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transition to a vegan life

The Switchback Method
[Visual Guide]

In this post, I’m going to share with you exactly what The Vegan Switchback Method is and how you can use it to transition to a vegan lifestyle.

I’ve personally used this method to help people go vegan and stay vegan, even when they’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’ and given up.

So no matter if you’re thinking about going vegan, already transitioning, or struggling to stay on track, then you’re going to find this technique super helpful – let’s get started!

transition to a vegan life

The Vegan Switchback Method
[Visual Guide]

In this post, I’m going to share with you exactly what The Vegan Switchback Method is and how you can use it to transition to a vegan lifestyle.

I’ve personally used this method to help people go vegan and stay vegan, even when they’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’ and given up.

So no matter if you’re thinking about going vegan, already transitioning, or struggling to stay on track, then you’re going to find this technique super helpful – let’s get started!

Vegan Switchback Mountain

The Easiest Way To transition to a vegan lifestyle

For the first few years after making the transition to a vegan lifestyle, I spent a lot of time in the online vegan communities.

I noticed a pattern to those who ‘succeeded’ and those that ‘failed’ when going vegan and staying vegan.

While some people think going vegan is incredibly complicated and challenging, I can tell you it’s not. 

With The Vegan Switchback Method, we can transform your journey from this:

Impossible Goal On Cliff Top

To this:

Clear Goals

A transition to a vegan lifestyle is essentially a journey, where you break old habits and build new ones.

After all, for better or worse we are the sum of our habits.

The good news is, when you have the right person teaching you, you can learn new habits fast and make them stick in the long term.

That’s why I’m proud to share what I call, “The Vegan Switchback Method.”

Now, before I share the step-by-step on how to actually use The Vegan Switchback Method in your life, let me give you a little overview.

What Is A Switchback?

A switchback is a method of traversing a steep section of a hill or mountain in a zig-zag pattern, making a very steep gradient easy to navigate.

Switchbacks make the journey longer, but they have the winning advantage of being much safer and easier to travel on, so you’re more likely to reach the destination.

Switchback examples from drone

If you’ve ever driven in a mountainous area then you’ve probably experienced the switchback roads that slowly wind their way up the mountain.

Obviously vehicles couldn’t drive straight up steep terrain, especially in winter conditions. So switchback roads solve the problem.

What Do Switchbacks Have To Do With a transition to a vegan life

Imagine your life as a path that you’re walking along.

Each day you walk further along your path, facing different situations and challenges along the way.

Some things will be easy to overcome and other things will be more challenging.

The bigger the challenge is that you face in life, the steeper the terrain gets, and the harder it is to walk up.

  • Sometimes you might feel like you’re running downhill on your path.
  • Other times you might feel like you’re walking up a long gradual uphill path.
  • And some days might feel like you’re climbing a steep mountain on a narrow path with little room to move.

There is no right or wrong path and each person has a unique path that has given them their unique life experiences.

Life Is A Journey Mountain Example

Unfortunately, most people don’t recognize that they’re on a journey, or that they can choose where their path goes.

Most people also haven’t been taught the knowledge and tools to stay on their path when the journey gets tough.

Instead, they quit, go back the way they came, and think that it’s not for them.

Obviously, if someone is climbing up a mountain with no map, no supplies, and wearing a pair of flip flops it’s not surprising that they don’t reach the summit!

Yet, this is how many people approach attempting to transition to a vegan lifestyle.

Your Journey to Going Vegan

The transition to a vegan lifestyle is a significant change, probably one of the biggest changes you will make in your life.

While the decision to start the journey might be easy, without the right tools and knowledge the day-to-day reality can be tough – like climbing a mountain in flip flops!

You’re likely going to be up against a lifetime of conditioning, habits, routines, traditions, addictions. You can imagine these as heavy rocks in your backpack!

And then you’re probably surrounded by people that will try their best to talk you out of even starting the journey.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the going vegan will touch on every area of your life and will profoundly impact everything from ethics, to habits, to relationships and beyond.

Self development during the transition to a vegan life

With such a journey, it’s only fair to expect to face some challenges along the way.

You might even have moments when it seems like it’s impossible to take another step forward.

But as you navigate your path, there will also be moments where you feel truly unstoppable.

Like you’re on top of the world with breathtaking views.

A place where confidence and motivation will ripple out and impact every area of your life.

And when you reach the summit, you will know it’s all been worth it.

You will be filled with pride and be motivated to change the world because you know what is possible, and you will have the knowledge to help others on their journey.

What Will going vegan Be Like for you?

Because we all have our unique path and unique life experiences, the challenges we each face during the transition to a vegan life will be different.

Different people with different paths during a Self development during the transition to a vegan lifestyle

What you find easy, someone else will find hard.

And what you find hard, someone else will find easy.

There are many specific reasons someone might struggle to go vegan or to ‘fall off the wagon.’ 

Though we can generally lump them into 3 core areas.

#1: Culture

We live in a culture that views animals not as individuals, but as property without rights.

There are objects whose only function is to give their family, their body, and ultimately their life to us for profit and the momentary pleasure of taste.

While it’s socially acceptable to extend our compassion to a handful of companion animals such as dogs and cats.

There is a strong stigma surrounding caring for animals that are exploited.

We’re told that they’re somehow less deserving for whatever arbitrary reason with decide, despite most people calling themselves ‘animal lovers.’

Pets VS Farm Animals Cognitive Dissonance

This deeply embedded behavior is so pervasive that it’s unnoticed until someone doesn’t follow the social norms and takes a stand against all animal exploitation…

 A vegan.

This then makes them the target of verbal abuse and peer pressure, as others try to justify their position of paying for animal cruelty.

For many people, going vegan will be the first time they are in the minority, and outside of the social norms, which can present other challenges such as:

  • How to communicate effectively with non-vegans.
  • How to deal with passive-aggressive comments.
  • How to come to terms with living in an animal eating culture.

Without the right tools and skillset to deal with these often unprovoked verbal attacks, it can be stressful and traumatic.

Especially if dealing with it on a daily basis from ‘friends’ and family.

#2: Conditioning

From an early age, we have been conditioned to behave a certain way and have developed coping mechanisms to deal with the challenges that we face.

The process of developing habits routines and addictions

This unconscious process manifests in the stories we tell ourselves, our self-identity, the habits we develop, the routines we live in, and even our addictions.

Unless these areas have been consciously addressed, then many of us simply haven’t been taught the necessary skills to navigate a challenging path.

  • How to break bad habits and build ones that support lifestyle goals.
  • How to overcome addictions and live on our own terms.
  • How to define our life purpose, goals, and core values.
  • How to escape the trap of instant gratification and embrace the journey.
#3: Perfectionism

I’ll probably get some flak for saying this, but there is a damaging myth which suggests that veganism is an all or nothing approach.

Either you’re 100% vegan or, you’re not vegan at all.

All or nothing transition to a vegan life

And I get it, either you’re against animal exploitation… or you’re not.

However, the path during a transition to a vegan life can be hard.

This level of perfectionism simply isn’t attainable for most people, especially when starting their journey.

For most people, a sustainable and longterm solution would look more like:

Gradual transition to a vegan lifestyle

If you’re setting off on a new path on challenging terrain, then you want to know that if you fall over that there is support for you.

The last thing you want to know is that you’re on a cliff edge and one mistake is game over.

It’s Not Your Fault

  • Between living in a culture that views animals as property.

  • Not being taught the skillset to effectively navigate a challenging path.

  • And having the lofty goal of perfectionism to hold yourself accountable to.


From this perspective, it’s not surprising that so many people ‘fall off the wagon’ and give up during the transition to a vegan life.

So if you’ve tried going vegan and didn’t make it to the summit, then I want you to know that it’s not your fault.

The reality is, you were faced with a challenge that you simply didn’t necessary knowledge and tools to overcome.

So, if this sounds like you, then the good news is that The Vegan Switchback Method can he alp you!

And if you haven’t started your journey yet, then no worries either – consider this the key to your success that will save you a lot of time, effort, and frustration.

So, you may be wondering, “What is The Vegan Switchback Method and how do it use it?”

transition to a vegan life

The Simple Process For Using “The Vegan Switchback Method”

There is a simple three-step framework for using the “The Vegan Switchback Method.”

#1: Get Clear On Your Goals
#2: Plan Your Switchbacks
#3: The Two Strike Rule

The best bit is that it can work for you no matter what your current goals are.

  • Eliminate one animal product
  • Eat vegan once a day
  • Go 100% vegan


Now, let’s go over each step in detail.

Planning your path - The transition to a vegan lifestyle

#1: Get Clear On Your Goals

The big picture is obviously to transition to a vegan lifestyle 100%, but getting there might not be a direct path and you might have to break it down into smaller goals.

As you now know, to reach the vegan summit you’re going to have to address life long habits, routines, addictions, which can take time.

Some people will have a small hill to climb, others might have a mountain.

There is no “normal” path, so you will need to use your judgment and decide what’s best for you.

Let’s say that you want to be 100% vegan overnight but you’re addicted to dairy.

In that case, it going to be a tough goal to stick to and you’ll probably be setting yourself up for failure in the longterm.

Which would look something like this:

Trying to give up dairy, but failing, during a transition to a vegan diet.

Your goals should be challenging, but not impossible.

There’s no point in sprinting at the start of a marathon if you end up quitting before you reach the end.

So, something like this would be better:

How to beat dairy during a transition to a vegan diet

So if you feel like you’ve got a big mountain to conquer, then there is no shame in breaking up your vegan journey into manageable goals.

Here are some examples for you:

Mountain with 4 goals for a transition to a vegan life
Example 1

For someone eating animal products regularly.

Goal 1: Eat vegan once per week
Goal 2: Eat vegan once per day
Goal 3: Eat vegan twice per day
Goal 4: Fully vegan

Mountain with 2 goals for a transition to a vegan life
Example 2

On the other hand, you might be someone that eats very few animal products, so you might have fewer goals:

Goal 1: Eat vegan twice per day
Goal 2: Fully vegan

Mountain with 6 goals for a transition to a vegan life
Example 3

Perhaps you want to overcome 1 animal product a time.

Goal 1: Remove cow meat
Goal 2: Remove chicken meat
Goal 3: Remove pig meat
Goal 4: Remove dairy
Goal 5: Remove eggs
Goal 6: Remove fish and sea creatures

What’s the best way to transition to a vegan lifestyle?

When it comes to going vegan, there is no size fits all and you don’t have to get it right the first time.

The Vegan Switchback Method is a framework you can apply to any vegan transition, no matter if that’s overnight, over a few weeks or few months.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on how to go vegan (and stay vegan) then check out my post:

Going Vegan… And Staying Vegan: How To Navigate The Vegan Maze

And if you’re looking for more transition ideas, then why not Try One of These Seven Methods

#2: Plan Your Switchbacks

Now you’ve set your goals, it’s time to plot out your switchbacks.

A switchback can be some knowledge you acquire in a specific area, a tool you start using, or a skill that you develop.

You will have to decide on the switchbacks you need for the goals you have set for yourself.

Don’t worry about getting it perfect, you can always come back and adjust by adding more switchbacks or removing some as you go.

Here are some examples for you, following on from the ones above:

Mountain with 4 goals and switchbacks for a transition to a vegan life
Example 1

Goal 1: Eat vegan once per week

Switchback 1: Learn new vegan recipes

Goal 2: Eat vegan once per day

Switchback 2: Learn how to overcome cheese addiction
Switchback 3: Learn about animal agriculture
Switchback 4: Learn about vegan nutrition 

Goal 3: Eat vegan twice per day

Switchback 5: Learn how to break old habits and build new ones
Switchback 6: Learn how to build effective routines around your habits

Goal 4: Fully vegan

Switchback 7: Learn how to communicate effectively with non-vegans

Mountain with 2 goals and switchbacks for a transition to a vegan life
Example 2

Goal 1: Eat vegan twice per day

Switchback 1: Learn about vegan nutrition
Switchback 2: Learn new vegan recipes
Switchback 3: Learn how to break old habits and build new ones

Goal 2: Fully vegan

Switchback 4: Learn how to communicate effectively with non-vegans

Mountain with 6 goals and switchbacks for a transition to a vegan life
Example 3

Goal 1: Remove cow meat

Switchback 1: Replace beef with mock meat

Goal 2: Remove chicken meat

Switchback 2: Replace chicken with mock meat
Switchback 3: Learn some vegan recipes

Goal 3: Remove pig meat

Switchback 4: Replace pork with mock meat
Switchback 5: Learn how to communicate effectively with non-vegans

Goal 4: Remove dairy

Switchback 6: Learn how to overcome dairy addiction
Switchback 7: Learn how to break old habits and build new ones

Goal 5: Remove eggs

Switchback 8: Learn about egg alternatives
Switchback 9: Learn more vegan recipes

Goal 6: Fully Vegan

Switchback 10: Learn how to optimize your vegan lifestyle
Switchback 11: Develop purpose, core values, life goals and motivation.

#3: The Two Strike Rule

Over the next days and weeks, as you start navigating your own path towards going vegan you might slip up here and there.

For example, perhaps you didn’t hit your goal of 1 vegan meal today, or perhaps you didn’t hit the goal of being fully vegan today.

If you trip once, then no worries, accidents happen so there no reason to change your path and you can continue on as planned.

But, if you trip twice in a row, meaning that you don’t hit your goal 2 times in a row.

Then you need to take a look at your goals and switchbacks and modify them as the current terrain is too steep.

A journey with 2 slips in a row

Perhaps you need to add a couple more switchbacks before you can move on, or maybe you need to add another goal to spread out the journey a bit more.

If you’re unsure of how to adjust your path to what you need to focus on, then reflect on what was happening at the time you slipped.

The answers to the following questions will give you feedback on your current situation.

Feedback

There is no need to label feedback as “good” or “bad” – it is neutral.

Feedback is information that you can use to reaccess your goals and switchbacks while addressing any areas of weakness.

Remain objective and keep emotions out of your decisions.

  • When did it happen?
  • How did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who were you with when it happened?
  • What information, knowledge, support, guidance to you need to prevent this from happening again?

What’s With The Two Strike Rule?

Two strikes equals a habit

You might be thinking, “Surely it’s better to never slip?”

And you’re right, in an ideal world, you would never slip up.

But, for most people seeking perfection isn’t going to end well…

Especially when you’re just starting out new journey on unknown terrain, with so many variables, many of which are out of your control, such as friends, family, work…

Instead, it’s better to have a protocol like the Two Strike Rule that you can follow when things don’t go to plan so you can mitigate damage.

Let me explain…

If you trip up twice in a row, that’s then the start of a new habit.

A habit that when repeated over time will go against your longterm goal and will eventually lead you back to where you started.

You see, it’s not the first mistake up that does the damage, it’s the compounding effect of doing it again and again which builds into a new habit.

There is no point in tripping up, over and over again.

It’s the equivalent of trying to climb a steep rocky part of a mountain in flip flops again.. and again, at some point, you have to find a new path.

That’s why after 2 strikes in a row, you need to remap your goals and switchbacks to suit the steeper terrain.

Then you continue on your way!

You're probably now wondering... “Does this really work?”

The answer is yes!

Your transition to a vegan life will be significantly easier if you use The Vegan Switchback Method…

That being said,  you need to recognize that it’s a process…

Three Clear Goals

The Vegan Switchback Method gives you a framework for self-accountability and a methodical approach to problem-solving when going vegan.

That being said, it is not a silver bullet and there are no shortcuts to making big life changes that stick in the longterm.

Using this method will put you ahead of most people who:

  • Don’t set goals, but just hope.
  • Don’t map out their journey and end up lost.
  • Don’t operate from a proactive position and make poor reactive decisions.
  • Don’t make logical feedback-based decisions, but emotional ego-based ones.
  • Don’t invest in their self-development so they can take their life to the next level.


And the list goes on.

And like I said, it’s not their fault – they simply didn’t have the right knowledge and tools to achieve their goals.

Now, before I finish up this post I want you to remember one thing:

Be honest with yourself

If you’re trying to get a quick result without putting the time to learn, grow, and evolve as a person, then you’re probably going to end up frustrated with your lack of progress and end up back where you started.

But when you use the Vegan Switchback Method with purpose and intention can help make your life goals become a reality.

It’s also a method that can be used in other areas of personal transformation and habit building!

Lastly, if you’re looking for a specific step-by-step guide on how to go vegan (and stay vegan) then you’ll want to check out:

Going Vegan… And Staying Vegan: How To Navigate The Vegan Maze

Right, time to get out those hiking boots!

Now, it's over to you!

There you have it…

The tried and tested Vegan Switchback Method!

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