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Get fit, be financially savvy and improve yourself in 2016
Several places in Hall County can help you reach New Year's resolutions
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The J.A. Walters YMCA can help residents get fit for 2016.

Making a list of all the ways you’re going to be a better person is the easy part. Improving yourself all year long takes discipline, motivation and know-how.

Fortunately, those of us who live in Gainesville and Hall County are at an advantage because several organizations, businesses and people can help us reach those goals long after Jan. 1.

This is a list of the four most common New Year’s resolutions and the local places that will help keep them.

GET FIT AND HEALTHY

According to Nielsen, a consumer measuring company, improved health and fitness are consistently one of the top New Year’s Resolutions each year. If you’d like to get active and eat better this year, you’re in luck.

After picking up some new running gear at Academy Sports and Outdoors, grabbing a smoothie at Natural Juice Café and jogging around the trails at Elachee Nature Science Center, you’ll be on your way to healthier 2016.

* Shop: Academy Sports, Outdoors, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Green’s Grocery

* Dine: Natural Juice Café, Sweet Magnolia and 2 Dog restaurant

* Play: Any of our state, city or county parks; Elachee Nature Science Center; Pink Barre; Flip Your Dog Yoga; J.A. Walters YMCA; and Frances Meadows Aquatic Center

Advice from a local expert: “Allow yourself to be a beginner and strive for progress, not perfection:  you can do this,” said Amy Hoffman, studio owner of Pink Barre Lake Lanier.

BE MORE FINANCIALLY SAVVY

People often say they want to get their finances in order at the start of the New Year.

If you’re in money-saving mode, you’re living in the right place because you can take advantage of several cheap and free places to visit.

The library has everything from books to movies (all for free, just don’t be late, that’ll cost you.)

If you’re looking for discounted but still trendy clothes, check out Plato’s Closet on Dawsonville Highway.

Want to dine out without spending a ton of money? Several affordable options are in Gainesville.

Sure, saving money will take discipline. But you can still splurge without breaking the bank.

* Shop: Gateway Thrift Stores, Atlanta Mission, Salvation Army, Habitat Restore, Goodwill of North Georgia, Plato’s Closet and Switch It Up.

* Dine: Collegiate Grill, Big Bear Café, Eat at Thai, Longstreet Café and Little Italy

* Play: Hall County Library System, city and county parks and area festivals

Advice from a local expert: “This is a great time to review your plan for unexpected events,” said Scott Moore, president and founder of Moore’s Wealth Management. “Risk is a fact of life, whether it is an illness, a disability, or even loss of life. Protect yourself with long-term care planning and asset based planning.”

SELF-IMPROVEMENT

We should all strive to make ourselves better than we were. If you’re thinking about picking up a new hobby or learning a new skill, you’re in the right spot. Gainesville has several cultural resources, classes and opportunities available.

If you’d like to give back in the coming year, there’s no better place to be. According to the IRS, 241 charities that take tax-deductible contributions are based in Gainesville. Whether you want to donate your time or money, plenty of worthy causes need your help. 

* Shop: Next Chapter bookstore, Rahab’s Rope, The Window Shops at Northeast Georgia Medical Center

* Dine: Roosters Perch, Good News at Noon (volunteer here), Lanier Charter Career Academy and WomenSource Power Lunch Program

* Play: Elachee Nature Science Center, Northeast Georgia History Center, Quinlan Visual Arts Center, The Arts Council, University of North Georgia and Brenau University

Advice from a local expert: “Self-improvement is not only about an individual’s fiscal or physical well-being, but it’s also about the broader community in which we live. Become more educated about the issues and challenges that affect Hall County not only in 2016 but have implications for the future. Everyone has a role to play in making this community the best it can be for the next generation,” said Jackie Wallace, president of United Way Hall County.

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