What a year!! 2020 will go down in history as one of the toughest years we have gone through.  At the end of December, we had essentially lived through nine months of unknown, unsettled, and uncertainty related to COVID-19, political agendas’, and civil unrest.  2020 fueled widespread fear on many levels whether it was health, financial, social concerns and/or interaction with friends and families across the nation.

I believe we can agree that the unknown is often considered mysterious, dark, and downright scary.  As H.P. Lovecraft, an American writer said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”  Well, I would say that statement has hit us all sometime during this past year.

So how do we move forward from this much uncertainty?  With the COVID-19 vaccine having come to fruition in record time and many in the US having already been vaccinated, it seems 2021 has started on a positive track.  However, from a personal standpoint, how do we move forward psychologically and emotionally after such a chronically worrisome year?

New Year Resolutions are always a positive step in starting each January with constructive, enthusiastic outlooks, high hopes, and the desire to make our world a better place.  Fundamentally, a mind over matter approach can be extremely effective.  So how do we start in choosing our most important resolutions for the New Year?

First, let us begin by choosing one thing that will become your most important accomplishment in the coming year.  You can choose anything from exercising, developing a self-care routine, daily journal writing, embarking on a new hobby, reading, learning something new each week, or simply spending time with your family.

According to Wikipedia, the psychology behind intentions and goal setting involves the development of an action plan to motivate and guide a person towards a goal; thus, a planning project for positive personal development.  Likewise, Positive Psychology, a science-based international online resource of therapists, psychologists, counselors, coaches, and teachers who mentor on how to best integrate a positive psychological outlook states it is important to create SMART goals when designing your plan of resolutions.  SMART, an acronym based on: Specifics, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.  By using the SMART goal platform, it is important to be:

  • Specific: Target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable: Quantify or suggest specific indicators of progress for measurable goals.
  • Achievable: Specify how you will accomplish each achievement.
  • Realistic: Be realistic when creating the wanted result.  What can be realistically achieved, given your available resources.
  • Time-related: Specify a realistic time frame when your results can be determined.

Without making your goals SMART, your commitment may become vague or just mere resolutions.  The SMART goal setting process will help you think through your goals carefully to attain a structure which can be tracked and implemented.

SMART Goal Examples Could Also Include:

  • Walking 30 Minutes a Day, 5 Days a Week
  • Improve Listening Skills
  • Volunteer Regularly
  • Improve Time Management Skills
  • Wake up Early
  • Learn a Foreign Language
  • Overcome Social Media Addiction
  • Increase Typing Speed to 60 WPM in Three Months
  • Clear All Outstanding Debts within 6 Months
  • Increase Spirituality
  • Reconnect with your FOES

All these goals are doable if you stay focused while continuing to remind yourself why the goal, or goals were chosen and why it was important to set them in the first place.

In the meantime,  the Osceola Council on Aging (OCOA) team is also working on our own commitments and goals for 2021.  Since 2020 changed most aspects of how we do work in the Osceola community, we have been required to reorganize many of our outreach projects.  One being the way the OCOA has traditionally hosted fundraisers.  Thus, our team is working to explore different types of fundraising opportunities which do not include large social gatherings.  Secondly, the layoffs within our local theme parks and tourist attractions has drastically changed our community’s socio-economic opportunities.  With that stated, our goal is to continue to address the rapidly growing needs amongst the Osceola County population.  Workers who are/were employed in tourism and hospitality jobs have increased requirements of nutrition, utility services, and housing support.  The OCOA Grants Department is striving to increase the funding base to meet the needs of our community throughout 2021.

No matter what goal or goals you may have set, for one year, focus your intention, time, and energy on the positive aspect of improving your life. This time next year, you will feel more accomplished and looking positively towards 2022, unlike this past year where we have all been looking to escape 2020 for 2021.

Happy New Year and I hope in 2021, your goals come to fruition and the year brings blessings to each one of you!!

To see more guest columns by Wendy, go to https://osceolagenerations.org/councils-corner/
Published Tuesday, December 29, 2020