Dear Vegan: Suddenly I’m having serious cravings for animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs. I lapsed in my veganism by eating a hot dog here, a bit of bacon there. Then I just caved and started having diary and eggs almost daily and eating some type of meat almost twice a week. How can I get back on track? I want to be vegan again!
My response: Sometimes, doing the right thing takes practice. Remember, there are only two ways to change your life: quickly or slowly. You did it quickly the first time, but now you’re backsliding. So really, you’re changing your life slowly. That’s OK! Most of us make dramatic life changes slowly. It seems like we take two steps forward and one step back. That’s fine because we’re still changing. Slow change is still change!
Try this technique! It works!
Make a chart of your vegetarian days. You’re going to count them up one by one. Use gold stars or check marks, whatever you like just keep track in a journal or on a calendar. Each day you go that is vegan give yourself a star.
Your star days are every vegan day. They do not even need to be consecutive days of vegan eating. You’re just trying to get lots of vegan days, the more the better! You don’t have to worry about “being vegan” all the time, just worry about being vegan for today.
When you reach ten days you get a reward, 30 days another reward. Two months gets a special reward, and so on. Make sure the rewards are vegan. Some ideas: a new cotton tee shirt, tickets to an upcoming concert, a half-hour massage or pedicure, a special vegan dessert at a fancy restaurant, a new book, etc.
The idea is simple. You set small attainable goals that add up to something huge. This way you can focus on the small stuff that’s easy to do without getting overwhelmed by the big stuff that seems impossible.
Trust me, this technique works. It works for all kinds of things, not just going vegan. It works for incorporating more fitness into your life. It works for becoming more kind and patient with other people. It works for quitting smoking or drinking. It works for planning a big event like a wedding or 50th birthday. It works for getting a college degree. It works for getting a promotion. Just divide the larger goal into smaller, easier sections and then get to work attacking it piece by piece. Anything you want to acheive – literally anything – can be accomplished this way.
Call it “baby steps” or “one day at a time.” Use whatever phrase works for you. Just take it slow. You can do this!