Have you considered implementing Microsteps into your daily life?

If you aren’t familiar with Microsteps, or you’d like to see how I’m using Microsteps to embrace the winter season, go here.

Arianna Huffington shares that: “Microsteps are about making changes that are too small to fail. It’s about meeting you where you are.”

When we appoint ourselves in charge of our well-being, we set ourselves up to thrive. Other people don’t empower our lives – that’s an inside job.

As someone who leads a full life, I’m always curious to know simple ways I can empower myself to stay grounded. Over the winter season, I’m implementing small, incremental steps that meet me where I’m at. These steps are supporting me to reduce the urge to wish winter away, and instead embrace the slower-paced moments.

Winter offers us the natural landscape and tempo to savor the pause. With practice, we can give ourselves regular permission to linger in the in-between moments. When we embrace what is, it becomes much easier to let go of the endless quest to busy ourselves.

“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness.”
― Mary Oliver

A weekly planning ritual creates a sense of organization that helps us feel productive and passionate. Having a regular practice of mapping out our time, also gives us greater awareness of the many moments we do have in a day.

When you are clear about the big picture of your life, it’s a lot easier to say yes to what is important and no to what isn’t. Instead of distracting yourself to merely get through winter, the idea is to slow down and savor your moments. Then when winter comes to a close, you’ll feel rested, nourished and connected to what you value the most in life.

Giving myself the regular gift of organization has helped me feel grounded and focused. My hope, is to emerge from winter with a deep sense of gratitude, because I danced with time in a slower and more intentional way.

Here is My Winter Microstep:

Create a Sense of Organization by Implementing a Weekly Planning Ritual.

Pick a day to map out your upcoming week. Choose a day you’ll be able to stick to, no matter what you have going on around you.  Include your responsibilities, work hours, exercise time, time with loved ones, time to yourself, appointments etc. Create a framework, so you know what you realistically have time for and how you can shape your week to feel your best.

Sunday is my ideal day for taking part in my weekly planning ritual. I’ve been implementing a Sunday planning ritual through the different seasons for a couple of years. I decided to incorporate this ritual into my winter Microsteps because it’s something I already enjoy doing. The twist I’m putting on my weekly ritual, is to be mindful to not overload my schedule. Instead of adding new projects when I notice gaps in my schedule, I’m allowing myself more time to bring my projects to life. My main goal is to create a sense of organization, while also feeling more grounded and grateful for the winter season.

“Microsteps are the building blocks of habits. Over time they accrue, and become new habits which in turn become healthier and more thriving lives.”­ – Arianna Huffington

I use Kate Northrup’s Origin™ daily renewable planner from her Origin Collective membership. I resonate with Kate’s do less philosophy and view that time is renewable and cyclical. It’s a refreshing take on the typical linear-style time management system.

I like having a paper planner, but that’s certainly a personal choice. The Origin™ daily renewable planner takes into account my energy levels and cycle. It also gives me a space to set my weekly intention. There is ample room to map out my entire week and prioritize my goals. Then each day, I organize my time on a circle diagram that represents the 24-hour clock. I am quite visual, so this representation of my day works well for me. I love that I have a space to schedule in my sleep time. It’s helped me see the importance of sleep in my 24-hour cycle and use of time.

Key Takeaways:

It hasn’t been challenging for me to follow through with my planning ritual every Sunday. This might be because it’s something I’ve been doing for a while, or because I find it comforting to have an idea of what’s in store for the week ahead.  

Both of my sons play hockey through the winter, so I’m often at the arena on the weekends. Instead of missing my Sunday planning ritual, I’ve made it a habit to enjoy mapping it out wherever I’m at. In this picture, I’m enjoying one of my favorite views as I plan the week ahead.

I’ve brought my planner along on our winter vacations. It has been surprisingly comforting to have this framework handy. I attribute the comfort to granting myself permission for ample space and time in my day and week.

Having the intention to not overload my schedule is new. During my planning ritual, I’ve caught myself starting to feel overwhelmed by all the things I’ve scheduled in some weeks.

Thankfully, I recognized this feeling of angst as a separation from my truest desire. Instead of leaving the week as it was, and hoping for the best, I managed to shift things around, so they felt doable and spacious again. I’ve delegated and moved certain tasks to the week after. I’ve even let some things go that aren’t truly important.

Instead of having unbalanced weeks, I’ve ended up having an even spread of projects and tasks. This has been helpful, because having more balanced days and weeks, makes it easier for me to enjoy the process of whatever it is I’m doing in the moment. I find myself enjoying my work, routines and winter moments in a new way.

Moving forward, I will continue to keep my week’s to-do’s as lean and balanced as possible through the winter season. This will be essential in training myself to slow down and appreciate the moment.

I’m going to see what it feels like to trust I’m doing enough. My goal is to embrace the gift of this slower-paced season. I’m reminding myself that shorter days bring greater opportunities for down time and rest – winter is an ideal time to recharge.

Overall, my weekly planning ritual has been a consistent way to check in and savor winter. I definitely recommend giving it a try.


  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse; WellthyLiving.ca; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: emilymadill.com