12 ways to upgrade your life in 2019

Work smarter, eat better and save more dollars with these improvements.

This article is sponsored by Duracell.

sparkler against evening sky
Be a healthier, more productive and all-round happier person with these finds and tweaks. Cristian Escobar via Unsplash

As far as commitments go, New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. Most of the bravado revelers wield on December 31 regarding self-improvement tends to fizzle somewhere between “Auld Lang Syne” and Groundhog’s Day. But when have the best laid-plans in history ever been made past midnight on a full stomach of champagne and pickled herring? This time, for 2019, consider planning ahead. Powered by Duracell, the most trusted battery brand, here are a dozen potent little life upgrades for the new year, from the kitchen to the commute to your inner-happy place.

Take the guesswork out of cooking with a Thermapen

Make doneness an objective measure. Amazon

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In your heart of hearts, you know that using a meat thermometer is the best way to yield perfect results in the kitchen. So why eyeball your roasts in 2019? This hyper-accurate model gives you a reading on whatever you’ve got grilling or cooking in 2-3 seconds, and the display auto-rotates so it can be easily read in any direction (for those who don’t enjoy trying to cock their head over a sizzling roast in the oven). The motion-sensing sleep mode means you’ll go ages without needing to change the battery. $118

Don’t forget the Duracell! One AAA battery required.

Cook smarter with Calculated Industries’ Recipe Calculator

Never need to ask yourself “how many cups in a quart” again. Amazon

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Instead of relying on mental math while meal prepping, recruit this handy gadget as your sous chef. It tackles conversions (volume, weight and temperature), scales recipes to the exact number of mouths you’re feeding, and–unlike your cell phone–won’t pop-up depressing news stories while desperately you’re trying to unwind by whipping up a winter stew. $24

Don’t forget the Duracell! One 2032 battery required.

Protect your passwords with KeePass.

Keep ‘em in the vault.

Know this: Your ubiquitous, decade-old password and that little sticky note taped over your laptop camera are not the impenetrable double-whammy cyber security forces you hope they are. Avoid becoming a stolen-data statistic in 2019 by taking a few minutes now to log your passwords in an online randomizer to proactively protect your most important information. KeePass, an open source password manager, allows users to safely store and search each of their unique passwords for different accounts, thus improving upon the practice a lot of folks have of using the same passwords for the bank accounts and email that they do for lower security sites. Free

Get smarter about saving money with Tip Yourself

Bolster your self-control along with your bank account.

Penny jars were just fine for Gramps, but an app is the modern-day way to incorporate solid, long-term financial practices into your daily routine. Tip Yourself lets you decide how much you’d like to reward your savings account for keeping resolutions like going to the gym or skipping an impulse purchase. Best of all, unlike other automated apps, Tip Yourself charges no fee. Free.

Skip an Uber and ride your bike home with the Monkey Light

They won’t be able to miss you. Amazon

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Sure, the instantly customizable Monkey Light M232 ensures you and your bike are seen on the road, but no one has to know you really want them to feel like you’re in a sci-fi thriller. With one button, you can switch the glow between solid colors, stripes, gradients and rainbows. These rugged LEDs come with a two-year warranty, and mount on any bike with wheels 20″ or larger, be it a mountain bike, cruiser, road, city or BMX. $50.

Don’t forget the Duracell! Three AA batteries required.

Keep your canine safe during walks with a Nite Dawg LED Collar

Nite Ize Amazon

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In addition to making your furry best friend look like an adorable little canine raver, Nite Dawg’s LED collar makes it easy for drivers to spot your pet, taking some of the worry out of evening strolls. The collar features a reflective paw pattern and a secure micro hook and loop fastener. $30.

Don’t forget the Duracell! One 2032 battery required.

Streamline your listening with the Google Podcasts app

Listen without friction.

In the midst of our current current generation’s podcast boom, you can now find a cast for every micro-niche under the moon. Having a go-to favorite show makes long flights and morning commutes seem to fly by. Yet, until now, picking up your favorite podcast right where you left off on another device was confounding. If you have a Google Home, you’d do well to switch over your current podcatcher of choice to the relatively new (launched in June) Google Podcasts app, which seamlessly streams episodes started in, say, in your car to your living room when you get home. All your listening is automatically synced so you can pause on one device and resume on another with the Google Assistant. Free

Soften your feet with the Amope Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File

Put your best foot forward. Amazon

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No matter how sturdy and comfortable your boots are, trudging around on snowy, slushy January sidewalks can create gnarly calluses. Keep your feet nice and level with a callus remover that puts in the elbow grease for you. The Amope Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File lets you buff away rough spots in the comfort of your home. $17.

Don’t forget the Duracell! Four AAA batteries required.

Take care of your teeth on the go with a Quip toothbrush

Ready, set, smile! Quip

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Travelers love the no-fuss ease of the Quip toothbrush, which fits easily in a carry-on, and lasts upwards of three months. It’s battery-operated, so there’s no need to lug a bulky charger. Sign up for a brush-head subscription and you can permanently cross that recurring to-do off your list. $45

Don’t forget the Duracell! One AAA battery required.

Give meditation a try with Calm

Be here now. Sean Stratton via Unsplash

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Screens play as big a part in recreation as they do work these days, so it’s essential to carve out a few minutes each day to unplug and just be. The Calm app offers subscribers “sleep stories,” calm, podcast-like narrations recited by soothing voice actors, more than 100 guided meditations and breathing exercises, exclusive music tracks, and “masterclasses” offered by wellness experts. $60 a year.

Make connecting a pleasure with the Mark One pen

Write on. Mark One

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There’s no digital substitute for the euphoria folks feel when they discover a thoughtful, hand-written note from a loved one amongst endless mail barrage of bills and commercial flyers. Prompt yourself to put pen to paper more often, with a top-tier writing instrument. The Mark One is an all-metal, durable, substantive-feeling pen that’s more modern than a lot if its comparably priced competitors. It’ll last an exceptionally long time, thanks to a ceramic based exterior coating, so stock up on your rollerball refill of choice. $60.

Improve Your Posture While You Work With the Uplift Desk

Straighten up your act. Uplift

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Just about every study on the matter indicates that slouching is no good, and proponents of standing desks often report more energy, fewer back aches, and a stronger core. Unlike a lot of models, the Uplift Adjustable Standing Desk is sturdy, “whisper quiet,” electric, and stores several users preset height configurations. Worth adding to your order: The E7 Active Anti-Fatigue mat. In addition to the support it offers, it’s engineered to allow you to stretch and massage your feet with different, unique wedges while you plug away. $495