November 14, 2022

Admitting Defeat

Something I'm starting to get better at over the years is admitting when my plans and/or goals don't go my way. The biggest example has been my Wednesday Weigh-Ins. While I was losing weight over the past year and a half, I continued my weigh-ins every single week, regardless of whether I'd gained weight or not. Previously, I would just stop posting them because it was embarrassing to share that I'd "failed" or just plain not met a goal. I felt like gaining weight meant I didn't try hard enough. 

Over time, I realize how stupid this mentality was. Nobody *really* cares about whether I reach my goals. Nobody *really* cares about whether I gained weight. They don't think about it all day--or even think about it at all--except for the moment they are reading my blog.

This really changed my attitude about running, too. One day I just realized that NOBODY CARES what my finish times are at races or what my training pace is. The only person that even thinks about it is me! When other people tell me their race times, I don't think anything of it--and I certainly don't judge them. I simply don't care how long it took them to run 5K or 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Unless they run a ridiculously fast finish time, it doesn't even really register. I used to think that it was important--that I had to run "respectable" times--but would anyone even remember what my finish time was, even 60 seconds after I told them? I'm guessing nope.

Did I reach my goal in this race? It was a half-marathon, but I don't know if I finished in 1:50-something or 2:30-something or a number in between. No clue!

I've heard a LOT of people's finishing times over the years since I started running, and I can honestly tell you that I don't remember a single one of them.

The other day, I was trying to think of what my finish time was in my first marathon, in Cleveland. I honestly couldn't remember! I knew it was around 5:30, but if even *I* can't remember, why would I think anyone else would?

When I worked at Curves years ago, we would weigh and measure women. I weighed people so often that the number would never even register in my brain; I just looked at the number and copied it down in their file. It was kind of like when you drive a familiar route every day, you don't really remember the drive because it's so automatic. The number could have been 120 pounds or 350 pounds and I wouldn't have given it any thought, let alone remember what it was. It was sad that a lot of the women felt like they had to explain or maybe worried that I was judging them; in reality, their weight meant absolutely nothing to me.

When I finally had this "aha!" moment that NOBODY CARES but me, it was freeing in a way. I felt so much less pressure--pressure that I had put on myself--and I stopped trying to be perfect all the time. I have failed at a lot of things in my life, and I'm going to fail at a lot more. Anybody who says that they've never failed is lying.

I'm ambitious when I set goals, probably to a fault. I dream big and plan out everything and expect it to go perfectly. Once in a while it does, but most of the time it doesn't. And when I do succeed, it very rarely goes according to plan. One of the hardest parts of blogging about my life is that my goals and failures are out there for everyone to see. If I fail or I quit or I just change my mind about what I'm working toward, it's hard to admit! It's hard not to think about people judging me from behind their computer screens.

Having the "nobody cares but me" attitude has helped with that so much. I'm the only one putting the pressure on myself to reach goals--whether it's weigh loss or running or something else entirely--and now, admitting defeat is getting so much easier.

So what is it that inspired this post? Three days ago, I quit 75 Hard. I didn't just fail at a goal. I quit! Plain and simple. I decided it wasn't a good time for me to take on such a huge challenge--I had SO much going on over the past few months and I need a mental break. A mental toughness challenge is literally the exact the opposite of what I want or need right now.

I know that I was really excited going into it, and I had made up my mind that I was going to finish it, no matter what. I would not quit. I would be "perfect" for 75 days.

Quitting 75 Hard was prompted by my having to stop working on finishing the bathroom/bedroom project to go work out for 45 minutes, only to work on the bathroom again, only to then exercise another 45 minutes. Meanwhile, I was still doing all of the other stuff I had to do during the day. I was hating it! I was in the zone while drywalling and then I found it really difficult to work on it it again after exercising.

And yes, this is the whole point of 75 Hard--it's *supposed* to be inconvenient and hard--but I'm not mentally tough right now. I want to finish the bathroom because it's been weighing on me for three months. I know I could do both if I was feeling mentally tough, but I want a break. I want things to be easy for a little while.

Despite admitting defeat, I feel really good about quitting. I don't feel bad about myself, and I don't feel like I "failed". I just feel like I am doing what is best for me. Maybe I'll try again down the road, maybe I won't... but I am not going to beat myself up over this attempt. I've failed and succeeded in tons of goals or challenges throughout my lifetime--and interestingly, the ones I remember are the successes. 

I don't remember the races that I failed to hit my time goal; but I do remember the ones that I succeeded. And I think that's a good thing! Nobody wants to dwell on their failures.

This photo is a from a race that I remember. I worked SO HARD for months to run a PR in the 10K. I trained my ass off. And I beat my goal time by 19 seconds! 

I do still have the goal of Michael Goggins' 4x4x48 challenge, though--I'd really like to do that one day. And the past week and a half has sparked an excitement about running again. Not because I have to, but because I want to. So I'll continue to run, and if/when I feel ready, I'll take on the 4x4x48!

Now, I'm off to work on the bathroom... and I won't be taking an exercise break ;) 


  1. I can't wait to see your new bathroom... And it's always the right decision if you are taking on too much, at once... You didn't fail, you probably grew in wisdom 🙂

  2. Good for you! Recognizing what you need and giving yourself grace are both awesome things.

  3. Good for you, Katie!! (I actually skip all your running posts with stats because they aren't interesting to me and I love stats/measurements 😬) can't wait to see the bathroom when it's finished.

  4. Sounds like a sensible decision! I considered trying it for a half a second, but decided it would be crazy with bad weather and the holidays coming up.

  5. Hi - I was going to do it with you and did not, because it was not a good time. I know he is big on the whole "don't plan for it, just do it" mental toughness, blah blah blah, but when you have a crapton of stuff on your plate and you don't have the time to commit it's way too easy to quit and then feel bad about it which isn't good for anyone's mental health. I'd like to do a 75 Hard, as I perform well with rules, but right now is not the time - I plan to do one starting March 1. And it may not happen, but that is the plan. I'm glad you decided to do this and not feel guilty or bad about it. You'll definitely feel better with a finished bathroom.

  6. I say good for you! Only you know what your needs are in life! And this clearly wasn't meeting your needs at this time. We're all only human and also only have 24 hours in a day! You just can't do it all sometimes. This is also a very good reminder to myself to stop beating myself up so much when something doesn't go the way I planned. Because you're so right, no one really cares except for me! <3

  7. I'm in that photo. I'm that insanely supportive friend who shouts YOU QUIT? GOOD FOR YOU!! I'll be honest. I didn't say it because I also wanted to be that other insanely supportive friend who shouts YOU CAN DO IT when you told us all you were doing 75 Hard it raised a red flag in my mind. I thought, "Nope. That's too much for her right now. She needs gentle structure, not 'hard' structure." But I wrote it off to my lack of desire to try anything like that right now and perhaps my jealousy that you could do it. So I'm excited that you listened to yourself and gave yourself the space/grace/whatever to step away from something that isn't working for you. Also, you know what takes mental determination? REMODELING A BEDROOM AND BATHROOM!! You already have more determination than most people I know. Hugs always.

  8. You're a winner and should never feel like you've failed at anything. I know for sure your too hard on yourself, and you need a vacation. Somewhere warm and relaxing. Personally, I love to soak in hot tubs. But with covid, forget that. We're getting snow in Iowa, and I HATE WINTER! It bugs me when people say "Ilike snow, it's pretty" Dah pretty cold, slippery, and causes accidents. Now I got that of my chest haha.

  9. Thank you for being honest and transparent. It shows that life happens and life is real. That 75 hard is hard and while it may be good for some, at times it's not something that is good for everyone all the time. You put yourself and your needs first and that's what we all need to do!! Congrats!

  10. I dropped out of a marathon this weekend at mile 17 due to the heat. While I am disappointed, and maybe embarrassed, it was the right thing to do for my body. Timely post. Be well!

  11. I actually think this is a huge win- to be able to recognize that this goal is actually not serving you well at this time, and to know it's okay to walk away. You are putting your time towards other things that are more important right now. Go you!

  12. Congratulations on “failing”.

  13. Well said :) I didn't want to share my opinion of 75 Hard while you were doing it because I worried about sounding critical. But (speaking as an extremely goal-driven person who has found a reasonable amount of success), I think 75 Hard promotes an unhealthy black-and-white mindset. The most success I've had has always been a result of persisting through obstacles and not letting the "good" be the enemy of the "perfect." The idea that you have to throw everything out the window and start over if you make a tiny mistake is a perfectionist mindset - not a successful one.

    1. I agree--I think it also sets people up for injury and illness! The "exercise outdoors no matter what" thing just had me picturing people slipping on ice or running through a hurricane, just to avoid starting from day one again.

  14. My husband and I love this comedian Tom Papa -- his schtick is "nobody cares" and it is hilarious. If you want some serious belly laughs, check him out on Netflix!


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