and potentially change our trajectory. For example, significant life events such as getting married or experiencing a loss can serve as temporal landmarks, restructuring our sense of time and priorities [4].