Resources for your resolutions

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chances are you are among the hundreds of millions of people who made at least one New Year’s resolution this year. Maybe you promised yourself you would lose weight, stop smoking or spend more time volunteering during 2016.

While making a vow to accomplish a personal goal seems simple enough, for many of us, following through with real and lasting change can be a bit trickier. Perform a quick Internet search on the success rate for New Year’s resolutions and you’ll find that those who study change report that less than ten percent of us are successful at keeping our resolutions over the long-term.

Far too often, our initial excitement and good intentions during the weeks leading up to the first of the year can quickly morph into thoughts such as, “Wow, this is hard!,” “I’ve failed,” and even, “I’m a failure,” by mid-January. The result can be that we become more stressed and discouraged than ever before.

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If you made a New Year’s resolution for 2016 and you’re feeling a bit off-track, rest easy. While change can be difficult, it is possible for all of us, and it can happen at any time of the year.  Making significant and lasting change, however, almost always requires serious support. Luckily, our small community is rich with resources that can help us improve our lives. Many of these resources are even available free of charge!

Listed below are some of the more popular New Year’s resolutions, as well as programs and services in our community that are available to help you accomplish your goals. If you don’t see the information you need on this list, please consider calling 2-1-1. This free and confidential service will connect you with a highly trained specialist who can provide a wealth of information about support services in our community.

Adopt a Healthy and Active Life-Style: St. Luke’s Hospital employs a registered dietitian who offers one-on-one consultations, with a physician’s referral (828-894-0972).  If you’re a patient of Polk Health Center (formerly Polk Wellness Center), you can also consult with a dietitian (828-894-2222). If you’ve resolved to exercise more during 2016, consider calling the Polk County Recreation Department before spending money on a gym membership (828-894-8199).

Quit Smoking: St. Luke’s Hospital offers Freedom From Smoking, an eight-week program endorsed by the American Lung Association (828-894-0972). Also, Blue Ridge Community Health Services has several licensed clinical addiction specialists that can work with you individually and help you break the habit during 2016 (828-894-2222).

Volunteer More: Volunteers are essential to the mission of any nonprofit organization, and there are numerous nonprofits that serve our community. If you’re interested in helping those in need, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry always needs volunteers (828-894-2988). St. Luke’s Hospital provides a wealth of volunteer opportunities as well (828-894-0895). You’ll also find information on volunteering on the websites of Hospice of the Carolina Foothills (, Tryon Arts and Crafts School ( and Steps to Hope (

Stress Less: Local therapist Laura Ellington, LCSW, LISW-CP, facilitates a support group that helps people develop the skills to lead more peaceful lives (828-894-2222). Individual counseling can also be a great tool to help reduce personal stress (828-894-2222).

Stop Drinking or Abusing Drugs: Blue Ridge Community Health Services has several licensed clinical addiction specialists who are available to help (828-894-2222). Senior Life Solutions offers intensive outpatient group therapy for individuals ages 65+ who have Medicare (828-894-9894).

Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly (PF3) is a group of 80+ community members, leaders and health professionals, all working together to plan and implement effective strategies to promote wellness in our community. We welcome any individual who is interested in joining us to make our community a healthier place for all. For more information and a list of our 2016 meeting dates, please visit our website at

Wendy Thomas is the resource development manager for Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry and the newest member of Polk, Fresh and Friendly’s board of directors. She has a strong interest in personal change and attempts to keep far too many of her own resolutions each New Year.

– Submitted by Linda Greensfelder, written by Wendy Thomas