I've never been a big believer in making New Year's resolutions. It isn't that I don't think setting goals is a good thing (it obviously is), my problem with New Year's resolutions is that the ritual too often results in January hype that quickly fades away. How many times have you set a resolution on January 1 only to have forgotten it by the time February rolls around?
One way to help with keeping resolutions is to find tools that will help you stick with them. This is where some of the latest tech comes into play: Beyond the fact that investing in a product will make you more likely to want to use it to get your money's worth, new smart devices can make achieving certain goals almost effortless.
Ahead, a look at seven products that can help you clean more regularly, exercise your green thumb, and wake up earlier in 2018.
Goal: Clean the apartment more regularly
Going to work and simultaneously cleaning the apartment sound like two incongruous, not to mention impossible, activities. However, iRobot's latest vacuuming robot offers the best of both worlds. Use the app to schedule the vacuum to clean while your gone, and monitor the status from your office chair. The Roomba 890 is better at picking up hair from rugs and cleaning under furniture than its predecessors.
Roomba 890, $499.99, available at
Goal: Keep closer tabs on how you're sleeping
Many smartwatches offer sleep tracking, but most feel bulky and unnatural to fall asleep wearing. The recently released Motiv Ring solves this problem: In addition to activity tracking throughout the day, the lightweight ring measures your sleep duration, showing you trends over the course of the week giving you a bigger picture look at hours of shut-eye.
Ring, $199, available at
Goal: Wake up and get going earlier in the morning
The shorter days of winter are not ideal for meeting this goal. However, Philips' smart lighting can help. After installing the bulbs, you can use your iPhone or Android phone to set specific wake hours. You can even program the bulbs to start slowly brightening in the morning, making the process of getting up a little more natural.
Hue White Ambiance Smarter Bulb Starter Kit E26, $69.99, available at
Goal: Respond to texts more quickly
My closest friends know that I'm not the best about getting back to them in a timely manner. The latest version of the Apple Watch, Series 3, is a big help. Now with cellular, the Watch lets you not only stay on top of incoming messages and calls, but also answer them no matter where you are. If you're a gym goer, you'll also find the newly released GymKit useful for meeting any personal record or daily activity goals. The feature makes it easy to pair the Watch with popular gym equipment to get the most accurate tracking results.
Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular, starting at $399, available at
Goal: Print more photos
I take almost all my photos on an iPhone and while I love looking at them there, I also find myself wanting copies to hang on the fridge and random spots around the apartment. Enter Fujifilm's Instax Share SP-3 Printer. The portable, Wi-Fi-connected device makes it easy to transfer smartphone photos to 2.4 x 2.4-inch print-outs. If you want to send the images to friends via traditional snail mail, you can also edit your photos and add filters via the
Instax Share app
Instax Share SP-3 Smartphone Printer with Square Film Kit, $212.64, available at
Goal: Grow something (and keep it alive)
My attempts at greening my thumb tend to end with succulent corpses in the trash after too many missed watering sessions. 2018 is the year this ends, partly thanks to the rise of smart planters. Click and Grow's version takes care of watering for you and even controls light, making it (almost) impossible to kill your plants. The only downside is that you'll have to buy the brand's plant capsules for the container, but there's a nice variety of herbs and flowers available and at $9.95 each, they're pretty affordable.
Click and Grow
The Smart Garden 9, $39.95, available at
Click and Grow
Goal: Cut down on late night runs to the grocery store
I always notice when I'm on my last roll of paper towels and final squeeze of dish soap, but far too often I forget to actually stop at the store to get more. Amazon's Dash Wand solves this problem. Simply scan your kitchen and other household essentials with the Alexa-enabled wand. The goods you want to reorder will show up in your shopping cart, making it easy to get what you need without schlepping to the store.
Dash Wand with Alexa, $20, available at