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    New Year, New Me: Five Ideas For Realistic New Years Resolutions

    Everyone knows New Year’s resolutions can be hard to keep. With goals like losing weight and staying active, people may start the year off on the right foot but start to renege on their commitment as the year goes on. Creating realistic New Year’s resolutions can prevent feelings of failure or discouragement and instead keep you motivated throughout the year.

    Making New Year’s Resolutions That Matter

    As people begin to form their New Year’s Resolutions, it’s important to consider why you’re  creating these goals for yourself in the first place. Questioning your overall intentions can help clarify the next steps of achieving your goal.

    When creating New Year’s Resolutions, here are a few things to consider:

    1. Make your goals attainable. A lot of the time, New Year’s resolutions  can be overarching and not something reasonably attained in a short period of time. Creating smaller goals that lead to your huge overarching goal makes achieving your goal 10 times easier.
    2. Notice what you’re already doing well. All too often, New Year’s resolutions can become focused on changing negative aspects of an individual. It’s important to take the time to consider what is already going well in your life and what you wish to continue doing. Viewing yourself through a strength-based lens can help motivate you to build upon the many positive aspects of your life.
    3. Congratulate yourself along the way with each baby step. For example, if your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, congratulating yourself every time you go to the gym can be helpful for your motivation. It may not seem like very much, but these baby steps are very important to reach your goal. Change will not happen overnight.
    4. Set a daily intention. Parents can set a daily intention each morning that feels manageable and motivating. An example of that could be, “My intention today is to be patient and not rush through my work, so during lunch I will take a walk around the block and breathe in the fresh air.”
    5. Positive Affirmations. Throughout therapeutic programming at Trails, students are encouraged to share Positive Affirmations, or PAs, about themselves and their group members. New Year’s Resolutions often revolve around becoming more motivated and positive about our lives. We want to feel like we’re doing well. In the home environment, families can incorporate PAs into daily routines, such as at family dinner time. Each member of the family can go around and say a positive affirmation about themselves and others in the family. This spreads positivity amongst the family and helps strengthen family bonds.


    The New Year presents us with a natural reset to consider how we wish to shape our lives. Take advantage of this time, and build upon what makes you special and important. Each day is an opportunity to live the life we desire. What is your intention for today, and how will you fulfill it?

    Trails Carolina can help

    If your child is continuing to struggle with behavioral or emotional challenges in the new year, Trails Carolina can help. For more information about our wilderness therapy program, please call 800-975-7303.


    Graham Shannonhouse

    A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graham Shannonhouse has been actively involved in the wilderness therapy field for nearly three decades. After receiving her degree in 1991, Shannonhouse spent 10 years working with a premiere wilderness-based therapeutic program in south-central Idaho. During her tenure, she served three years as a hands-on Field Instructor, three years as Field Supervisor, and the remaining time as Wilderness Program Director. During this period she developed, managed, and served as counselor for the country’s first wilderness program specifically focused on pre- teens ages 10 to 13 Graham returned to the east in 2002 to serve as Executive Director for a therapeutic wilderness program based in North Carolina, successfully growing it to one of the most respected companies in the industry. In 2008, she resigned her position to open Trails Carolina. Having an intimate working knowledge of the roots of wilderness therapy, Graham has brought her experience and wisdom to her position as Partner and Executive Director with the goal of integrating the true family work that must be done to insure lasting success.

    All stories by: Graham Shannonhouse