Welcome to the ABC’S Year End Pause (aka YEP ABC’S) or Year End Pause – Accomplishments, Being, Commitment, and Support!

Most of us don’t give ourselves the gift to create the space (or time) to reflect on the past year or what we want out of the year ahead. Give yourself permission to pause using this self-guided exercise.

ProTip: Get and print the FREE accompanying guidebook to track all your notes and insights.

Set Up (10 minutes)

Set aside about an hour for the activity, including time to set up your pause space, write and experience the tracking back pause. You can also gather a tribe of close friends to convene for an evening of connection and reflection and treat it as a time to connect with yourself and others that are important in your life. If you can’t meet I person, do it over video using Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom.

ProTip: Ritualize your Year End Pause – make a commitment to revisit this practice once a year, or even seasonally.

  • Find a comfortable space with your journal, notepad, or sketch book and something to write with.
  • Set up your space to inhibit your pause. This may include setting up a mini tribute for your year – complete with a candle, one or two objects of significance, and/or a photo that inspires you. Put on a playlist that inspires you, and wear your favorite attire. Pour yourself a favorite cup of tea or cozy up in your favorite blanket and get comfortable.

Step I – Tracking Back Pause (15 minutes)

  • Start with closing your eyes, and take ten deep breaths. Count each breath and allow yourself to settle into your space.
  • What feelings come up? Name a few and invite all that you are experiencing to be with you in this experience.
  • Continue to breathe and settle in as you imagine your feet being pulled into the Earth below – and sink in along with it. Feel connected to the ground, what’s underneath any building you are in, and continue to sink deeper – glide past the dirt and stone until you reach the earth’s iron core. You are rooted there as you notice your physical space and presence, sinking deeper and being one with the Earth. Allow what you are hearing, feeling, and being to be with you.
  • Observe time slowing down. Become more present.
  • Continue to breathe. State today’s date out loud and read your purpose on the previous page. What was a high and low light? What are you most proud of? Where are you? What major event occurred and how did you feel? Reflect on this month and summarize your key takeaways using the next page.
  • Take a deep breath and go through each month until January of this year. Spend 1-2 minutes reflecting per month as you continue to track back and capture your notes as they bubble up. Pause and see what shows up strongest (emotions, milestones, meetings) and capture those on paper.
  • Journal and reflect back on what came up for you  your writing materials and reflect back on what came up for you through this current year.

Step II: End of Year Reflection Pause (10 Minutes)

  • What are you most grateful for this year?
  • What lessons were the most important for you?
  • What are you bringing closure to in this year? What or who are you saying good bye to?
  • What are you celebrating and most proud of this year?
  • What do you want more of next year?

Take a deep breath and stretch! Move your body and allow yourself to say goodbye to this year. You can even say it out loud.

Step III. ABC’S for Next Year: Use the ABC’S (20 minutes, 5 minutes or 5 minutes each letter)

Think about the coming year ahead. Invite the year ahead to join you as you tap in to your inner wisdom, creative power and expand into thinking about what’s possible for the future year in front of you. Write down “ABC’S for the Year Ahead” or use the template here to write down your thoughts. Allow yourself to keep flowing, and avoid editing your thoughts and what you write as much as possible.

A: Accomplishments (the DOING)

ProTip: Think big! Remember, try to not edit your thoughts – all is ok to write down. 

  • What are you excited to do and accomplish in the year ahead? 
  • What are your top three priorities in what you want to do?
  • What can you do to get there? Name the next action step for each priority.

B Being (the BEING)

  • How do you want to BE as you focus on your “doing”? Write down in present tense how you want to feel, and describe it. Allow yourself to flow and write down anything that comes to mind. This can include how you feel, your state of mind, your attitude, time you spend NOT accomplishing (refreshing and renewing, self-care acts).
  • What types of pauses will you create in service to your doing? How will you incorporate them?

C: Challenge & Creation

  • What are your top 1-2 challenges in the year ahead and what is your plan to counter them?
  • What are you creating as a vision for yourself? This can be a single sentence, first person present tense that can serve as your guidepost in any moment. (Example: I am a strong empowered woman, I create my own rules, I know I matter, I am an authentic leader of my life, etc.).

ProTip: Keep your vision KISS (keep it so simple) and something you can check in on as a guidepost at any time. Modify and tweak it as your year goes along.

S: Support

  • How do you want to be supported in the year ahead?
  • What support can you create for yourself? (e.g. I will reach out once a week to Sarah and share what I need support on and ask her how I can support her).

IV. Celebrate & Complete (5 minutes)

You did it, congrats! Give yourself a high five or hug someone with you!

Celebrate and review your ABC’S as you step into claiming your year ahead. Your gift of presence is a big gift to yourself. You are taking 100% responsibility for your life, tuning into how you feel about it, and moving ahead.

This ABC’S Year End Pause is a great way to complete your current year in a satisfying, meaningful way. Use this as your road map to check in and see if you’re on track for what you set out to do. Don’t forget to check in and align with what you are intending to get out of the year ahead – both in doing and being. Remember, we need both to live our best lives.

ProTip: Put your ABC’S in a place you can see them – print them out, or calendar yourself once a season to pause to reflect on what you wrote. 

ProTip: If you haven’t already, get your FREE accompanying guidebook  to write down your year end pause. (You’ll also be invited to our global virtual pause reflection Thursday, Dec 20th once you have it!)


  • Rachael O'Meara

    Author & Speaker of bestselling book Pause. Googler. Coach.

    Rachael O’Meara is a transformation and executive coach who empowers professionals to learn and build the emotional intelligence skills to thrive at work and beyond. For the past twelve years, Rachael's experience in sales and client services at Google has helped her have a pulse on what it takes to be a successful and thriving transformational leader. Her book Pause was named one of 2017's top business books for your career and was featured in the New York Times, WSJ.com and on the TEDx stage in 2019. She is certified in Transformational Coaching from the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential and currently completing her MA in Transformational Leadership & Coaching. Rachael also has an MBA from Fordham University. Rachael lives in San Francisco with her husband and pauses as much as possible to ski, road bike, and BE (a lifelong challenge!).