Exercise for year-end and the new year – The Purposeful Pause

Looking to end this year well and start the next year strong?

Here’s a simple exercise for you or your team to productively reflect and purposefully refocus:


Purposefully pause

The first step – and maybe most difficult for many of us – is to pause. As the title of Liz Bywater’s book encourages us: ‘Slow down to speed up.’ Choosing to pause can be a key means to living better, working smarter, and getting to where we want to go faster. Pausing purposefully helps us learn from where we’ve been. Pausing allows us to become more aware and joyful about where we are. And it helps us be strategic, practical and hopeful about where we’re going.

Effective leaders choose to pause. And making a resolution to pause helps us be more effective, fulfilled and impactful.

So, carve out 20-30 minutes – right now or in the next few weeks – to consider the following questions as a way to end this year and begin next year well.

Rewind – this year

  • What’s been the biggest win this year for you – personally and professionally?
  • The biggest disappointment?
  • What’s your biggest lesson learned?
  • For what are you most grateful?

Fast Forward – next year

  • What is your most important focus or goal for next year? Can you boil it down to a word or phrase?
  • How will you need to grow to accomplish or make progress with this goal?
  • What obstacles will you face with this goal and how will you overcome them?
  • What is your next step?


If you just now took the time to work through these questions, congrats!  If not now, then when?  Is your ‘play’ button worn out or stuck?  Try pressing pauserewind, and fast forward before you hit ‘play’ again.

Happy year-end, happy holidays, and best wishes in the new year!


Joe Baker is a Partner with PeopleResults. As a leadership consultant and executive coach, he helps leaders and teams stay energized while achieving extraordinary relationships and results that matter. You can reach him at jbaker@people-results.com or on Twitter @JoeBakerJr.