I know many people made a New Year’s Resolution to go vegan. And I also know that, around this time of year, many resolutions are broken. So, I wanted to write to those of you who may be struggling, and offer up two pieces of advice…
I believe very strongly that, to make any big change, you must have a very strong motivation. So, if you’ve always wanted to be thinner, for example, and figured you’d make a New Year’s resolution to go vegan because you think that would do the trick, it’s simply not going to work. How do I know? Because if you wanted that goal badly enough, you would have figured out how to achieve it long before now. There are plenty of ways to get thin, and the truth is, if you wanted it badly enough, you would already be thin.
So, my first piece of advice is to make sure you have a strong enough motivation. I have met countless people who went vegan the day they read John Robbins’ book Diet for a New America. I was one of them. So, perhaps you want to pick that book up at the bookstore. If you haven’t had a problem giving up meat, but struggle with dairy or eggs, my latest book, Vegetarian to Vegan, was written specifically for those who struggle with dairy and eggs. If you really care about the environment, read the World Health Organization’s article, Livestock’s Long Shadow. Whether you are motivated by health, animal welfare or the environment, there are extremely compelling books, articles and videos that will stun you into going vegan… with very little willpower.
My second piece of advice is to be kind to yourself. It can be very demoralizing when you make a commitment and then break it – especially if you’ve made the commitment many times and broken it many times. If you are being hard on yourself, I’d like you to remember all the calories you have forgone, all the animals you have saved, and all the benefit you have done for the environment by not eating meat and dairy for all the meals where you were, indeed, successful at keeping your commitment. Every time you don’t eat meat, dairy or eggs you are benefiting yourself, animals and the environment. So if you are 50%, 70% or 90% of the way there, it may not be quite the 100% you vowed, but you’re still on your way and making great progress and a great difference along the way.
I commend everyone for making the decision to go vegan, and hope that if you are struggling as you make this change, that you’ll seek out further motivation and be kind to yourself along the way. I believe in you, and I know you can reach your goals!