Timing is Everything: 6 Ways To Use it to Your Advantage

Birthdays, anniversaries, the start of a new season, heck, even an ordinary Monday can be an opportunity to kick-start a new habit, all thanks to a concept researchers refer to as the temporal landmark.

Temporal landmarks are usually special dates that signal the start of a new, distinct period of time in our lives. When it comes to creating change, we naturally tend to wait for these special moments as our cue to turn over a new leaf. 

Sun Basket’s Director of Nutrition and habit-hacking expert, Lindsey Kane, explains how to make temporal landmarks work to your advantage.  

1. Build more temporal landmarks into your life

You don’t have to wait around for a once-a-year event to set a new goal. Mondays, the first day of the month, or even an early start to the day can inspire change. These higher-frequency time stamps can anchor you to a consistent repetitive practice that’s bound to spark major results. 

2. Use momentum to tackle goals  

It’s easier to take real action toward meaningful goals during these opportune moments. Take advantage of that and build upon the momentum of a special day. That extra boost of motivational power can increase your odds of success.

3. Look back, then look ahead 

Occasions like birthdays and the start of a new year can trigger self-reflection, which can drive awareness—always the first step to behavior change. You need to acknowledge where you are before you can move forward. Milestones prompt us to take a step back from our day-to-day routine, reflect on the past, and consider the big picture. This is how long-term goals are born.

4. Take advantage of the “Fresh Start Effect”   

Temporal landmarks allow us to disassociate our past from the future, which can help change how we see ourselves. In these moments of clarity, it’s easier to ditch what’s holding us back and step into the future with a brighter, more empowered sense of self. Have you ever felt an enormous rush of motivation when starting something new? That’s the Fresh Start Effect doing its thing.

5. Assess your progress 

Temporal landmarks serve as time stamps that help us mark the end of an old chapter and the beginning of the next. Use these natural transitions as mental accounting periods to help measure progress—a key aspect for successful behavior change.

6. Don’t wait for a special occasion

Once you understand the power of these markers, you can use these tactics to your advantage without waiting for a special occasion. Whenever you need to renew motivation, take a step back and apply the same five points outlined above at any point in time to help you achieve your goals.