Winter: The Time to Build Productive Habits

Regardless of where you are in the world, you certainly have a strong opinion of how brutal winter can be. Love it or hate it, dealing with winter can be a pain.

From changing your car tires, to wearing winter clothes, to slippery roads, to freezing rains, to lazy, unproductive afternoons, winter is only beautiful in those postcards you see at airports. Perhaps no amount of Edina Menzel singing, the “cold never bothered me anyway,” can change our minds of how awful winters can be — especially Canadian winter.

If talking about winter makes your eyes roll imagining the lists of Netflix series you intend to watch just to pass the time, then maybe you need to change the way you think about this dreaded season. 

Groundhog day

The New Way to Think About Winter

Winter is the best time to build productive habits. That may sound a little implausible, but this is a fact I learned to be very accurate. 

Winter and productivity can be two words we can’t associate together. In fact, if there’s a season we can associate with productivity and good habits, it would be summer. However, during summer, we try to fit an entire year of events, activities, commitments, celebrations, trips, get-togethers in just a few months. We don’t have time to dedicate ourselves to anything new. Thus, we sometimes don’t have any energy left for ourselves to build routines and habits that would impact our lives in a very positive way. 

Winter is quite different. We have more time. We have fewer commitments, fewer corporate events to attend to, and even less time to have a chat with your neighbor outside. As a matter of fact, most of us live a quiet and predictable life when Jack Frost is running around. Talk about Groundhog Day, eh? 

However, if we choose to intentionally spend this time building new habits and routines and keeping track of them, we can bring a new meaning to spending winters. It indeed becomes exciting, and it doesn’t feel like a Groundhog Day anymore.

Winter Rhythms 

In contrast to the unpredictable rhythm of the strong winter winds, you must build your own productive rhythm during winter. This rhythm will serve as a good foundation for the upcoming spring and summer months. You can use the ample time you have to not only build new habits, establish healthy routines, and harness new skills, but to reflect on how you can be more productive in life. 

I like to think of it as a metaphorical productive hibernation, wherein I become a better me when I come out of winter, welcoming spring with new vigor. That may sound cliche, but that’s a truth I’m willing to live by.

Productive Winter

The right foundation for the rest of the year

Building consistent routines during the winter months will be very beneficial. Imagine still doing these routines when spring and summer arrive. They automatically become a habit and they’ll come off as if they are automatically engrained in your system. 

They say that great things start from small beginnings. So as your habits! Start building a small habit that will significantly impact the coming months and years. 

The habits I’m building this winter

As for me, I am building the habit of preparing my meals for the day the night before during the month of January. Others might have this habit already, which is very commendable. But for most people, this is still a struggle — and when we struggle from juggling work and home, it’s always so easy to make excuses. 

I’ve been building this habit for the past two weeks, and God knows how instrumental it is in my well-being. It saves me from unnecessary stress. Now I’m always eating healthy and nutritious foods, which contribute to my great mood throughout the day. Eating healthy — which stems from mindful meal planning and preparation — affects everything. I definitely recommend this. 

Another habit I am building during this winter is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. I know this is easier said than done since it is not an easy habit given the temperature outside. But again, if there’s a will, there’s always a way (like doing those YouTube walking workout videos)! 

Other habits I would like to boost during this winter include drinking at least two liters of water per day, taking my supplements, going to bed on time, getting enough sleep, and waking up early. The latter may be extra hard, but setting up a definite time to wake up early really helps.  

From waking up early at 7:00 AM, I’m now slowly transitioning towards 6:00 AM. The earlier I wake up, the more things I accomplish. For example, I want to focus on my podcast and the Monthly Method before my full-time job begins. This allows me to use my creative juices on the projects that matter the most to me. 

Time to Start

Depending on our individual levels of self-discipline, the difficulty of sticking to a habit during winter can definitely vary from one person to another. But if we just start making sincere changes and build healthy routines, we can create a fantastic foundation for the rest of the year. We need to start looking at winter beyond the harshness it brings. Only then can we say that the cold never bothers us anyway. Only then can we be genuinely productive. 

Choose the habit that, if built right now, will impact the quality and satisfaction of the rest of your year. What daily routines will make the rest of the year more enjoyable, productive, and impactful? Whatever that habit may be, the time to start that habit is NOW!


Read next:
    1. The one-way to-do list
    2. On Motivation
    3. How I used Scrum to lose first 10 pounds

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