Committing to a healthy lifestyle used to really scare me. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the idea pursuing ethical living, or because I was afraid of vegetables. I simply worried that I wouldn’t be good enough at it to ‘see things through’.
A lot of us have probably met at least one person in our lives who pull off ‘healthy’ like no one else. Perhaps they’re a passionate vegan, or a savvy recycler. Maybe they’ve managed to build a self-sustaining property, or own an exclusively natural makeup bag. They’re incredible people, all of them, but knowing about them used to make me incredibly glum.
What difference would my meat-free days make in comparison to people who give up animal products entirely? Why bother buying secondhand clothes if I couldn’t bring myself to purchase a reusable moon cup? It felt like there was always something more I should be doing, and that until I dideverything,all my efforts were pretty pathetic.
My new motto
As a writer it embarasses me to admit this, but my change of heart was inspired by a blog I’ve completely forgotten the name of. The owner of it was one of the aforementioned health gurus, a yoga-doing, home-cooking, vegetable-eating inspiration. She had an incredible FAQ section too, and one segment was actually inspired by a real quote by Vegan Outreach President, Jack Norris RD:
“Help! I love reading about everything you do and have always wanted to go vegan, but I really, really love cheese. What can I do?”
“Be a vegan except for cheese then.”
It was a straightforward idea, but one that I’d totally overlooked. Far too frequently people confuse beingthebest with doingtheirbest, and if being unable to do everything means you sit around doing nothing… well what good is that?
It’s not an excuse to be lazy
If you’re already doing every healthy, ethical thing you can think of, by no means am I telling you to slack off. Your dedication is incredible and I salute you. What I’m trying to say is that ‘doing the best you can’ looks different from person to person, but every contribution and change is meaningful.
Not all of us have the means to run our own solar-powered home equipped with vegetable garden and grey water tank. For you, living your best possible life could mean making all your own clothes but still using up your synthetic hair products. For me, it might mean being pescatarian for a while because I can’t kick my fish cravings just yet. Doing even a tiny thing is still bigger than making no change at all.
Your ‘failures’ don’t necessarily erase your successes
This is what I try and remember now when those old worries of ‘not seeing things through’ resurface. I once met a proud vegetarian who ate bacon while drunk once and cried when they found out. Granted, it’s disappointing to realise you’ve compromised a goal that’s important to you, but by no means let yourself believe that a slip up is the end.
We’re all constantly growing, reevaluating and making mistakes. It’s because we’re all human. If you manage to lead the best lifestyle you can 90% of the time and screw up 10% of the time,that’s still 90% of your life that you’re staying true to your ideals.Having a few things you can’t compromise on (voluntary or otherwise) won’t make your achievements any less amazing.
Don’t let that fear of not being as good as someone else keep you from being as good asyou.