What’s next after falling off the horse

The following is a draft post I wrote back in June. I never got around to publishing it but now it’s so far past the whole getting-back-on-the-horse and I’m not even thinking about it really anymore. I’m over it. Past that phase, and live has taken on new directions. Also, it occurred to me that the whole premise of the horse analogy was majorly off because the phrase is “falling off the wagon” not the horse haha.


I’ve been thinking a lot about knowing when to quit again. This time it’s trickier because I’ve experienced success after many failures and wanting to quit. Remember all those pie crusts?

There are a few reasons for this. I fell off the horse with running. There were a few contributors: a rainy week, a week with my husband away on a work trip, a serious lack of motivation. And while I was doing great with a vision of me crossing the finish line of my first race, I started feeling overwhelmed with all my goals.

It got me thinking about this idea of “falling off the horse” and the horse itself.

In horse racing if a horse gets injured, oftentimes it is put down because the injuries are so enormous that it’s cruel to keep it alive. Or at least this is what I’m told, maybe animal activists will tell me otherwise (probably that racing horses is cruel). Anyways, as I was thinking about this image, I wondered if rather than getting back on the horse, I needed to put the horse down.

Maybe I should give up this goal I had of entering a race I had in mind (which I didn’t tell you guys about!)? Maybe it’s OK that life is a lot more than I had anticipated right now? Not that I’ll give up running entirely because it’s important that I have physical exercise, but right now maybe no race goal. I think the goal I need right now is to enjoy life and keep on top of my daily and weekly tasks because that isn’t as easy as it may sound. I guess it sounds kind of lame that I would give up this quickly, (maybe not because I still do have a growing and increasingly active 8 month old!) but there is more to the story that I will share in another post!

Then again, I spent 4 months with my son hoping his naps would just get magically better the same way they got magically worse until I decided to do something about it to help him nap better (hearing his cranky whining all day long was not a positive contributor to my mental health!). I kept thinking there would be a better time to do it or maybe I wouldn’t have to because it would just change. There’s always something that will come up to mess with our plans, but we need to figure out how to persevere despite those constant inhibitors.

Addendum: Where I am now: I plan to get my fitness life in order again but there are some big changes coming up in my life – two very major ones – that I will blog about. I’m just giving myself grace for now and crossing my fingers that the scale wont lurch any closer to my pregnancy weight than it already has.

Give up or Keep going?


I’m on vacation this week and taking a break from the internets. These are scheduled posts. Forgive me for not responding in the comments until next week.

I think about this question every time I make pastry. I am so bad it it. The process looks something like this:

  • This time will be different
  • See? It’s going well!
  • Ugh. Stop tearing and separating.
  • OK. Moment of truth. The part where I transfer it to the pie plate.

That last part, is where my blood starts to boil up, adrenaline shoots through my body. A string of rather vulgar swearwords come to mind and sometimes I even say them. Out loud. Because I’m just that angry at myself and the blasted pie crust that it just wont do what I want it to. Despite all the practice, I just can’t make it work. (Sure, I might be using non-traditional flours like spelt and gluten free stuff. Yes, that does make it harder. I have confirmed this as I watched my mother-in-law — the Patron Saint of Pretty Pies — struggle to make the spelt/gluten free crust work for her).

Penelope wishes she had quit:

“I was a figure skater growing up. I skated three days a week at 5am and most days after school as well. But I couldn’t do double-rotation jumps. I’m simply too large. I am tall and big-boned. I am too heavy to rotate in the air twice, even as a very skinny fifth-grader. I wish someone had told me to stop focusing on figure skating because it would never work for me. I wish someone had helped me find what I’d be great at.”

So how do I know whether in this case Practice-Makes-Perfect or Girlfriend,-Give-Up-and-Spend-Your-Time-on-Things-You’ll-Actually-Improve-On?

A Few Principles:

  1. Is your ambition leading you to neglect valuable parts of your life? I haven’t gotten to the point where I have a singular focus on making pie crust. I am not neglecting my family or values so that I can get this frigging crust to submit. It is possible that this could happen in other areas of our lives. Certain goals require a huge time commitment.  That’s not necessarily bad. But if it is negatively affecting things you really value, that might be your cue to quit.
  2. Are you afraid of success? Do you want to quit because you’re afraid of the unknown associated with success? Your life might change a lot if you get published. What if you do become a hugely successful lawyer and speaker? What then? That can be scary.
  3. Consider your commitment. Why did you say you would do this thing? Who did you commit to doing it with? What does breaking the commitment mean for you and them? If you have a physical injury that prevents you from continuing, that’s one thing. It’s another if you’re just being flaky.
  4. Do you (like me) struggle to finish everything you start? Maybe you’ve never really figured out how to coach/motivate yourself into finishing something. You’re easily distracted and can always find something newer, trendier or more interesting (for a time) to focus on. This one is a big one I’m trying to learn.
  5. Does the payoff of quitting outweigh the investment you’ve put in? You’ve put a lot of money and time into achieving your goal and you’re considering giving it all up. Sometimes it’s good to quit but we fall subject to commitment bias and think “I can’t quit now, look how much I’ve invested!” Sometimes we should give up anyways. Sometimes we should keep going. If you have invested a lot and still want to quit, consider why that is? (Is it fear of success? Reality sinking in that you just aren’t capable like you thought you were?)

I don’t think there’s an easy answer. I have thought my response was common sense, only to have people think I made the wrong choice. We don’t all want the exact same things from life, and we’re not all going to approach everything the same way.

How do you decide whether to quit or keep going?

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