Welcome 2019

I welcome this year with open arms. I can feel the fingertips of my mind finally grasping the idea of commitment and intention. I will live this year with more intention and I wholeheartedly commit to my goals. I will no longer simply ‘hope for the best’, but instead this year I will operate under the mantra of “If you want it, then go get it”.

In anticipation for this year and to give myself the best chance of success, I spent most of November and December 2018 delving deep to think about what it is that I actually want. I also spent a significant amount of time listening, watching and reading about how other people are setting their goals for the new year, what changes they want to make and how they planned to make these things a reality. It helped open up my mind to what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it.

One of my favourite Youtubers ‘muchelleb‘ had the brilliant idea of focusing on quarterly goals instead of yearly goals to avoid getting overwhelmed. It’s such a simple idea, but in practice it makes everything seem so much more achievable and easier to commit to.

For my first quarter goals I have kept it simple:

  • Eat well
  • Sleep well
  • Exercise
  • No buy

This then expands to:

  • Eat well = eat vegan/keto 3 days a week = 13 weeks x 3 days/wk = 39 days
  • Sleep well = in bed by 10pm every weeknight
  • Exercise = workout/gym 3 times a week = 13 weeks x 3 times/wk = 39 workouts
  • No buy = no new things, only on necessities and replacements

To me having 4 very specific goals which are then broken down to smaller steps makes it significantly easier to remember and for my brain to grasp. Knowing that I only need to do 39 workouts over 3 months is a lot more motivating and a lot more tangible than simply “exercise more”.

I have also finally begun to understand that failure is not an excuse to stop, instead it’s a reason to keep going. Every failure is simply another piece of evidence to show that I was strong enough to have gotten up and tried again.

Because I don’t want to die

While watching minimalist videos over the last year, it was inevitable that I fell down the rabbit hole of Youtube to land on videos that veered off onto other tangents and topics. One of these topics was veganism which was spoken about by Youtubers who also happened to be minimalists as well, e.g. Sustainably Vegan, Madeleine Olivia, Blue Ollis, etc.

While I’ve always admired people who could stop eating meat and meat products, I never really saw myself becoming a vegetarian or a vegan. It’s not because I don’t care about the animals, because I do – I just didn’t care about them enough to quit meat, mostly because I love meat.

I have been trying to eat less meat over the last few months and to eat more vegetables and fruit, but I’d be lying if I said meat wasn’t a major part of my daily diet.

However, today I watched a documentary called ‘What the Health’ and it was EYE-OPENING. Like a large percentage of people (I assume), I have never viewed meat as unhealthy or dangerous. Sure, if its deep fried, covered in oil, etc then yes, I would consider it unhealthy – but just normal meat or even processed meat like ham? no, I would definitely not have classified that as unhealthy.

This documentary completely obliterates that perspective. The fact that process meats have the same level of classification for cancer as cigarettes is mind blowing. Especially as a very recent ex-smoker, when I compare the number of times that I was told smoking was bad and that it caused cancer and to the number of times I’ve heard that meat is bad and can cause cancer, the difference is staggering – probably 100000:1.

I mean even 10 years ago when I started smoking, everyone told me it was bad, I shouldn’t smoke, I’d get cancer, it would kill me. There were advertisements everywhere (magazines, tv, posters, even on cigarette packets) that said smoking caused cancer. The price of a packet of cigarettes went up from $9 a pack when I started smoking to $34 a pack when I quit a few weeks ago due to government taxes implemented to discourage smoking.

And in those 10 years, how many times did I hear that meat was bad and can cause cancer? Maybe 2 times and one of them was today when I watched the documentary. How many advertisements have I seen that said meat was bad? None. How much tax has the government put on meat to discourage people from eating it? I don’t think any.

I’ve read some of the reviews which criticised the film, saying that some of the information provided in the documentary was not accurate e.g. even though processed meat is in the same category of risk for cancer as cigarettes, they are not as dangerous. But to me that is just semantics – it’s like saying fully automatic assault rifles and semiautomatic rifles may both be in the category of guns, but semiautomatics are not as dangerous as fully automatic weapons. I bet if you’re the person who has either of those guns pointed to your face, that small distinction between the different levels of danger is probably something you’d overlook in that moment because if either of those guns were to fire a bullet, the result would be the same.

Anyway, the point is my view on veganism has completely changed. It’s not just about saving the animals anymore, it’s about saving myself (although saving animals is an added bonus). I know that’s probably a very selfish way of being motivated to become a vegan, but I’m just being honest. Moving forward I’m going to try to gradually eliminate meat and then meat products from my diet and transition to a full plant based diet. If I succeed, then I would’ve done one of the most difficult things ever (at least for me because I’ve never thought I’d ever even consider being a vegan).

I would highly recommend everyone to watch this documentary. You may not agree with the film or agree with me, but I think either way you’ll get something out of it.