I have been vegan since 01.01.2014. That was my New Year’s resolution 2013 – the last and also best one, which I made and also followed through. Why? It just felt really good. As you know, it was a pretty good decision, and you might ask yourself why I stopped making New Year’s resolutions after that…
Why I don’t do (anymore) New Year’s resolutions
The reason why I decided to become vegan was quite spontaneous – as spontaneous as I make almost all my decisions. I actually only felt ready to say “from tomorrow on I will only eat veggies” – “raw till 4” at that time – on 31.12.
The decisive moment, of course, was when I worked in the butcher’s store in New Zealand. When I was asked if I wanted to slaughter a chicken. There was a BIG NO from me to be heard. They asked me then if I then would like to watch it. Then my NO became even louder. At that moment it finally “clicked” for me and I thought, if I can’t see the chicken being killed, then I don’t want to eat it anymore. So I started to eat vegetarian. But it took me up until the end of the year before I was really ready to make the decision to completely transition to a vegan diet. And then my decision was made quite spontaneously at the turn of the year.
What I want to say is that if I had felt like it, I would have made the decision earlier. And it wouldn’t have been a New Year’s resolution. It was a realistic resolution, and I wanted it to be in for it a hundred percent.
When I tell friends or even strangers about my “how I became vegan” story, the reaction is usually, “wow, you’re probably the only one who’s achieving your New Year’s resolutions.” This is of course exaggerated, but it also speaks about our success of the New Year’s resolutions.
I see this date as a wonderful opportunity to start the year clean and fresh. To put the past behind me and accept new things. I also see every day as a chance to form habits that we want to change. The new year is a helpful fixed point for that. But it can also be a trap. For us to cling too much to this one date and then perhaps be disappointed that we have not kept our resolutions.
Often our New Year resolutions are like a marathon. We want to do everything at once: exercise regularly, eat healthier food, go to bed earlier, do more with our friends, read more… The perfect life overnight! Sounds awesome – and it is, IF it works. Since I don’t know of any case where this has worked so far, I’ll assume that “perfect overnight” sounds better than the implementation itself.
Love the process
A slow and steady change of habits may not be sexy. But it is much more effective than the “I want it all and I want it all IMMEDIATELY” version. And the positive side effect is that we don’t experience the disappointment we feel when we realize that we can’t live up to our New Year’s resolutions.
Every day is a chance
For me, it feels good to empty the glass, among other things, with my review of the year. And to start the new year without any burden, but with more clarity. I love to see every new morning as a chance to wake up full of energy. And to be happy about the little things that I am allowed to shape. Resolutions are a great opportunity to formulate good intentions. But it is the practices we develop over the course of the year that allow us to establish them in our everyday lives.
Free yourself from the expectations of others. And let your intuition take the lead. I promise you an unexpected amount of possibilities that will come into your life.