Failing as a vegan

The idea that you will fail in your veganism should not be thought of as a possibility but as an inevitability. And this is why......

Many good people desperately want to be vegan. They have come to the conclusion that veganism is the right step for them. However the fear that they will not be able to make the change, that they will give in to temptation, they will slip up and make a vegan faux pas terrifies them. They are petrified that they will be seen as a Failure. (This concern and its’ implications, can be applied to any challenge or change, not just becoming vegan.)

So acute are these feelings that these people are static, immovable from the spot they have been in for some time, not able to make the step forward, even a small baby step. They are immobilised with fear. Yet they are internally judging and reprimanding themselves for not taking that step. We put ourselves under this enormous pressure.

Failure is a taboo subject. We attempt to remove ourselves from, what we perceive to be, its’ ugly disgrace. Yet failure is an integral part of success. It is a key element when we are growing, when we are making ourselves grow. Failure usually happens when we are outside our comfort zone. This wasteland circles the lackadaisical cosy inner circle that we spend much of our time hunkering down in. When we get to those outer edges, foggy, eerie, silent, unfamiliar, lonely....of course it is scary and bewildering. It is the unknown. And so you retreat. 

Now this is the point at which the magic happens. Or not. At the moment of failure you have two clear choices; stay within your comfort zone or go back to the outer edges and try again. And this time travel a little further. And yes you may fail. Again. But the important thing is that you tried. You flexed your TRYING-MUSCLE!!!!! 

It is a common practice in bodybuilding and strength training to ‘go to failure’. You do an exercise, such as a bicep curl or shoulder press, until you literally can do no more. Then and only then you stop. The magic happens within the process of failing. 

A person cannot and should not be labelled a Failure. A failure is a moment in time, it is not a description of an entire human. Yes, that was a mistake, a wrong decision. But up until that point you were 100% NOT FAILING. Be proud of yourself for this. Failure is not a title we should ever give to anyone, least of all ourselves. 

In the early days of your veganism you will probably crave meat and dairy. The smell of bacon, a glimpse of a Gail’s cheesecake, you will salivate and you will judge yourself harshly for this. But please know that this is natural and it will subside. We are no different to Pavlov's dogs in this respect. Your body needs some time to catch up with this change. If you are using all of your will power please know that you will not always have to do this. Your vegan diet will become your habit. You will no longer have to use your daily allotment of will power tokens on your vegan diet. 

When I see people eating meat and dairy I may as well be watching someone eating a plastic bag. It is bizarre and incredulous. I do not envy them. I merely think ‘why are you eating THAT? That isn’t food!’. And so....none of my will power is expended. Non-vegan food will become a different thing to you. It becomes non-food. It becomes not-an-option. But that takes time and patience. 

We all fail....and fail.....and fail.....and then we go a long time without failing until one’s a really long time between failures. You will stop making such a big deal of the failures. You will be able to brush them off and carry on regardless. Until one day you will look back and realise you have not failed for a really really long time. This is success. 


Danaliese Radley