As the year ends, many of us are thinking about how we can get 2018 off to a smashing start. Here are 11 inexpensive items you can give yourself — oh, OK, or a friend — that will start you on the path to a successful goal or New Year’s resolution. All prices were current as of Dec. 13.
1. Resolution: To get up early
Hitting the snooze button is just so irresistible. Alarmy is a free app for your Android phone (sorry, iPhone users) that ensures you will get out of bed. When it goes off, it won’t stop until you take a photo of a predesignated place of your choosing somewhere inside your house. If you don’t supply the photo, Alarmy won’t stop blaring.
Tip: Don’t make the predesignated place within rolling-over distance — that defeats the whole purpose.
Don’t have an Android phone? Here’s another waker-upper gift idea: The SmartShaker ($10.99) is a small alarm you put under your pillow that connects wirelessly to your smartphone alarm and vibrates when the alarm goes off.
2. Resolution: To get to the gym more often
If your gym makes you bring your own combination lock to use a locker, you probably know the joy of forgetting the combination. This MasterLock ($8.39) lets you choose your own four-letter word instead of a random number sequence. Maybe you can choose “JOCK” or “WORK” as a little inspiration, or “REST” to remind you of your eventual reward.
3. Resolution: To de-stress with a warm bath
Whether the stress in your life comes from work, health, finances or other woes, you can easily de-stress with a soothing soak in a hot bathtub. This eight-pack of golf-ball-sized bath bombs ($26.99) — specially chosen to soothe and relax you — will make that nightly soak the highlight of your day. Finding yourself in hot water has never been more welcome.
4. Resolution: To walk more, drive less
You only get one pair of feet. Walking (or running) is a laudable goal, but as you adjust to moving your feet more, they may get sore along the way. This Relief for Tattered Tootsies foot care kit ($25.50) comes with a pumice stone and three neat little lotions and scrubs. You also get a guide telling how to use them in the proper order.
5. Resolution: To eat (and drink!) more healthfully
Healthful smoothies sound great, but someone’s got to make them. This Oster Blend-N-Go blender ($25) lets you blend your shakes or smoothies right in the jar from which you’ll drink them. Drop this into a cup holder on your commute, and it will be much easier to bypass the Starbucks drive-thru.
6. Resolution: To declutter
Decluttering sounds great, but then you dig into those basement boxes and hit a wall. Who can bear to throw away family wedding photos, or that videotape of your 1985 high school musical? Turn to a service like ScanCafe (prices vary by the volume of images), and you can declutter without losing those memories. You mail in your photos, slides and other media and get them back in easy-to-share digital form.
7. Resolution: To save for a child’s college education
If there’s a child in your life who’ll eventually be college-bound, skip some of the plastic toys this year and give money that can be saved for their campus days. Of course, you can give cash, but that’s more likely to be spent than deposited in that Harvard Class of 2030 account.
If the child has a 529 college savings account, you can give a gift card from GiftOfCollege.com, and it’ll be easy for his or her parents to funnel that money into the right place. And you’ll go to the head of the class on the parents’ thank-you list.
8. Resolution: To reduce electric bills
How did that electric bill get so high? Wouldn’t it be great if you knew which appliances were really running up your costs?
The handy Kill-A-Watt electricity meter ($28.90) is your answer. Plug it in, and then plug your questionable appliance into it. Soon, you’ll know your power consumption by the kilowatt-hour. Hmm, maybe it is time to start hunting for that energy-efficient fridge.
9. Resolution: To quit smoking
You can’t give yourself — or your friend who smokes — willpower. But you can offer up the next best thing. Smokers often find they need something to do with their hands once the cigarette that used to be there is gone. Fidget cubes — beloved by kids — work just as well for adults.
Each side gives you something else to do with your hands, offering up buttons and levers to click, flick, roll or spin. This three-pack is just $4.99, so you can share with fellow quitter friends. Or just stock one at home, one in your office desk and one in your jacket pocket.
10. Resolution: To bring a lunch to work
If you work in an area surrounded by tempting restaurants or take-out joints, it’s easy to head out for lunch every workday. But that costs money, and often helps pile on the pounds. This collapsible eco-savvy lunch kit ($9.99) is a grown-up way to bring your lunch. It’s expandable, keeps different food items separated, and even has a condiment container.
11. Resolution: To build memories
In this era of email and texting, paper letters are turning into treasured keepsakes. But if you need a little nudge to put pen to paper, check out this Mother and Daughter Letter Book Set ($40). It includes 40 cards and hundreds of personal prompts to get you writing, plus the book doubles as a neat scrapbook to store the completed memories.
What gizmos and gadgets have helped you meet goals? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.