Getting Back on the Horse: The Habit That Makes All Habits Possible

“Why do we fall, sir? So that, we can learn to pick ourselves up.” – Alfred Pennyworth, Batman Begins

Waking up early, eating healthy, exercising, reading, painting – perhaps you’re trying to build one of these habits.

Perhaps you’re on the path to transformation and greatness.

Perhaps you are failing. In a world of change and limitation and transformation, it’s practically guaranteed.

In this world there is only one habit you have to really master. When you fail the other habits it’s the only habit that really matters.

Get back on the horse.

Getting back on the horse is the meta-habit of all habits. It makes the pursuit of habits (which is really just a messy, endless series of mounts and falls) possible. And if you can do it, you can – eventually – trust that your desired habits, or something like them, will transform your life for the better.

Stop worrying about perfection. Stop worrying about your habit streaks. Stop worrying about cheat days, and failures, and broken will.

All the worry, fear, and anxiety about the all other habits you are aiming for? Direct it on to getting back on the horse. If you can climb back in the saddle again and again and again and again, none of the habit-killers can stop you. And if you can’t get back on the horse, all of the best-laid plans and best habits in the world won’t save you.

Learn to delight in the falls, the saddle-sores, and the grit it takes to climb back onto the unbroken horse called Habit. That’s enough.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at