Was eating better on your list of resolutions this year? How’s it going? If your answer is not so well, you’re not alone. It may be time to learn how to eat just a little bit better for greater success this year. 

Not surprisingly, health goals topped the list of New Year’s resolutions for 2021. Just over 45% of those polled listed a healthy pursuit as their top priority and half of them felt confident they would succeed. Despite the optimism, statistics indicate that by February (and it’s now March!) 80% of the population discard their resolution, despite their best intention. 

Part of the problem is that people who try to change their diet do it all at once. They change everything instead of one small thing at a time. It’s important to focus on eating just a little bit better progressively over  time for long-lasting change. 

Health changes take time and patience. The bad news is, health habits often take longer than 21 days. Often, they can take a year or more. The good news is, learning how to make better decisions about food and exercise is a life-time skill that will improve your wellbeing. And small shifts help you feel better immediately. 

Here’s a three-step framework to eat just a little bit better for lasting change.

Improve the quality your current choices

Consider how you can make what you’re eating and drinking now just a little bit better. 

Some examples of this include:

  • Swapping a can of soda for a sparkling water
  • Eating full-fat greek yogurt instead of a low-fat one (your body needs the fat) 
  • Enjoying a whole fruit instead of juice
  • Make your favorite muffins instead of purchasing a pre-made one
  • Drinking a glass of water before a second glass of alcohol

These small improvements make a difference over time. Once you’ve made a change to one area, tackle the next small change.

Improve how you eat

What you eat matters, but how you eat matters even more. It’s important to eat slowly and mindfully. As you’re learning how to eat just a little bit better, you will begin to notice the taste, texture, and overall quality of the food you’re eating. While this may not seem like a big deal, it makes all the difference in making lasting food choices that are better for you. You will more naturally choose foods that taste good and make you feel better, which are foods that are good for your body, mind, and spirit.  

Improve what you eat

Once you’ve improved the quality of your choices and slowed down while eating, you’re ready to continue to eat just a little bit better by making some food swaps. Since food is so customized to each individual, your food swaps may look different than someone else’s choices. Instead of following a prescribed diet, consider these things when deciding what to eat: 

  • How your body responds to certain foods (energy, mood, clarity, etc).
  • How you feel when you eat certain foods (satisfied, digestive discomfort, bloated, etc).
  • How you feel when you’re stressed… and how you eat as a result.
  • How you sleep… and how it impacts your cravings.
  • What you’re telling yourself about your body when you eat certain foods. 

Ultimately, your body will help you eat just a little bit better as you begin to practice this framework. Take time to notice what it’s telling you.