The Fresh Start Effect

Ritch Primrose

Heath and Wellness Week 2019 is in the books, and what a hive of activity it was! Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 were given opportunities to participate in a dynamic array of activities, ranging from Loving Kindness Meditations, to healthy vegetable snacks provided by Sodexo, to having the chance to de-stress with pet therapy dogs from the Pacific Animal Therapy Society. Our keynote speaker was ex-Olympian Jason Dorland, and his message of self love was inspiring and well received by students at all levels. Self care is one of our Health and Wellness Cornerstones, and many of the activities were chosen to expose students to different ways of building healthy habits and patterns into their lives.

So why devote a week to wellness right after Spring Break? It turns out the timing of our actions is every bit as important as the what and the why. When looking at setting goals related to personal improvement, such as building more healthy habits into our daily routines, we can use a strategy known as “The Fresh Start Effect” to make them more likely to stick. In his recent book: When, Daniel Pink takes a deep dive into the importance of timing, and identifies important times or dates – which he calls temporal landmarks – that can be used as starting points for making positive changes. Returning from a break, the start of a new season, or even the beginning of a new week or month are all good times to set lifestyle goals, and we’re more likely to achieve them than using a random day.

As Heath and Wellness Week draws to a close, we encourage students to look for small, manageable goals they can set for themselves, and a great place to start is with their routines. Sleep, exercise, nutrition and mindfulness are all popular areas of our lives to seek to improve. While we’re at it, we should also consider when we intend to make these changes. The beginning of a term, a new month, a fresh week, or even after a long weekend are all great places to start. What will your goal be, and when will you pursue it?

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Ritch Primrose
Ritch Primrose is the Director of Health and Wellness at St. Michaels University School, and the Interim Director of Student Life at the SMUS Senior School.

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