Have you jumped on that veggie-wagon for Veganuary? Enjoying all that plant-powered goodness?
But January is almost over. What now? What do you do?
I was once on that Veganuary wagon too.
In fact, it was what took me from vegetarian to vegan just a few years ago. I had been a vegetarian for about three years and Veganuary was the final push I needed to go vegan.
Now, I wasn’t guzzling glasses of milk and eating omelets, but I wasn’t really paying close attention to what I was eating either. I was pretty confident in my abilities to choose foods that didn’t contain animals, but I also wasn’t always checking labels. So there was probably a decent amount of dairy and eggs in those packages that I assumed were vegan.
My Veganuary journey ended up being the push I needed to be confident, embrace my plant-powered life, and give up my fear of being vegan. Yes, I was afraid to acknowledge to myself and others that this was the new me, like it or leave it.
With the days counting down to the end of Veganuary, you may find yourself feeling a bit of relief: Phew. It’s over. Now back to regular life.
But is that really what you want to do? You’ve spent the last month making positive changes to your health, the planet, and the animals, so why just throw that away?
Change is hard. Change is scary.
But change is also good.
Without the challenge and support of Veganuary, it’s easy just to let it all go and sink back into that comfortable routine we’ve always known. But it doesn’t have to go down like that. Not at all. You’ve put in a lot of work, made a lot of sacrifices, and learned so much. Why not keep going? Don’t let those fears and beliefs pull you back into your old ways.
First of all, give yourself a break.
You’re doing great! Even if Veganuary has been less than perfect, it doesn’t mean that we’re not making a difference. Stop being so hard on yourself. We always end up beating ourselves up over little things instead of celebrating our victories. So give yourself a break and be a little gentler to yourself. No one is perfect. So what if we made a mistake and ate something with milk in it? Who really cares that we caved one night and ate some cheese? That doesn’t erase all the hard work we’ve done so far. Everyone makes mistakes.
Find your people.
There are countless groups, online and in person, dedicated to going vegan. Even if you’re the only one in your house ditching meat, it doesn’t mean that you’re alone. Get a buddy…in real life or online. We always have better success with change if we have a tribe we can count on. Everyone needs support. Just because Veganuary is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that we’ve got to go solo. We will find it a lot easier to continue our journeys if we’re able to vent our frustrations, ask questions, or just see that others are feeling the same way. They say it takes a village—well, the same thing applies when you go vegan.
Seriously, it’s not a race.
There’s no prize for first place. Your journey will look completely different from everyone else’s. Don’t play the comparison game with all those posts on social media. By simply deciding to join the Veganuary movement, you have already made an impact. Your path may be full of twists and turns, steep hills, slippery slopes, and dead ends, but it is yours and yours alone to travel. It may not feel like it or even look like it, but by sharing the message, working on eliminating animal products, and learning how to live a more compassionate lifestyle, we are already making a difference. Just by trying. So don’t give up…others need you, even though they may not realize it yet.
I’m all for healthy eating. But I also believe it’s okay to treat yourself too. As much as Veganuary may seem like a month of salad, that’s not all it has to be. Check out that vegan bakery and treat yourself to a scrumptious vegan cupcake! Indulge in a big juicy vegan burger. Just because we’ve ditched the animal products, doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves of a little simple pleasure. Instead of focusing on what we can’t have, look at all the amazing things we can have. There’s no better time than the present to enjoy some seriously amazing vegan food! Celebrate your Veganuary by trying out a new vegan cafe or restaurant. Connect with your veggie tribe and have a pot luck or go out for lunch. Reframe those thoughts.
I’m not missing out. I’m discovering a whole new world of compassionate food.
Just because Veganuary is coming to a close, doesn’t mean that your journey has to be over. It’s just another bend in the road. Keep going. Remember why you began. Tune into what you have learned and discovered along the way.
The -uary might be over. But the vegan doesn’t have to be.