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You may want to pay attention to the month, day, and year that you advertise, promote, or recommend certain services or products. There are certain times in the calendar year, as well as certain years in life, when people are more disposed to making decisions and life changes. If you time your messages, events, and promotions, it’s likely that they’ll resonate more and that people will be more likely to make a change or purchase based on them.

Hengchen Dai, Katherine Milkman, and Jason Riis (2014) conducted a series of studies showing that people make commitments to personal improvement and change (dieting, gym memberships, eating healthier) on the first day or week of the new year, and on the first weekday after a federal holiday. (This research was conducted in the United States.) They call this the Fresh Start effect. Their theory is that these events give people a break from their usual routine and help them see a bigger picture of their lives, prompting a fresh start mindset.

In addition, Adam Alter and Hal Hershfield (2014) have a theory that big life decisions occur during milestone years, typically those ending in 9, such as 29, 39, 49, and 59.

Hershfield’s theory is that it is at these times that people ask themselves reflecting questions, like “What am I doing with my life?” and that causes them to take action on big life decisions.

Alter and Hershfield analyzed data from an extramarital affairs dating site (, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on suicide, and a racing site (

Of the 8 million men at the affair website looking for a date, more than 950,000 of the men were 29, 39, 49, or 59. That is 18 percent more than expected by chance. (Women showed the same trend, but it wasn’t as strong as men.)

Of 500 marathon runners at the site (aged 25 to 64), 74 percent were in a year ending in 9.

And the suicide data from the CDC from 2000 to 2011 show that the suicide rate for both men and women between the ages of 25 and 64, who were in a 9 year was statistically significantly higher than other years.


  • If you are launching and offering, schedule the launch to coincide with the first week of the New Year, or the first weekday after a national holiday.
  • Capture customer birthdates and then time your products and promotions to the people whose ages end with a 9.


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