Fruits, especially during the winter months, aren’t extremely appetizing to me.
So for several months, I did my best to buy more fruits in order to increase my intake.
Specifically, I would buy two or three beautiful bananas.
I’d have visions of myself eating these beautiful bananas at home over the course of the following week (with flowing hair and an intentional gleam in my eye, of course).
But in reality, I’d watch those beautiful bananas day by day go from bright to brown.
If they were lucky enough to avoid the trash the following week, they became chocolate chip banana bread.
Not exactly the healthful habit I had in mind when I bought them.
Recently however, I decided to switch things up. Instead of buying multiple bananas each trip, I’ve begun buying a single banana.
And you know what? I’ve actually started to eat bananas once a week!
I went from buying 2-3 and eating none, to buying and eating exactly one.
For some reason it is far easier to motivate myself to eat the single banana sitting on the counter than eat a single banana when there are three available.
Watching my own behavior change as I adjusted the number of bananas I bought reminds me of a tip I gleaned from one of Ramit’s ebooks (I can’t remember exactly which one).
In the ebook, one of the habit forming strategies shared had to do with flossing more often. Instead of committing to flossing every tooth every day, the person committed to flossing exactly one tooth a day.
Paring back the intention to the simplest level made the idea of flossing regularly attainable and habit-forming.
Then, when flossing that one single tooth, it was very easy for the author to continue flossing the rest of his teeth. Which ultimately resulted in a much higher floss rate overall.
Perhaps the unattained intentions we seek need to be pared back a bit to gain traction. Though it’s great to be ambitious about our goals, we may sometimes overshoot our current ability (or willingness) and miss the mark altogether.
Eating 0% of three bananas is not better than eating 100% of 1 banana – even though the goal was more ambitious.
And who knows, once I get in the habit of eating one banana weekly, I might be ready to bump it up to two bananas per week… or maybe a banana and an orange.
Which goes to show that less can mean more when it comes to making sustainable improvements in our lives.