Shall I go to the mall, or go vegan? These days it seems like those who embrace the world of kale and wheat grass believe that being a vegan is as simple as picking a destination, plugging it into your GPS, and sitting back and enjoying the ride. If you are connected at all to the world of plant-based social media, you will see tons of propaganda encouraging people to “Go Vegan.” As a practicing plant-based eater, I am sensitive to the motives behind the Go Vegan campaign, but I am not convinced that it portrays a realistic approach for getting people to transition into the plant-based world.
Those who have fully adopted the vegan lifestyle are committed to a reality that is completely void of animal products of any kind. Although it has never been easier for people to embrace this way of living, there are still numerous challenges that living this way present. While most vegans will struggle to piece together all the elements needed to live a semi-normal life, they do this because their convictions are already formed. For someone who embraces animal-based eating, enduring the challenges of living the vegan lifestyle would be a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
Those who are sensitive to the plant-based movement need to take small measured steps towards changing their daily practices. Once these practices become habits, the sum of these habits will lead to new ways of living.
Here are four keys to opening doors to new habits.
1. Vision: It is impossible for you to move in the right direction unless you know where you are heading. Take time to visualize what type of life you see yourself living, and what type of person you will need to become in order to live that life.
2. Preparation: Put together a detailed plan of action. Identify which small measurable steps you can take, and work on embracing each one of those efforts. “The little things you do today become big things tomorrow.”
3. Hard work: Recently I have learned that "growth is not possible without resistance." Whenever something expands it is bound to push against something else. That something could be your own poor self-esteem, the hindering perceptions of others, or just your own laziness. In order to achieve whatever it is you see yourself achieving, you must take yourself out of your comfort zone. Success only comes to those who "want" less and "work" more.
4. Consistency: When it comes to truly making changes, nothing is more important than consistency. We have all found ourselves admiring someone who seems to demonstrate otherworldly levels of discipline. We often find comfort in telling ourselves that that person has been given natural gifts that we don't have. This couldn't be further from the truth. The reality is that you are that disciplined person—the moment you choose to be.
Breaking old habits and building new ones is tricky business. Especially when it comes to what we eat. Don't be taken by the headline without making sure you know the whole story.
Chris Falcon is a Certified Youth Exercise Specialist, founder of Reactive Performance Enhancement Center, and creator of The Multi-Mode Method of Eating™. He is dedicated to helping people feel their best through healthy living on all levels.