Finance

Temporal landmarks: Why science says 1 July is a special date

Bri Williams /

The 1st of July isn’t simply the first day of the new financial year in Australia, it’s a day that makes us more motivated to undertake new things.

Temporal landmarks are markers in time that increase our likelihood of seeking to make changes. They include Mondays, the first day of a new month, quarter, financial year or calendar year, birthdays and holidays. 

Researchers Dai, Milkman and Riis (2014 PDF), for example, found Google searches for “diet” were most common at the start of a week (up 14%), month (+3%) and year (+82%), and following national holidays (+10%). Popular words like gardening, laundry and weather did not show this same pattern.

Similar research in the journal AMA Internal Medicine found a spike in searches about how to quit smoking on Mondays (+25%), and has helped inspire a range of health-related “Monday campaigns”, like Meatless Monday, Man Up Monday and Move it Monday.

Further, Dai, Milkman and Riis found US college students were more likely to attend gym more at the start of a new week (+33%), month (+14%), and year (+11%), and around their birthday (7%) too, except if they happened to be turning 21!

Lastly, people were more likely to seek out commitment contracts to increase their odds of sticking to a goal. The researchers reviewed data from over 42,000 people who used the goal tracking site stickk.com and discovered people were significantly more likely to commit at a ‘fresh start’ juncture.

Tips for you

In 2019 the new financial year starts today, on a Monday, so we’re getting a double whammy! Use this psychological fresh start on 1 July to:

  • Increase your prices – customers will be more likely to accept a price rise in line with a financial year change;
  • Promote ‘fresh start’ products and services – capitalise on your customer’s desire for a new beginning and maximise your advertising spend;
  • Renegotiate contract terms – sever or adjust unsatisfactory supplier arrangements so you improve performance in 2019-20;
  • Encourage new thinking and actions – put the past behind you and your team and focus on the year ahead;
  • Hunt for a new job – if you’ve been putting it off, make this your time to find a better role; and
  • Overhaul your lifestyle – put in place a plan to tackle one area that is problematic – eating, drinking or exercise, for example. 

 Bri Williams deletes all buying hesitation and maximises every dollar of your marketing spend by applying behavioural economics to the patterns of buying behaviour. More at www.briwilliams.com.au.

NOW READ: When to apply behavioural economics solutions to your business

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Bri Williams

Bri Williams is an authority on behavioural economics applied to everyday business and personal effectiveness.

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