But lets start at the beginning.
Why go vegan?
No, I am not a hippie.
So what am I? I am a person that likes to step outside my comfort zone. This includes financially, physically, mentally, philosophically, and any other "-ly" I may come across in the future.
So why vegan?
I recently watched a documentary on the difficulties of being vegan and in this film the director interviewed several people on the street and asked them if they could be vegan for a month. All the answers were several variations of "No way."
One person even stated they wouldn't even do it for money... a lot of money!
As I watched this I found myself agreeing with them. I love meat, a lot. I don't consider a meal complete unless there is a meat dish involved.
Thats when I realized it, I had to try vegan. I already knew a lot of the statistics from reading books like Anti-Cancer.
There is a direct link between consuming red meat and heart disease. This is undeniable, but when I think heart disease I think being 80-years old and having so many problems by then anyway, whats another. Yes, I know this is an awful way to think.
What did I learn?
Because this is a blog about stepping outside your comfort zone, I will leave out the vegan facts I learned. I will note the following, however:
-I have never felt healthier.
-There are a LOT of DELICIOUS vegan foods and meals.
-Breakfast is the hardest vegan meal (no cheese, eggs and dairy.... basically no breakfast!)
-Restaurants put butter on a lot of things.
What non-vegan things did I learn?
My mind is EXTREMELY powerful. If my mind doesn't agree with something, my body is likely to follow.
For example, I would try and make bargains with myself. I knew I was trying to do something to improve myself, but when I would get hungry (or usually lazy) I would try and make compromises.
"I'll just have a vegan dinner, breakfast is too much."
"I'll just eat vegetarian, not vegan. I like cheese too much."
"This is stupid, don't be stupid."
Funny how I was just doing this for myself, yet I was still having these back and forth debates.
But when it came right down to it, I told myself I was going to do it so I did.
Additionally, I told my wife. Not only did she think it was a neat idea, she joined me!
When I would get lazy, or try and bargain with myself, I had someone else on my team not only telling me to keep going but also contributing to my success along the way.
The WHY is just as important as the WHAT, when trying to change something in your life. If you do not have a powerful WHY, your emotions will eventually win the battle. Your WHY taps into your emotional self and allows the WHAT to change.
For example: It is easy at 8pm to say I will get up at 5am to run 5 miles to be healthier, but when that alarm goes off at 5am what happens? You start to bargain with yourself!
But if you tell yourself that you are going to run 5 miles tomorrow morning because you need to:
1. Lose 30 pounds before your high school reunion to impress your ex
2. Train for the upcoming marathon to raise money for cancer research which is very important to you
3. Try and live a healthier lifestyle so that your kids will follow your example
when the alarm clock goes off you will instead remember these powerful reasons and your emotional self will take over.
If you want to change something in your life, your mind has to change. You need to write down what you want to change, and also WHY you want to change it. Your emotional self will determine whether or not you continue to act rationally. I often cited health statistics to myself as well as the weight loss benefits, but it was much more beneficial to imagine myself losing weight and being a healthy and fit grand father at 80 years old.
Furthermore, get a partner. Maybe its your wife, friend, business associate or someone you meet at a seminar that wants the same things you want. I like to call this your "accountabilibuddy". They hold you accountable, and you to them. It is also more fun. When you are trying to change something that is really hard to change, there will be stressful moments. With someone else in the same boat those stressful moments can be fun, and often funny.
Everyone has a different number, but mine was around 7. After seven days of doing something this drastic, it wasn't drastic anymore. It became a part of me. Not really a habit, but more of a lifestyle.
When is the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone? What did you learn about yourself? Did you find that the fears you had prior to the change come to life? Probably not, but I would be curious to hear your stories.