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Jack's Journal: Forgiveness

Let’s talk about forgiveness. Although, yes, it is good to learn to forgive other people for whatever transgressions they may have committed, that is not quite what I am talking about. I’m talking about forgiving yourself, especially when it comes to your health and well-being.

Far too often I am confronted with people talking out loud to themselves in a negative manner. They are saying out loud how bad they are at certain things, and how they believe they are a "lost cause". While it is true I can see there is room for improvement, no one is ever a lost cause. The fact that we are choosing to come in and make lasting changes to our lives shows desire. Desire is a strong emotion that creates lofty expectations in our heads. What happens when reality doesn’t meet expectation? Doubt creeps in and we start to spiral. Trust me, once that narrative of "I suck at..." is written, it is slippery slope when it comes to self-confidence. That is why I wanted to put an extra emphasis on forgiveness!

As we are given the green light to return to normal, pre-COVID settings, we need to be able to forgive ourselves for not meeting every single one of our expectations. We cannot get derailed at the first obstacle of our journey. I’ll give you a personal example...

I was out for a run about two weeks ago, and I could tell right away my body wasn’t responding the way it normally does. The plan was to get two miles out, do some hill repeats, and head two miles back. The first two miles were a drag, I felt super sluggish, and in my head I’m thinking, "Oh no, here we go."

The derailing process had already begun, and by the time I got done with the first two miles, my head space was clouded with doubt and anxiety. How did the hill repeats go? Terribly. I wasn’t flowing with my normal mechanics and each repeat felt worse than the last. Once I got done with the repeats, I was not looking forward to the last two miles. The last two miles were honestly the worst I’ve had in a long time. My mind and body were so gassed that I had to stop and walk. I haven’t been forced to stop and walk in over two years, and I felt like I was at rock bottom.

I thought I didn’t deserve to race in the half marathon I have coming up. I thought I didn’t deserve to be coaching if I can’t make it through one workout. I thought I already peaked, and this workout was me on the downslope of being the best me I could be.

Now, this may seem like an overreaction, and it is! But so is quitting the gym after one tough workout, or giving up on a goal just because it is challenging, or saying “what is wrong with me” if you can’t do an exercise properly. I can go on and on, but the point here is you can have those thoughts as long as you forgive yourself and move on! There needs to be a change in internal dialogue.

In hindsight, there were many other factors that were attributable to my poor performance that day. So why did I have such a strong overreaction? I’m not sure, but I know now that I learned to forgive myself for that poor performance. That’s all we really can do in order to stay resilient in the face of adversity, forgive and move on. Whether it was a bad repetition, a bad workout, or a bad race, learn to move on by forgiving that past performance. After all, the past is something we can’t change, we can only learn from it!

The very next time you are at the club, try catching that train of thought before it spirals out of control. Learn to forgive yourself!

If you’d like help setting and achieving your health and wellness goals, please contact Jack Zahn at to set up an appointment.

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