How To Suceed at Almost Everything (or How I Tricked Myself into Staying Vegan)

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Everyone has something they want to achieve, something they think at first might be too hard or epic to ever do or complete. I know a lot of people think going vegan is a massive deal, and since I’ve done that, I thought I’d share a few of my tips and tricks.

Let Yourself Fail

If you did everything perfectly first time everybody would hate you and your life would be dull. ‘Failure’ is what allows us to reach perfection, as Edison knew.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Each way which doesn’t work brings us closer to the way which will. When I was learning to juggle I dropped all the time. Each drop taught me how to be more precise the next time. Dropping isn’t juggling, but it teaches you how to be better at it.

Don’t Think Forever, Think Today

If you’re trying to change a habit, like waking up early or giving up meat, it can be overwhelming to think ‘I’m never going to eat chocolate again’. So don’t think forever, think today.

This mentality is what kept me vegan (that, and not beating myself up if I happened to eat meat or cheese). If I’d thought ‘I’m never going to eat steak again’ I probably would have freaked out and stuffed myself silly with roast goods. Instead, I decided to be vegan for a week (then vegetarian again, then eat meat, just less of it). I knew when the next time I was going to eat meat was (Lounge on the Farm, the Hog Roast) and it didn’t worry me too much whether I was going to eat meat ever again. Because I knew I would. If I ever want to, I still would. So, TODAY I am not eating meat, but that is not to say I will not forever. (But probably.)

I read an article somewhere about a gent who gave up smoking but had a re-light day in his head. Yet, he kept moving it into the future. On Christmas day he moved it to New Year’s, on New Year’s he moved it to his birthday, and so on.

This is a bit of a mental trick, but it really works.

Just Do It

Ha, yeah. So you want to write a novel? 100 words a day is better than none. Create an art installation? Gather materials together week by week…It doesn’t really matter how long it takes you to do something, as long as you do it. Having a painting complete in five years is better than not having one. And once you start something, the momentum will gather, until you find yourself quitting your job and sitting cross-legged on a beach somewhere carving pebbles to sell for millions to high-faluting business men who envy your free-thinking lifestyle. (Or maybe that’s just my dream…)

When it came to turning vegan, it was more Just Don’t Do It. I didn’t buy meat, and I didn’t buy dairy. I strode past the aisles (except that hummus was kept between lamb and beef…) and spent all my time in the fruit and veg section. Not having animal products in the house meant I couldn’t eat them. Easy like sweet potato and brocoli pie. Mmm, yeah.

Make Damn Sure It’s Something You Want To Do

Anyone can achieve anything, if they work at it. However, if what you’re working at doesn’t have you at least rolling over in the morning and going ‘Oh yeah, I get to work on that today!’ (because who really jumps out of bed shouting ‘Sweet! A New Day!’) then it will take so much more out of you and take you so much longer to achieve than a project which really gets your juices going.

If I didn’t care a LOT about the state of our planet, the deforestation of South America, water pollution, air pollution and generally re-educating people about the effects of our excessive lifestyles on the planet which provides the resources we so casually over-use I would probably not have been able to sustain the whole vegan thing.

If what you have to achieve is something you have to do but are not so passionate about personally, find some aspect to your task which you do enjoy. During Sixth Form when I was revising for my exams (well, I drew cartoons of flying pigs but) we would pick a few random words and try to get them into our essays. Vulture, potato, fretboard…There are ways and means of making even the most mundane tasks bearable, if not downright creative!

What do you want to get done?


ps. For more information on turning vegan check out this post here on my now defunct blog.


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