To err is human, to figure out why you erred divine.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle can be a challenge for some, especially since there are pitfalls when it comes to transitioning away from animal products. Considering the fact that the adjustment period can be a long one, it’s important to set yourself up for success at every opportunity.
Through identifying the most common reasons as to why people “fail” or give up on going vegan, you may be able to better plan how you can avoid those things and prepare yourself when you’re faced with them.
Here are some common reasons why people fail at vegan diets—and how you can navigate them.
The problem: you’re seeing everything as black and white
Nothing in life is black and white—not even veganism. There’s nuance in all things, and when you fall into the trap of seeing veganism as black and white (i.e. vegan = good, non-vegan = bad), the journey becomes that much harder, potentially leading you to fail and veer off path.
Going vegan is a personal choice, and even though not everyone in your social circle may have adopted a vegan lifestyle yet, have faith that your doing so is having a positive impact on them. Sure, they may not be cutting out every animal product, but maybe they’re cutting back here and there—and that in itself is progress!
The problem: it’s hard to maintain a social life
One of our favourite things to do is going out for a nice meal. For those considering going vegan, one point that can give them pause is how it might be hard to go out and enjoy a meal with their friends once they give up animal products.
Luckily, most restaurants nowadays offer delicious vegan and vegetarian options. In the event that you’re worried that your friends may select a spot that doesn’t have anything vegetarian- or vegan-friendly, offer to organize dinner so you’re able to choose where all of you can go. There’s no reason to give up quality time with your friends, and maybe you’ll even open their eyes to some vegan dishes they’ll love!
The problem: you’re too hard on yourself when you slip up
Mistakes happen; we’re only human, after all! There will be times when you’re faced with something that contains animal products, and you end up eating it—and that’s okay. Even seasoned vegan vets may slip up. Instead of beating yourself up over it, try giving yourself some compassion and recognize that missteps don’t equal failure. Instead, focus on how you can avoid the same situation in the future.
Another way to see missteps is to stop calling them mistakes. When you see missteps as mistakes, you veer closer to seeing things as being too black and white (see: point #1). Instead, take these occurrences as opportunities to learn about yourself and what makes you tick so you can avoid those things in the future.
The problem: your family isn’t happy with these changes
Here’s the thing: it’s likely that your family won’t be happy with something that you do or decide on in your life. This can be veganism, or a new job, or a life partner. The fact of the matter is that you and those around you will always disagree on something, big or small.
We know how difficult it can be to have your family not understand what you’re trying to achieve through going vegan; we’ve been through it, too. But just like how it’s important for new vegans to go slow and be forgiving to themselves when they slip up, extending the same grace and patience with those around you will go a long way.
Trust us when we say that your family will eventually come around, but it’s crucial to be patient with their progress, too.
The problem: you don’t have a good “why”
Sometimes, we commit to things without knowing why we’re doing it. We get swept up in the excitement without realizing what our motivation comes from, and this can lead to moments of weakness. After all, changing your life is hard, and going vegan can be a pretty drastic change for some.
Having a clear-cut reason as to why you are embarking on a vegan lifestyle will help you renavigate any time you may steer off path. Before anything else, be sure to know your “why,” or the reason behind why you want to be a vegan so that you can properly prepare yourself when you do slip up.
The most common thread across all these reasons as to why people stumble when it comes to vegan diets is to be patient with yourself. Taking the time to understand what your own blindspots and struggles are will make your journey easier, and make it more enjoyable, too.
What did you struggle with the most when you embarked on your journey towards veganism? And if you’re still working on it, what has been the most difficult thing for you?