Lucas Brenner » Articles » The Seasons of Habits

As I do every year, at the start of 2024 I am once again noticing the impact the seasons have on me and my habits. In winter, I always notice that I am less disciplined about my habits. This is partly due to the common cold season, but also due to the shorter days and the uncomfortable weather. In spring, when everything starts to blossom, the days get longer and it gets warmer, I start to pursue my habits more intensively and generally become more active. This productive period lasts throughout the summer and only ends in late fall, when everything turns towards winter again.

The phase of stagnation in winter has always bothered me. Even now, I feel unmotivated and lazy on some days when I don't go for a run as often as planned, for example. However, the more I think about the seasons and their influence on my habits, the more I realize their natural rhythm. It is completely normal to alternate between periods of activity and rest. Short-term fluctuations such as an afternoon slump or a lazy week are seen as normal. So why does the idea that such fluctuations continue over the longer term seem so implausible?

I try to accept the natural rhythm of my body. If you can do that, you can make use of these seasons. If I know that I am more active and productive in summer, then I can take on more during this time and use my ambition wisely. I can then spend the winter resting, reflecting and planning in preparation for the next active phase.

Recognizing these seasons is the first step to benefiting from them. Perhaps you tend to be tired during summer due to the heat or an allergy, but you thrive during winter. To find this out, you need to focus your attention on the long-term changes in your productivity and mood. You won't recognize these patterns straight away, but only by keeping a diary or regularly measuring things like motivation, fatigue and productivity. The long-term results of this small habit can be huge.

I am convinced that in order to do good work and be productive in a healthy way, you need to know yourself as well as possible. It's not about doing perfect work all year round like a robot, but about using your own rhythm to work as well as possible without sacrificing your own health or joy for the work you are doing. However, this is only possible if you reflect on your own motivation and productivity. Of course, this applies not only to your career, but also to your private life. I experience the fluctuations of the seasons more in my private life, as my habits are optional. In my professional life, I am motivated by external factors, such as university grades or 1:1 reviews.

Knowing how the seasons influence me allows me to recognize and use natural active phases. On the other hand, I can also try to counteract this in winter and stick to my habits better than I would have done otherwise. Last but not least, I can also be more empathetic with myself and forgive myself if I don't stick to my habits in winter as I might have planned. Thanks to my diary routine, I have found that I am more active and productive in summer, while winter is more suitable for me to rest and reflect.