posted on 2022-02-05

Scoring My Veganism Predictions

Six months ago I vowed to adopt the vegan diet and set up a step-by-step plan to get there. I also made six predictions about how things would turn out. I prophesied:

On February 1st 2022,

  1. I will not have purchased any non-vegan cosmetics, carmine, beeswax, wool, silk or down after August 1st 2021 ⇒ 90%
  2. I will not have consumed honey (except to finish the jar we already have at home) after September 1st 2021 ⇒ 60%
  3. I will not have consumed any dairy product (except for cheese) after October 1st 2021 ⇒ 50%
  4. I will not have consumed any eggs at home after November 1st 2021 ⇒ 70%
  5. I will not have consumed any cheese at home after December 1st 2021 ⇒ 80%
  6. I will not have consumed any eggs or cheese at all after January 1st 2022 ⇒ 80%

Drawing of cow by Viktoriia Shcherbak.

I am pleased to report that I am now, in fact, vegan. I have abstained from animal products completely starting January 1st, but to a large degree also during the fall and early winter. That said, I did not do perfectly on all these steps. Specifically, I had dairy products once (without really thinking about it) in November, making the third statement false. Here is how the predictions turned out:

  1. I will not have purchased any non-vegan cosmetics, carmine, beeswax, wool, silk or down after August 1st 2021 ⇒ 90% (✓ True)
  2. I will not have consumed honey (except to finish the jar we already have at home) after September 1st 2021 ⇒ 60% (✓ True)
  3. I will not have consumed any dairy product (except for cheese) after October 1st 2021 ⇒ 50% (✕ False)
  4. I will not have consumed any eggs at home after November 1st 2021 ⇒ 70% (✓ True)
  5. I will not have consumed any cheese at home after December 1st 2021 ⇒ 80% (✓ True)
  6. I will not have consumed any eggs or cheese at all after January 1st 2022 ⇒ 80% (✓ True)

I wrote last time that I “put a fairly pessimistic prediction for the dairy products rule because those products are contained in so many things, including a lot of sweets” and this was indeed the one that I failed. I don’t know why the honey prediction was only at 60%, because that turned out to be no problem at all. The others seem reasonable.

Am I cheating, making predictions about things over which I have actual control? Well, yes. Don’t take this as evidence of my being a good or bad forecaster. Take this as no more than a fun exercise of self-knowledge that you too can try at home.

Am I a fool not to have given higher predictions across the board, hoping that they’d might be self-fulfilling prophecies? While I did think about this, and while the lower predictions really did make failing a little bit more palatable, them having given me a sort of license to do so, actually changing one’s future behaviour by making predictions one doesn’t really believe seems to require a self-deception of which I’m not capable. In the end, it didn’t matter, as the only step I failed, I failed without really thinking about what I was doing.

Am I lucky to have had a vegan wife, access to all sorts of plant-based alternative foods and my home in one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world? You bet!