10 Products to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Neato/Hidrate/Amazon
Neato/Hidrate/Amazon

Sticking to New Year's resolutions can be tough, but there are plenty of ways you can stay on track and get a strong start to 2020. Whether you want to focus on your health, save money, or become a “new you” in a variety of other ways, here are 10 products that can help you achieve your goals.

1. If You Pledged to Clean More This Year: Neato Robotics D7 Robot Vacuum; $524

The Neato D7 vacuum
Neato Robotics / Amazon

Hate cleaning? You’re far from the only one, but it doesn’t have to be such a chore. Neato’s D7 will do the work for you. It uses lasers to create a detailed floor plan of your home, moving in straight lines to suck up dirt and dust bunnies. You can program it so that it avoids certain places—like rooms you haven’t gotten around to decluttering yet—while turning its attention to problem areas instead. The battery lasts 120 minutes, but if it’s low on juice, it will tell you exactly how much power it needs to get the job done.

Buy it: Amazon

2. If You Pledged To Put Down Your Phone And Talk More IRL: Game of Phones; $30

Game of Phones

Breaking Games, Amazon

We understand that it can be tough to put your phone down, even if all of your closest friends happen to be in the room with you. Game of Phones offers a compromise. In this fun party game for three or more people, players use their smartphones to complete a task or find something online. One card might instruct players to read aloud the funniest text they received this week, while another might ask them to find the weirdest real news story from that day. Much like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, each round has a judge who picks the best response.

Buy it: Amazon

3. If You Pledged To Hit The Gym More Often: Aaptiv; $15 per month or $100 per Year

Gym memberships don’t come cheap, but fortunately, it’s easier than ever to get a good workout at home. Aaptiv is a virtual personal training app that comes with more than 2500 audio-based workouts to choose from. Certified personal trainers (like Ackeem Emmons, who spoke to Mental Floss for our "Secrets of Personal Trainers" feature) will be right in your ear guiding you through structured programs like yoga, boxing, outdoor running, strength training, and even meditation. In addition to the extra coaching, you’ll also get a motivational boost, courtesy of playlists that are perfectly timed to match the tempo of your workout. Whether you’re hoping to lose weight, gain muscle, or train for a 5K, there’s something for everyone.

Buy it: Aaptiv

4. If You Pledged to Actually Drink Water This Year: Hidrate Spark 2.0 Smart Water Bottle; $47


Hidrate/Amazon

Our bodies lose 2 to 3 liters of water per day, and staying hydrated helps keep our joints, brain, and spinal cord in tip-top shape. If you need some friendly reminders to hit up the water cooler instead of the soda machine, there are now a variety of smart bottles and accessories to help. Hidrate’s smart bottle, for example, tracks how much water you’ve consumed and starts glowing when it’s time for you to drink more. It also syncs up with fitness trackers like the Fitbit and Apple Watch so you can easily monitor your progress.

Buy it: Amazon

5. If You Pledged to Reduce Your Plastic Waste: Stasher Silicone Bags; $10–$20

A Stasher bag
Stasher / Amazon

Plastic storage bags are wasteful, but it can also be a hassle to find the right lid for the many plastic containers in your kitchen. The solution? Zippable, reusable containers. Stasher’s reusable silicone bags come in four sizes (half-gallon, snack, sandwich, and storage) and they’re dishwasher- and microwave-safe.

Buy it: Amazon

6. If You Pledged to Stop Buying Starbucks: KeepCup; $13–$50

KeepCup
KeepCup / Amazon

Tackle two goals at once by saving money and reducing waste. KeepCup calls its product “the world’s first barista standard reusable cup,” and there’s something for every type of coffee or tea drinker. The cups come in your choice of material—plastic or glass cups with silicone or cork sleeves—and a variety of sizes and styles. And if you accidentally lose a lid or plug, you can simply order a replacement part instead of buying a whole new cup.

Buy it: Amazon

7. If You Pledged to Start Meal Prepping: Rosti Meal-Prep Lunch Box; $23

Meal Prep lunchbox
Rosti Mepal / Amazon

Getting organized is the key to sticking with any diet or meal plan. Here to help is the Meal-Prep Lunch Box—a food container with extra space built into the lid so you don’t have to lug multiple containers to your office. Place your salad, salmon fillet, or sandwich in the main compartment, then stick any extras (like sauces, squishable ingredients like tomatoes, or utensils) in the lid. It also comes with a mini container for your dressings, which can be tucked away inside the lid, too. The base is microwave-safe, and the whole lunch box is safe for the freezer and dishwasher.

Buy it: Amazon

8. If You Pledged to Meditate More: Practical Meditation for Beginners: 10 Days to a Happier, Calmer You by Benjamin W. Decker; $10


Althea Press/Amazon

Just a few minutes of meditation can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, according to a 2018 study. If you’re ready to start reaping the benefits of mindfulness, this book, written by Benjamin W. Decker, an experienced meditation teacher, will give you 10 step-by-step techniques to get you started. Alongside techniques, the book will also give you the tools to set up a daily meditation schedule and offers writing prompts so you can journal your insights.

Buy it: Amazon

9. If You Pledged to Be Better With Money: You Need a Budget; $12 per month or $89 per Year

A handwritten budget in a notebook
iStock.com/alfexe

The secret to saving money is monitoring your spending and setting budgets for different items and bills. But if the mere thought of keeping track of all those lists and numbers makes you anxious, let You Need a Budget be your financial guide. The app lets you create spending categories (like rent, Internet, and groceries) and set dollar amounts for each. Connect it to your bank account and it will calculate how much money you have left in each mini-budget as you spend. You can also set goals for yourself—and according to the company, new users save an average of $600 in their first two months with the service.

Buy it: You Need a Budget

10. If You Pledged to Organize Your Desk: Rocketbook Everlast; $30

The Rocketbook Everlast notebook
Rocketbook / Amazon

If you have too many loose papers and notepads lying around your office, we have two words for you: reusable notebook. Perfect for pen and paper traditionalists, the Rocketbook Everlast lets you take notes or write to-do lists in the same way you would use a regular notebook, except anything you write can be sent to your iCloud, Google Drive, email, Dropbox, Evernote, Slack, and more. Once you’ve stored your notes digitally, just wipe the pages clean with a damp cloth. The executive size has 36 reusable pages and comes in four colors.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

These Grass Straws Are an Eco-Friendly Alternative to Plastic

Kickstarter
Kickstarter

We know plastic straws have created an incredibly serious environmental issue, and while many alternatives have been introduced, there are definitely some drawbacks to each of them. Paper straws, for example, tend to dissolve faster than you can finish your beverage. Some companies have tried to get around the issues paper and plastic straws present by introducing a special lid to sip cold beverages through. But they’re still made out of, well, plastic.

A Kickstarter campaign is offering a solution by producing sturdy grass straws that work perfectly in hot or cold drinks and decompose in just 15 days. With $3606 raised, the startup La Couleur Monochrome is still working toward a $27,877 goal, but you can back this project until January 31. For as little as $6, you can receive 100 straws in a reusable, eco-friendly zip-up bag, and the more expensive tiers offer bigger rewards.

The straws are made from hollow-stemmed grass that is grown and hand-harvested in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. After the grass is harvested, it is cut into 20-centimeter pieces and disinfected through a boiling process, rather than with harsh chemicals. Buyers have the option of selecting either dried-out straws, which can last for up to one year when stored at room temperature, or fresh straws, which can remain in the fridge for up to six weeks. According to the startup, both straws are suited for hot and cold drinks, but when using the fresh straws, you’ll get “a slight scent of fresh cut grass without changing the drink's taste.”

Grass straws
Kickstarter

If you’re worried about the environmental impact of harvesting the field, there’s no need. According to the campaign, the grass regenerates itself within a year. Currently, the startup is producing 1 million straws a month, but they hope to up it to 10 million by July 2020. Also beginning in July, the company plans to only send out orders once a month to create a more sustainable shipping program.

With so many large-scale changes that need to happen to help the environment, starting with a simple straw may seem inconsequential, but it’s not. Estimates have put the number of straws littering the world's coastlines at anywhere from 437 million to 8.3 billion.

If you want to visualize how much plastic humans have produced, it's equivalent to 25,000 Empire State Buildings or 80 million blue whales. And of all that plastic, only 9 percent has been recycled. At this pace, some have predicted that the amount of plastic in the ocean may outweigh the ocean's fish by 2050.

Cutting out straws is a great way to start reducing single-use products in your everyday life, and you can head here to find out more about the Kickstarter.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Attention Movie Geeks: Cinephile Is the Card Game You Need Right Now

Cinephile/Amazon
Cinephile/Amazon

If you’ve got decades worth of movie trivia up in your head but nowhere to show it off, Cinephile: A Card Game just may be your perfect outlet. Created by writer, art director, and movie expert Cory Everett, with illustrations by Steve Isaacs, this game aims to test the mettle of any film aficionado with five different play types that are designed for different skill and difficulty levels.

For players looking for a more casual experience, Cinephile offers a game variety called Filmography, where you simply have to name more movies that a given actor has appeared in than your opponent. For those who really want to test their knowledge of the silver screen, there’s the most challenging game type, Six Degrees, which plays like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, with the player who finds the fewest number of degrees between two actors getting the win.

When you choose actors for Six Degrees, you’ll do so using the beautifully illustrated cards that come with the game, featuring Hollywood A-listers past and present in some of their most memorable roles. You’ve got no-brainers like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (2003) and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (1990) alongside cult favorites like Bill Murray from 2004's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Jeff Goldblum in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984). Of course, being a game designed for the true film buff, you’ll also get some deeper cuts like Helen Mirren from 1990’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and Sean Connery in 1974's Zardoz. There are 150 cards in all, with expansion packs on the way.

Cinephile is a labor of love for Everett and Isaacs, who originally got this project off the ground via Kickstarter, where they raised more than $20,000. Now it’s being published on a wider scale by Clarkson Potter, a Penguin Random House group. You can get your copy from Amazon now for $20.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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