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7 Ways to Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever

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    Take a Vacation By Yourself

    If you've ever dreamed of Eat, Pray, Love–ing it, now's the time. Half of women reported that now they're more likely to vacation alone than they were five years ago, according to a survey by And more than 60 percent said they felt more refreshed by going their own way as opposed to traveling with others. "In our busy, stressful lives, the greatest luxury is having downtime alone," Lombardo says. "Solo trips help you identify what's important to you and what brings you joy." Experiencing new cities also opens up your world and sparks creativity.

    Get started: You don't have to go to Phuket for two weeks to score the benefits of solo travel. (But you can!) Book a weekend or even one night away. One of the easiest strategies is to tack a personal night or two onto a business trip, says Marybeth Bond, the author of the blog The Gutsy Traveler. Explore museums, go for a bike ride, drink a glass of wine in a bubble bath. Cheers to you!

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    Knock Out a Pull-Up

    Google women and pull-up and you'll stumble upon the crazy rumor that women aren't built to do this difficult upper-body move. It springs from 12-year-old research that found that few females could rip one out even after training. Allyson Goble, a trainer for BodyTribe Fitness in Sacramento, California, disagrees: She can perform six and has schooled many others in the art.

    Get started: Goble suggests incorporating three sets of six to 10 reps of the following moves into your regular workout routine one to three days a week: Begin with the lat pull-down machine to help develop key muscles and form and to get used to the motion. Then do chest and overhead dumbbell presses and rows to work your arms and shoulders. Next, hang from a pull-up bar, knuckles facing your body, and do knee raises (tighten your abs and pull your knees up to your chest) to improve grip strength. Move on to the assisted pull-up machine. Finally, go back to the pull-up bar and pull yourself up as far as you can, even if it's only an inch. Eventually, you'll be able to pull yourself higher and higher until your chin reaches the bar. It may take six months to a year and a half, though, so be patient.

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    Sign Up For A Race

    Whether you're a running virgin contemplating a 5K or a veteran making a comeback: Do. It. "You'll feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when you cross the finish line, and that's powerful," Lombardo says. You'll strengthen your ticker, too. Even runners who hoofed it for 50 minutes or less a week had 41 percent lower odds of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with nonrunners, a study found.

    Get started: Pick a fun race like one by The Color Run or Nocturnal Lands, a nighttime running music festival—either is a great way to enjoy yourself without the pressure to perform. To build endurance, Karen Meadows, a running coach in Panama City, Florida, advises you to start with a run-to-walk ratio of one to one for 15 to 20 minutes three times a week. Once that feels easy (usually after a few weeks), bump it up to a two-to-one ratio. Then get specific race plans here.

    Related: What You Need to Know About Your First Race

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    Set a Quitting Time—And Stick To It

    You're still at work, and it's almost 7:00 p.m. Get your butt outta there! Work of high quality is more valuable than face time in the office, says career expert Alexandra Levit, the author of Blind Spots. Leaving the office on your own terms makes you feel in control and sends the message that you have a life outside work, she says. It's good for your mind and body, too. Long hours make you more likely to suffer depression, research shows. And one study found that working three to four hours of overtime a day increases your risk of heart disease by 60 percent.

    Get started: Watch what time everyone else leaves and aim to depart at the midpoint. "You shouldn't be the first or last one out the door," Levit says. If you want to leave by 6:00, start sending your last emails of the day and finishing up projects at 5:00. But don't go home just to sit in front of the TV or computer. Put your free time to good use. Exercise (a bona fide stress buster and brain booster), have dinner with a friend, sign up for volunteer work or take a continuing ed class in something that interests you, like photography or cooking.

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    Disconnect and Get Back to Nature

    You're scrolling through email, Instagram and news apps before you've even gotten out of bed in the morning. Sound familiar? Bundle up and go for a walk to pick up a newspaper instead. "Spending less time with electronics and more time exposed to natural light outside is my strong medical recommendation," says Danine Fruge, M.D., the director of women's health and family medicine at Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa in Miami. "We were made to interact with our environment. Light is very important in the regulation of the hormones that affect our sleep cycle, metabolism and energy." Not getting enough has even been linked to obesity.

    Get started: Aim for 15 minutes of outdoor time twice a day at minimum. The first should be within an hour of waking up to reset those critical hormones. The second is up to you. Get out of the office for a coffee or lunch run; pay attention to your surroundings instead of your Facebook feed when you walk your dog. Carry your phone with you in case of an emergency, but resist checking it until you get home.

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    Reconnect with an Old Friend

    You couldn't live without your girlfriends, but what ever happened to . . . ? "Finding an old friend is like getting in touch with your old self. This person has memories of you that maybe no one else has, so she gets you in a way that newer friends might not," says Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., the author of The Friendship Fix. Reaching out to someone from your past can also help you understand why you lost touch or make amends if things ended badly.

    Get started: It's so easy to friend your old pal on Facebook and leave it at that, but try to actually get together IRL. "It's the true test to discover if you still have a connection," Bonior says. Go ahead and send a Facebook message and say you would love to grab coffee. If she seems interested, follow up with specific dates. Hopefully, you'll soon be cracking up about how ridiculous you looked going to your sophomore formal.

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    Fix Your FInances

    You open your wallet and are shocked to find only $20 left of the $100 you took out at the ATM two days ago. That's the problem financial gurus are addressing when they say, "Know where your money goes." If you're not spending deliberately, you're not saving deliberately. That's bad, because you'll find it tough to reach for big goals, like a down payment on a house or a new car, says Jacquette Timmons, a financial behaviorist and the author of Financial Intimacy. Plus, you risk overspending, which can affect your bottom line—and your waistline. Women with money woes are more likely to be overweight, research shows, possibly because the related stress makes it harder to keep up healthy habits like exercising and eating and sleeping well.

    Get started: Monitor your cash flow using an app like Spendee ($1.99, Android and iOS). It aggregates purchases into categories and tracks your spending history, providing a big-picture view of your habits. You'll be able to see where you can scale back, like eating out, and where you need to ramp things up, like adding to the vacation fund for that solo getaway you want to take. Ka-ching!