‘Fresh Start’ September: The time to make a smart restart

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People keen to make a positive change to their lives are twice as likely to be successful if they adopt a ‘fresh start’ attitude, new research out today shows.[1]

The findings have been released as parents prepare for their children to return to school after the summer holidays. Research shows that almost half (41 per cent) of mums are looking forward to the schools going back as it’s an opportunity for a fresh start for the whole family.[2]

Richard Wiseman, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, studied over 800 people who were working towards a positive change including losing weight, increasing their fitness level, finding a new job or improving their performance at work.

According to Professor Wiseman:

“January isn’t the only time of year that provides us with an opportunity for a fresh start. September marks the beginning of a new school term and the start of a different season – it’s the perfect time to set yourself a goal and, with a fresh start attitude, you’re more likely to be successful as this study shows.”

Over the 10-day study, half of the participants were asked to adopt a ‘fresh start’ attitude. More than twice the number of these individuals succeeded in reaching their goal (34 per cent), compared to the control group (16 per cent).

One participant’s goal was to swap unhealthy treats for healthier alternatives – she wrote the words ‘fresh start’ on a steamed-up mirror in their bathroom to remind her of this every morning. At the end of the study she said: “So far, so good. For the first time in ages I feel like I have taken a real step towards being more healthy.”

Another participant set a positive ‘fresh start’ message on his phone, which randomly appeared throughout the day to help motivate him in achieving his goal. After 10 days he said: “It has been a great success!”

Last week Public Health England launched its new Smart Restart campaign. The campaign calls on families across England to push the ‘restart’ button this September and introduce healthier behaviors including reducing screen time, being more active and eating healthier lunches.


Professor Wiseman added:

“The Smart Restart campaign has a ‘fresh start’ attitude at its heart so I’m confident that the large majority of those signing up to the six week back to school programme will be successful in reaching their goal.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said:

“We know that families can slip into unhealthier habits during the summer holidays, such as spending too much time in front of the TV or computer, or indulging in too many treats.

“The new school year therefore provides families across England with a perfect opportunity to push the ‘restart’ button and establish healthier habits.

“Smart Restart gives people the tools to make a fresh start and healthy change this September. All people have to do is register at Change4Life online or download the free app.”


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