New Year’s is a time for self reflection. A time to take a good look at yourself and ask, “Am I a piece of shit?” You don’t have to be anymore. I’m not anymore. People can change. I’ve worked really, really hard to change, and so can you. Self improvement is a journey and everyone has their own path! While some people want to get shredded at the gym (or, more likely, at home due to omicron), others ring in the new year by eating cleaner, cutting alcohol consumption, learning a new skill, or simply playing more video games. That’s right, leisure time is important and some people really suck at taking it easy.
When you first try anything new, figuring out where to start is one of the biggest hurdles. As such, we at The Inventory put our heads together to help you find the products you need to achieve your New Year’s resolution. In the fitness category, we’ve got everything from dumbbells for getting big and beefy to a smart bike trainer so you can finally get that 30 minutes of cardio in without leaving the house. Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but it’s cold outside and I have never been less motivated to endure the frigid weather for a couple of laps around the neighborhood.
If you’re trying to get your mind nice and swole, we’ve plenty of online courses to go around. You can, for instance, learn 14 languages with a lifetime subscription to Babbel. That ought to keep you occupied for a few days at least. Or take the advice of everyone in my life and learn to code. Or better yet, become the next Beethoven with Skoove Premium piano lessons. Looking to enhance your quality of life without doing much of anything at all? Modern essential eccentricities like the Beard Bib and Tushy bidet can quash the minor nuisances holding you back from getting things done. Those looking to boost their nutrition can either start cooking at home with a cookbook designed for busy people or heat up pouches of fresh pre-cooked food that takes less time to prepare than ordering delivery.
No matter how tired and depressed you are—and who can blame you considering *gestures at everything*—there are incremental steps you can take in your life that’ll make it a little less crappy. All you need is the right gear to get you there, and we’ve got you covered.
If you’re all about the show muscles, getting absolutely shredded starts with a solid set of dumbbells. And believe me, as someone who cheaped out at the beginning of the pandemic and bought a no-name pair of adjustable bells, this is one area where you don’t want to get too stingy. Mine were poorly designed with no mechanism in place to keep the sides from sticking out when I was repping lower weights. In contrast, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell set employs a unique dial system that makes it fast and easy to change weight on the fly—anywhere from 5 to 52.5 pounds. - Gabe
I know this is an ambitious choice for someone who isn’t great about adhering to a regular exercise schedule, but hear me out: This ab roller wheel is super versatile, can be incorporated into any fitness routine, and best of all, takes up zero space. (Well, not zero, but next to nothing in an apartment, which is pretty good.) It’s marketed as user-friendly, even if you’re a beginner, and includes a knee pad. I already have a yoga mat, but I appreciate that level of thoughtfulness. Plus, I really need to work on stretching exercises. Why not tone my core while I’m at it? - Sophy
I used to be a runner. That is, until I decided to go on an overly ambitious run after not exercising for months at the start of the pandemic. Spoiler alert: I ended up with a knee injury. As my physical therapist keeps reminding me during our weekly sessions, I need to keep up my routine the other 6 days of the week in order to see more progress. Whether you’re also recovering from an injury or are just looking to stay fit, these bands are a great, portable addition to any workout. I love the three resistance levels I can use to adjust my exercises as I target my glutes, hips, core, quads, and more. It also comes with an exercise booklet, training videos, and a carrying bag, so there’s no excuse for me to not do my daily exercises and get back on the road ASAP in 2022. - Frances
Cycling has, for 12 years, been the only way I’ve found I’ll exercise on any sort of consistent basis. Having recently moved to the upper midwest, though, I need the benefits of cycling without dying of exposure. I asked a few cycling friends—the competitive kind, the kind with visible veins on their thighs—if indoor trainers are a good idea. I was told by one friend that it’s a “great way to suck all the joy out of cycling, but it’s also extremely effective for fitness gainz,” and he recommended the Kinetic trainer to me. The others sagely concurred. For $368, you get a bike trainer that’s easy to set up, connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth—so you can use apps like Kinetic Fit, Zwift, or Trainer Road to simulate real world cycling with premade routes, or easily adjust resistance on the fly. Its max resistance is 1,400 watts at 35mph—I don’t actually know what that means, but I’ll be getting this as soon as I get my millions from Kinja Deals and then you’ll see. You’ll all see! - Wes
After the year I’ve had with our health care system, I’m pretty sure I want to get the hell out of this country and move somewhere more progressive—like Denmark—in the coming years. The only problem is, I don’t speak Danish. With Babbel, I can learn more languages than Pete Buttigieg pretends to know, with 14 in total to choose from. Whether you’re looking to escape your country’s archaic health care policies or just be able to speak a few native words when you’re traveling abroad, Babbel will help you get there through a series of short 10-15 minute lessons designed to help anyone on their language-learning journey, regardless of skill level. - Gabe
The last two years have taught me how important it is to cultivate your own hobbies and take on interesting side projects. Even though I work in editorial and media, I’ve always had an interest in learning to code. Many of my friends have completed coding boot camps recently as well, and it’s helped them change their career trajectories or made them more competitive in their current roles. I often work with the product teams, and there is a lot of data analytics and processing in my day-to-day. Having basic coding and data literacy using StackSocial’s Premium Learn to Code Certification Bundle will improve my performance in my current job and open new doors. - Frances
On a whim, I bought an electric keyboard at a garage sale a few years back with the wide-eyed high hopes of becoming the next Louis Lortie. Okay, that’s not exactly true. I don’t even know who that is. I just googled “best modern piano players” and his name came up. I did however hope to teach myself to comfortably be able to play. I got as far as learning the intro to Curb Your Enthusiasm, that one repeating riff from Daylight by Matt and Kim, and the theme music to Diddy Kong Racing. My neighbor must have hated me, but is now likely feeling much better as that piano has been collecting dust in the corner of the room. Perhaps it’s time I learn to properly play with Skoove Premium Piano Lessons and earn the keyboard’s real estate in my tiny apartment. Apologies to my neighbor in advance - Joe
Despite what my sister’s boyfriend said to be nice that one time, I do not maintain my beard well. Part of this is because I hate getting all the little shavings everywhere and trying to figure out where to put them when I’m done trimming my whiskers. Sure, I can use a towel to catch all the loose hairs and throw it in the wash. But then my washer and dryer are littered with beard hair. The Beard Bib from appropriately named company Beard King introduces a new way to shave. Simply attach it to your mirror by way of a pair of “powerful suction cups” and wrap the collar around your neck, then start trimming away as the hair falls into a convenient little net from which you can dump hair directly into the garbage. - Gabe
Okay, all cards on the table … I already have a bidet. I’m supposed to be writing about products I plan to buy, but I will not be doing that here. I will, however, happily champion my bidet and yell at other folks to turn their lives around by installing one. The Tushy Bidet seriously will change your life for the better (and save you a measurable amount on TP as well). I’ll just give you the same spiel someone else gave me to get me on board. Imagine you accidentally touch some shit with your hand and now it is all over your fingers. Would you just wipe off as much as you can with some paper or would you run that shit under some running water? I’m telling ya, the next big advancement in bidets might as well add in a lather and rinse function with soap. - Joe
If you do one thing next year, take time for you and your skin. Skin care is super important no matter your age. I have been using this Rose Gold Radiance Booster serum in the morning and at night to get back into the habit of being kind to my complexion. I really like this one, as it is viscus so you don’t need a bunch and it’s a beautiful soft pink color that melts right into your skin. And I have to say things are looking a lot brighter for 2022. - Sheilah
Full disclosure, I’ve had this hook thingy for a few years. But it’s representative of a 2022 goal, which is to start prioritizing my back health. I’ve had back problems for ages, and massaging my knots out with this hook is almost as restorative as an actual massage. It’s perfect for getting deep into those trigger points, and you don’t have to worry about describing to your partner exactly where it hurts. Be your own back (and neck, and legs, and arms, and truly any body part that gets sore) masseuse in 2022. - Zoë
Dedicating more time to our furry besties is a great resolution. If you are headed back to the office in the new year this means less breaks for fetch and walks. Keep your fur baby engaged and your relationship tight with an engaging toy. The Wicked Ball Cyclone is a 100% automatic, self-moving toy that gives your pupper 10 solid minutes of playtime, which they can initiate all on their own with a simple nidge. Keep Fido happy with a little extra exercise and interaction while you’re back at work. - Sheilah
The Virgo urge to bring everything you or anyone else might need, everywhere you go, all of the time has caused me to weigh down one of my shoulders with an unnecessarily large bag for years. Apparently, this isn’t something I need to be doing, but since it also is, apparently the least I can do for myself is switch to a backpack in the new year. I’m picking this one. Lightweight, stylish, and packable, the Tumi Voyageur in Black offers top-of-the-line quality at a reasonable price. It’s also black, so it will go with everything. If I learned anything from 21 Jump Street, it’s that the cool kids are two-strapping it now. - Sophy
Xbox Game Pass and PS+
Another year, another chance to re-up your subscriptions. With access to over 100 games—including big budget blockbusters like Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite—Xbox Game Pass still reigns supreme as one of the best values in gaming. PlayStation Plus, on the other hand, has some catching up to do; however, rumor has it, the service will expand in 2022 with the catalog to rival Microsoft’s. Either way, I’ll need a PS+ subscription to continue playing games online throughout next year, even if I’m pretty anti-social when it comes to my games. Considering my game of the year in 2021 was a Pokémon game from 4 years ago, I have a lot of catching up to do with my backlog. And renewing my memberships is a great place to start. - Gabe
I just bought an Xbox Series S—finally—and, having only owned a Nintendo Switch since the days of the Wii, foolishly thought the 512GB internal SSD would likely tide me over. Yes, I know, sweet summer child. I quickly found, after downloading like six games, that I am going to need more storage. I could get the upsettingly-expensive Seagate-made storage expansion so I can play right from the SSD, but the damn thing is $220 for 1TB, and I just can’t cotton to that. So, for me, the best compromise is a fast SSD like the Crucial X8 which moves data at up to 1,050MB/s over a USB 3.2 connection, and it’s far easier to swallow than paying $400 for the same-sized expansion card. It won’t be as seamless an experience as the expansion, but the savings are worth it. - Wes
If you didn’t grow up playing the original Zelda games, this adorable little device is the perfect opportunity to do so. The Game & Watch comes with three iconic Zelda titles and a clock, so you can watch someone much better than you (probably a simulator) beat dungeons that also display the time. I got this as an early Christmas present from my partner, and for every single day since, I’ve used it as a break from work and a desktop pick-me-up. As 2022 comes into focus, I’m resolved to spend the year replaying my favorite games, simply because it brings me joy (and who doesn’t need a little extra joy in these strange and uncertain—sorry, I won’t finish that sentence). - Zoë
I spend too much time on Twitter. My New Year’s resolution is to spend less time on Twitter. One might suggest a good way to do that would be to just set my phone down, but let’s hang on a second here. Baby steps. Instead, how about I preoccupy my phone with something else? With the Razer Kishi, I can start gaming on my phone—preventing me from having the Twitter app open at the same time. Thus, curing my terminal online addiction once and for all. - Joe
Listen to any podcast and there’s a high chance you hear an ad for Blue Apron or some competing meal kit subscription service. Given how much work dictates our lives under capitalism, it’s no surprise that none of us have time to cook anymore. And even if we do, who has the energy? Unlike other meal kits, RealEats’ food is sourced from local farms and prepared by professional chefs before it’s sent to you. Not only are you getting the ingredients for coconut daal or sweet teriyaki tofu, but they’re already assembled and pre-cooked for your convenience. All you have to do is put some plastic pouches in a pot of boiling water (or toss them in the microwave) and start eating. Compared to ordering takeout every night, Real Eats is relatively inexpensive as well, starting at $11 a meal. - Gabe
Not wasting money everyday on Starbucks is going to be a goal for me in 2022. As much as I love the convenience of having one in our building, it’s painful on the wallet, even if I’m just getting London Fog Lattes. I could not love my EcoVessel travel mug more and actually just use it in my house because it will keep my 9 AM coffee warm through the afternoon. I’ve traveled in cars and trains with this mug in-hand and there were no incidents of losing even a drop of Tim Horton’s finest brew. You will never want another travel mug again after you try this one. I guarantee it. - Sheilah
I mean, it’s self-explanatory, right? I have an Instant Pot that I love, but don’t make regular (or creative enough) use of. I am also busy, and, I’ll just say it, a little lazy. But I love to cook! That said, I could definitely be cooking better. So I’m excited to get this book of recipes that will cover all of my bases: Healthier than I’m currently eating, easy to put together, and designed to be made in an Instant Pot, which makes for quicker clean-up. - Sophy
This is just a letter of recommendation for those of us who choose not to observe Dry January. I’ve had a subscription to Winc for years and can confirm it rules. You take a short quiz to evaluate your palette and what your preferences may be, and Winc sends you wine accordingly. I’ve discovered reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines that I’ve been a big fan of. Plus, I live in a state where you have to go to a separate store just to buy wine, and then lug it back home.Getting it mailed to my apartment instead is so much better. On top of that, you rate the wines you receive, which tells the algorithm what to recommend for you next. Once you’ve rated enough, you get a coupon for free wine. What’s not to love? - Sophy
As this brand and product may suggest, I’m not a coffee snob. But I like coffee, in the sense that you can like something that tastes and smells good while having an active chemical dependency on it. I may not be ready to graduate to a Chemex or a French Press, but at least I know I deserve better than a Mr. Coffee purchased sometime between 2009 and 2013. I’m excited for something that takes up a reasonable amount of space on my counter, while offering more programming and functionality than my current coffee pot. Plus, that instant-hot water system is very appealing. - Sophy
I drink a lot of two things: cold coffee from a French press and burnt coffee from a drip machine left on too long. This new year, I have vowed to cut the shit and bridge the gap with an insulated, larger-capacity French press. You can go bigger than 32 ounces, of course, but I’ve bought coffee products from Mueller before—this conical burr grinder, for example—and I like their quality. This French press promises to keep my coffee hot for an hour longer, and it comes with an adorable little travel canister that I can keep beans fresh in, which seems an extra snooty way to silently show my sister her Keurig ways offend my sensibilities. I’m looking forward to starting and ending my morning deal-writing with tasty, hot coffee, and smugly telling Sophy how she should really start using one of these (I’m doing a bit. Drip coffee is perfectly acceptable, Sophy, don’t let anyone tell you different). - Wes