As the year comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on the previous year and make plans for what’s next. But in the middle of all the “new year, new you” energy, it’s easy to rush into what’s next and hit the ground running without even a moment of rest.

Now, let’s be clear — we’re all well aware of the value of goal setting. Goals provide clarity to our vision. They bring to life the desires of our hearts and enable us to create a step-by-step action plan to make it happen. When faced with obstacles, our goals remind us of what we’re going after and why we’re going to keep trying. Goal-setting even restructures our brain to keep us focused on behaviors that will get us closer to achievement! 

But before getting into the nitty-gritty of goal-setting, take a moment to pause. This holiday season, resist the desire to run headfirst into goal planning and seize moments of rest. You just might uncover greater clarity on the other side of an intentional pause — and once you press play, you’ll be better positioned than ever to achieve those goals.

Why a little rest goes a long way: The joy of pressing pause

Despite the new year right around the corner, stop and enjoy yourself. You’re going to be okay if you substitute that professional development podcast for a Hallmark Christmas movie — we promise. Yes, we mean it. Skip the gym to take the kiddos for a car ride to look at lights. If we’re too focused on the year that’s coming, we risk missing the joy of the present. 

Giving yourself a break can be the best thing you do to prepare yourself for the new year. If you take a moment to press pause on all the hustling you do, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to hit the ground running in the year ahead. Creating space in your life paves the way for you to set your best goals yet.

Are you ready for a break? Many of us thrive when we’re busy and get stuck when it’s time to rest. Put those feet up and take a look at a few ideas on how to press pause this holiday season.

Get lost in a just-for-fun book 

What’s going to help you to truly decompress with everything going on this season? For many of us, it’s getting lost in a good book. And no, we’re not talking about a self-improvement book or a business book! You know that guilty pleasure book you’ve had on your wish list for months? Now’s a great time to really sink your teeth into it. You might find that you can’t put it down and you’ll finally slow down and relax. 

Your challenge: find a fun book that will allow you to rest and escape. Even though you may feel the urge to spend your time on more “productive” reading like that popular entrepreneurship book on your nightstand, choose to press pause and do something that will give you peace. 

Get outside 

Weather permitting, a little fresh air goes a long way! Bring along your headphones for a walk or a jog if you want, and try a new podcast just for fun — or simply enjoy the peace and quiet. You might try to notice what’s around you and try incorporating mindfulness

Put yourself in the right headspace to set your goals weeks before you actually do it and you may find yourself dreaming bigger or smarter than ever before.

Reflect on the past — and celebrate the positive

While you’re taking a moment to rest, take a step back and look at the year you’re wrapping up. What brought you joy? What relationships were most enriching? What was most rewarding? What was most surprising? What are you most grateful for? What’s worth celebrating?

Give yourself space and permission to celebrate and feel happiness. And if that inner critic does pop up? Stay laser-focused on the good. There’s plenty of time for self-improvement and identifying areas you’d like to change or improve. But for now, spend a moment reflecting on joy.

Connect with others 

In this season before the new year, connect with people who will empower you and work with you to help you achieve your goals. Reach out to an old connection for coffee, or invite a friend to join you for happy hour while taking in the lights. Surrounding yourself with people you love is a great way to recharge.

The simple truth is, we are stronger together than we are alone. When we connect with other people and their gifts, the power of togetherness drives positive results. If we can leverage each other’s strengths, we can do things we never could alone. Community and friendships are so crucial. This is part of the wonder of being part of Central Exchange. Here you find a community of women who are driven to help you succeed. In this collective of empowerment, you’ll find the opportunity to give help and get help as we all work toward our goals.

This holiday season, take the time to pause! You’ll find that a little rest goes a long way in gaining clarity. You’ll set the stage for more strategic goals when it’s time to set them, and uncover the joy you deserve.