a single banana

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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.


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  1. Carolyn Tillman

    Yes, love this! The flossing story is from BJ Fogg and his tiny habits approach, which we borrow from a lot in behavior change strategies at work. This is a great reminder that it doesn’t have to be all about health, but how could we apply this approach to business-related habits too? Something to think about, thanks!

    1. Jess Lively

      Exactly! It’s definitely not just about health or any one habit – but improvements in any area of life – business included. : )

  2. jacquelinethehourglassfiles

    I buy single bananas too. I’ve been doing this for the last couple years, because I also won’t eat a bunch before they turn brown.

    Before I became lactose intolerant, I would bribe myself to eat them in an ice cream sundae. Best banana delivery method.

    1. Jess Lively

      Nice! I like your banana intake method, too. ; )

  3. A great quote I heard recently that I recall after reading this post: We overestimate what we can accomplish in 1 week…We underestimate what we can accomplish in 6 months. If we simply and realistically set smaller goals that are achievable in the short term, they really add up to more progress and success in the long term.

    1. Jess Lively

      What a great quote! I read it somewhere a few years back… and it perfectly applies to this topic. Thanks for sharing! PS – People hav been loving your WIKW!!

  4. Freeze that banana (wrapped and ready) to make a smoothie. I use 1 banana, crushed ice, 1 cup water and a few berries, ginger and fresh mint and it is delish~ Think of it as a treat or reward for each improvement.

  5. chelsea gwynne

    I was going to say you might like the smoothie route! I can see some commenters have already suggested it. I made my first green one this morning (jumping on that trendy green-drink train!) with kale and banana, frozen pineapple, coconut milk and honey. You might like the Tone it Up girls too – I think you’d like their branding, message, and maybe even the workouts. They eat fruit like it’s going out of style! 🙂 Hope you have a good day. Love your blog!

    1. Jess Lively

      Thanks! I have a smoothie that I drink several times a week too – kale, raspberries, almond butter, flax, and chia seeds. So I’ve definitely been making progress but also trying to work in fruits beyond just the smoothie, which is where the bananas came in. : )

      Your drink sounds great too! And thank you for the recommendation re: Tone it Up. : )

  6. That’s a really good approach. I wonder how I could incorporate that into my life today… probably with my vegetable intake. I always buy a bunch claiming that I will eat them EVERY day…and they rot. Doing this is probably cost effective too.

  7. Jessica

    I loved this post. I always try to achieve everything in one day and sometime I feel totally overwhelmed or feel bad that I did not accomplish the goal. But now I think I might try one thing to do each day, instead of 10 a day. Maybe now I can accomplish goals and stick to healthier habits.
    Thanks Jess for writing this post.

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