From a smaller waistline to better mental health, here are tips for a healthier you in the new year

Whatever your style when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, there’s one thing science can say for certain: Small changes can have a big impact.

Whether the topic was weight loss or brain science, the power of going slow is a theme that popped up repeatedly in our health reporting throughout 2018. University of Pennsylvania neuroscientist Amber Alhadeff put it well in a recent interview: “There are billions of neurons in the brain, and we can change behavior with only a few hundred neurons. In other words, it only takes a small change in neural activity to influence behavior.”

With that in mind, our journalists have been reviewing the year in health news to come up with tips that could help with a shift toward healthier behaviors. Each idea comes from a specific story you’ll find on Use our checklist to zero in on a few that speak to you, and consider adding others as you go. If you’d like to share how this approach is working for you, please drop us a line at

It may be tempting for devoted resolvers to incorporate a lot of changes at once. For others, perfection may be a temptation best avoided. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, we hope our tips prove useful for a healthy 2019.

American Red Cross recommends everyone be able to tread water for a minute and swim 25 yards.