Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Business Administration

First Advisor

Melissa Cinelli

Second Advisor

Barry Babin

Third Advisor

John Bentley

Relational Format



The study of motivation and goal pursuit has long been of interest to various academic disciplines. Recent efforts have considered how time affects motivation and aspirational behavior. The Fresh Start Effect describes the phenomenon whereby people naturally feel more motivated to pursue goals following temporal landmarks (e.g., on Mondays). This dissertation examines a potential boundary condition of the Fresh Start Effect: the person who chooses the goal start date. The findings from six studies reveal that when goal start dates are self-chosen, motivation to pursue goals is influenced by temporal landmarks (i.e., motivation is greater on Monday). When goal start dates are chosen by external agents, motivation to achieve goals is not affected by temporal landmarks. These findings suggest that the Fresh Start Effect only holds when goal start dates are self-chosen.



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