It’s an emotional decision to embrace whole-food, plant-based, vegan eating. Maybe you’re in the throes of trying to make the decision for yourself, or maybe you’re counseling a friend who’s considering making the leap. What can you do? Taking a “10/10/10” perspective might help.
“10/10/10” is a simple framework, invented by Suzy Welch, to help you make decisions that have a strong emotional component. It works like this: Imagine that you resolve to go vegan today, this minute. Project yourself into the future and ask these questions:
- “10 minutes from now … how will you feel?”
- “10 months from now … how will you feel?”
- “10 years from now … how will you feel?”
Your responses to the 10/10/10 questions might sound like these (shown in italics) …
- 10 minutes from now – “I’m nervous, but excited about taking the first step.” And, “I’m wondering what I’ll eat for my next meal.” I think it’s the conflict between these short-term emotions (nervous excitement vs. uncertainty) that prevents us from trying something new or challenging. But, if you can take the next step and project yourself forward to …
- 10 months from now – “I’ve figured out the essentials – grocery shopping, cooking, eating out, etc.” Also, “I’m making progress with my health, my weight, and other goals.” By stepping into the future 10 months and looking back, you give yourself mental time to overcome the uncertainty. You give yourself time to solve the problems of what to buy, how to cook, and what to order at restaurants. And, you give yourself time to see actual progress. Then, you can take the long view …
- 10 years from now – “I see a sunny future where my health is good, my weight is good, and I’m living a happy, active life.” In addition, “I don’t want to see that 10 years have passed and that I’m still having the same, or worse, health issues and weight issues – and that I didn’t try an approach that might have really helped.” This latter statement is the regretful lament – and it’s powerful. It’s a well-established psychological principle that people regret much more the risks they didn’t take than the ones they did.
The value of the “10/10/10” approach is that it helps you put your short-term emotions in perspective. Sometimes, short-term emotions can perplex us and cause us to drag our feet – to stick with the status quo rather than take a bold step forward. With much to gain, you or your friend might decide that trying the vegan approach is a challenge well worth taking.