What is commitment without dedication?
I do something called ‘Meat Free Monday’, because you know me I love a good alliterative occasion.
Basically, on Monday I am, for all intents and purposes, Vegetarian. Now the point of this post isn’t to try and sell anyone on the idea of vegetarianism, nor is it’s point to boast and claim I am setting some form of example at all. Many people have their own reason for being Vegetarian/Vegan; be it the treatment of animals, the industry at large, simply not liking the taste, or all of the above. Personally, I completely agree that the Meat Industry is doing more harm than good to our world, but I’m a fussy eater who just happens to love the taste of meat… So, what am I going to do?
Well, ‘Meat Free Monday’ for a start. It’s a small window into the life of a Vegetarian. It makes it easier for me to imagine a future as a vegetarian, and it opens my eyes to the food options out there that I actually quite like (or, at the very least, could get used to). Stocking my fridge and freezer ready for a Monday actually means I have more options in during the week and, what at first was almost a punishment to me, has just become a way of life. I’ve also discovered I actually prefer Spaghetti Bolognaise made with Quorn Mince, rather than beef! Something I never thought I’d say. Not to mention it’s far healthier! All that said, one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt from this isn’t simply “How could I be vegetarian?”, it isn’t even “What options are out there for me?“, it’s about dedication.
See, without being ‘fully’ vegetarian, ‘Meat Free Monday’ isn’t exactly set in stone. What’s to stop me, say, moving it to Tuesday. I’m still doing my one meat free day a week, even if it does upset my alliteration obsession. This cross-roads actually occurred the other Monday when Kirsty was going out to a gig and had very little time to eat. She wanted a McDonalds (a Non-Vegetarian option, no less) and so my mind began to consider putting off ‘Meat Free Monday’ and simply doing it Tuesday, or Wednesday. Then it kind of occurred to me that, I really am just a Vegetarianism Tourist, sampling a lifestyle that some people make as a truly moral choice and a great amount of effort into doing. What first started as an activity to simply cut down on meat, albeit one day at a time, now means a bit more to me. By flippantly moving the day about I am completely undermining my dedication. Vegetarians can’t move their days around, can’t have a little bit of meat here and there as they choose (well, they can, nothings stopping them, but you get the meaning…). I decided that, even with Kirsty going out (always a weakness for me when it comes to my eating habits), even when faced with a McDonalds (which smelt, SO good and I love Chicken Selects with that spicy BBQ dip), that I had to stick to my guns and eat a meal that my vegetarian friends (of which there are many – and it’s multiplying) would be proud of.
The true lesson here isn’t about eating meat; eat what you like. The lesson I’ve learnt here is about commitment and dedication; it’s about staying on a path you set yourself for. As soon as you skip one day of something, you’re likely to skip another, and another, and another; you undermine yourself and you show yourself that your goal can be put to one side when it becomes slightly hard or it doesn’t quite fit your plan.
You can apply this to anything you’re trying to do; if you’re trying to write every day, go to the gym three times a week, or trying to eat a little healthy. Of course, there are genuine reasons to put a hold on something, sometimes you’re required to give yourself a little leniency. Often though, we can talk ourselves into giving up for ‘just a day‘. That one day when you’re that bit too tired for the gym… when really it’s more that you can’t be arsed. That one day when you’re in a rush so might as well have a McDonalds, when really you could just as easily grab a salad or some soup. If you’re anything like me, you can talk yourself into giving up these things fairly easily. If you’re anything like me, all the best intentions in the world can be put off for an extra hour in bed, or an extra takeaway, or an extra box of chocolates. However, the more we set a good example to ourselves, the more we power through those moments when we really could stick to our goals, if only we pushed ourselves a little bit more, if only we didn’t give in to ourselves… the easier these goals are to maintain and take forward, and the harder they are to simply put off in the future.