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  • Janeen Shaffer, PCC

How do you pace yourself for the end of the year and get ready for 2021?

As we prepare for closing 2020 and move to a new one, I keep hearing from clients that they are tired. They are excited about starting a new year and beginning to think about what a new year could bring to them. Also, they are clear that next year will not be ‘normal’ for a while as challenges with the pandemic remain. They know they will get to the finish line but it may not look pretty. I am hearing that people just want a break before diving into the goals of next year. How can you make the most of the remaining days of 2020 to move into 2021 with a measure of centeredness, energy, and a feeling of some light within? Here are some recommendations.

Create or recommit to a morning ritual: For me, a morning ritual is important in bringing out the better side of myself for the day ahead. A prayer, a meditation, an exercise routine, an uplifting song, a soothing cup of tea, or writing in my journal are tools in my toolbox that I access before facing the day. I believe we are all responsible for our thoughts, words and actions towards ourselves and others. Whether you spend five minutes or 50 minutes on a morning ritual, it helps your mindset and approach for the day and creates positive ripple effects beyond your view. One of my clients has recommitted to her morning rituals of meditation and affirmations. She is noticing a flow to the day that has allowed her to get more things done with a feeling of ease, not get so frustrated when challenges or roadblocks present themselves, and be more present in conversations.

Check your expectations: I have consistently found throughout this year that individuals don’t have the ability to focus as well as they used to, or multi-task as effectively as before. This is the result of the consistent physical, emotional, and mental stress we have been under this year. So, if you can give yourself a break and adjust the “must do” list at work and home before we reach the end of the year, you are adding a bit of needed time and space for yourself. For one client, this looks like creating 2021 priorities for a new team given to her two weeks ago. She has decided not to hold additional team meetings to discuss upcoming priorities after gauging the team’s energy. With this new team, she believes a meeting in January will generate better ideas, engagement, and motivation about the upcoming changes.

Focus on what is important: This year is hard to summarize in one or two words. Regardless of the description, it is a year that has caused many to pause and think about what is important to them. Being successful at your job, having opportunities for growth, and feeling valued and paid fairly are important goals that have not gone away. What has resurrected to the top of the list for many of my clients is good mental and physical health, the ability to support loved ones even if remotely, and spending time decompressing so that the build-up of stress is as manageable as possible. For the remainder of this month, be purposeful about creating space to do something that brings joy, reminds you of what you are grateful for, provides you rest and the opportunity for laughter. It doesn’t have to be something that requires a huge effort. Take a walk or drive at night to look at holiday lights. Read a fun, shameful book. Listen to some great music from your childhood. Watch a new movie that is streaming. Buy flowers. Look at old pictures. Call a friend you haven’t connected with in a while. Or, sit and do nothing. I could go on … the point is to do something that sparks joy and rejuvenation for you.

The reserves of energy that support our resiliency, creativity, patience, and empathy are running low. We have tapped into these reserves deeply and consistently all year. These ideas are reminders of what is available to you to begin refueling as we end a year that has been one for the record books. Let’s position ourselves to be in the best physical and mental health available to us as we begin a new year.

Janeen Shaffer is a PCC certified coach helping individuals and leaders with their internal development and external performance. If the article resonated with you … follow me on LinkedIn, or contact me at,, IG @janeen.shaffer, Pinterest Shaffer Coaching + Consulting.


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