I’m excited for 2017.
Now, those who know me would probably raise an eyebrow at that statement. I’m a cynic, a pessimist; when am I excited about anything? But the end of each year is a time where I take a couple of weeks away from the office, catch up on books and movies, and think about my intentions for the new year.
2016 was rough. The world’s stage has reminded us that human and non-human animals are suffering under horrible circumstances, and the nation’s political race was a reality show turned real-life nightmare. Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s up to all of us to pull our heads out of the sand and pay attention.
If you’re paying attention, and if you’ve started making resolutions for when you open a brand-new calendar, indulge me for a minute by answering this question: are you doing, or are you trying?
Yoda, the Jedi Master who trained Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, may be best known for the quote, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” It’s a call to commit yourself to something, and as a vegan, I like the sound of that. “I’ll try” suggests “but I may fail.” “Doing” means growing, and maybe in growth, there can’t be failure. We can all be more Yoda in 2017.
Be SMART with your goals.
Anyone who’s ever been to a work seminar probably remembers the concept of SMART goals. If you want to achieve something, you’ll find it easier if you make your goal:
- Time bound
So, let’s say you want to go vegan. (If that’s you, yay! Congratulations and welcome!) If you’re ready to go cold tofu, then, you, my friend, are awesome. I’ve been vegan for seven years, but it took me about a year and a half to get there. It takes all kinds, and it goes down all roads.
Using my slower transition as an example, a SMART Goal might look like this:
- S – I will give up land animals and milk this month.
- M – I’ll buy vegan meat substitutes and plant-based milks to replace their animal counterparts in my meals.
- A – I’ll achieve this easily, because said products are readily available at the local grocer.
- R – I can realistically stop eating land animals and milk quickly; this is leading me closer to a future goal of veganism.
- T – I will complete this goal by the end of the month.
Then, the following month, move on to the next animal product – fish, or eggs, or leather. You get the picture.
Small changes can change the world
We’ve all made resolutions on January 1, only to have tossed them aside by February 1. You want to change the world, but you can barely change your mindset when you wake up each morning.
I get it.
But I also have learned that while I can’t do everything, I can do something, each day, to
try to make this world a little kinder. (Sorry, almost forgot: there is no try!) Once you stop boxing yourself in by impossible expectations, anything is possible.
What are you excited about for 2017? What goals do you have? What will you do (or do not)?
Whatever your answers, I hope that the new year is a great one for all of us!
Feature photo by Thomas Hawk