I’ve become very skeptical about the whole idea of New Years resolutions along with most people in the population, so it seems. For some stupid reason the resolution I made with a friend in 7th grade to get abs still comes back to haunt me every single year around this time. Last year, I took a shot at it again and decided to try veganism, not as a resolution, but basically it happened in the first week or two in January so who am I kidding?
I’m not so quick to assume that the problem with actually following through with fitness goals is entirely dependent on resolve and self control. My transition to become a vegetarian was very sudden but I did it for 3 years during high school. I took one year off, had an existential crisis because of it, then went full vegan just as suddenly. So what made going vegan/vegetarian so easy when I basically survived off of chicken strips, pepperoni pizza and Italian subs for the entirety of my life?
The difference is mindset.
In the beginning, I didn’t really know what language to use when explaining why I decided to become a vegetarian. I got so tired of being asked that I just started to answer the question by saying, “I was bored one day, and I’m still bored I guess.” I knew that my answer was a lot more complex that they were interested in hearing, and I honestly didn’t really have a good answer. Was I a treehugger? A hippy? A PETA activist? All I knew is that I definitely didn’t do it to be edgy and cool because vegetarianism in Mongolia is extremely frowned upon. The prospect of eating meat was simply unappealing to me to a very deep level after realizing how unnecessary it was.
After the 3rd year I realized that I was gaining weight and feeling sluggish, so I started to reintroduce meat back into my diet thinking that my little ‘vegetarian phase’ had ended but to my surprise the mindset I had developed around eating had ultimately prevailed. Reintroducing something that I wholeheartedly knew wasn’t necessary, was bad for the environment and was incredibly cruel towards animals was difficult. I started to hate meat by the end of the year, so I regrouped and reevaluated what had gone wrong with vegetarianism.
Then it became obvious to me: I was substituting eggs and cheese for meat. Eggs and cheese have an extremely high fat content, and it didn’t help that I also loved the occasional entire bag of chips (hmm lol). So I did some more research, and I decided to try veganism. The difference was night and day for my digestive system which I was really amazed by. I finally felt as though I had found a way to eat happily for myself. I was equipped with enough knowledge to properly explain myself to others in a quick and informative way which ended my problems with feeling pressured by others to justify my choices. This happiness spilled over into many other areas of my life and, for that reason, I plan on maintaining this lifestyle choice in the next year, perhaps with just a bit more flexibility for my boyfriend‘s sake haha.
This year, try to actively work towards a mindset (happiness in eating), rather than abstractly work backwards from a goal (having abs to show off). One year may not be long enough to fully realize how to achieve the lifestyle change you may really want, but if you start making those small everyday choices, you’re already making progress. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to justify your choices, and be informed enough to shut the haters down when they try to impose their thoughts and beliefs onto you. Who knows? Maybe they’ll see the real happiness you are finding as a result of your effort and they may come around to copy exactly what you’ve done. Be fearless, unintimidated and happy in this coming year ❤