As sport psychologist Marissa Norman observes, a lot of us can think of things that we should be doing for our health, but we just don’t want to do them. Recovering from RED-S / REDs (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) is vital for good health, but it can be hard to find the motivation to take the necessary steps.
Marissa has some suggestions of things to think about that might motivate you to make changes. She also shares an exercise to help you figure out what changes are most valuable to you, and whether or not this is even the right time to make them.
Read the transcript
[Tina] My wise mind says, “Do this for your health,” but I just don’t want to.
[Marissa] That is probably one of the most relatable statements. I can personally think about, and I’m sure a lot of us can think about, millions of things we could be doing for our health, but we just don’t want to. And I think as healthcare providers, sometimes we fall short by making the assumption that one’s health should be good enough to want to make change, or one’s health is good enough to be motivating, and that is just not the case for so many of us.
So for you, I would encourage you to think about, at the end of the day, what is most important to you? What is it that you value? For some of us that might be family, others it might be security, or careers,personal growth… Think about what that is for you. What is important to you. And the things that you value, the things that are important to you, do they help motivate you for change? If it’s not health, then what might it be? All right, so that is one thing I would have you think about.
There’s an exercise that I do with a lot of the athletes that I work with, that when they’re struggling with the decision of whether I want to make change or not, or when they’re feeling stuck, it’s a process that can really help them gain insight. And so I’d like to do that exercise with you right now. What that exercise would be, is grab a piece of paper and you’re going to divide that paper into fours. So this is going to be similar to a pros and cons list, but a little bit different, a little bit more added to it. So in the top left corner of the paper, I want you to think about if you did not change at all, you stayed exactly the same, what would be the benefits to that? Because there absolutely would be benefits there, if you’re just not changing and staying the same. I want to make sure to acknowledge that. And what would be the cons to just staying the same, not doing anything different. And you’re going to write a list of that in the right top corner of the paper. Once you’ve identified those things, we’re going to look at the other side of things, so change, whatever that means to you. Growth, whatever that means to you. If I were to make those changes, what would be the benefits of that? Write the list of that at the bottom of the left side of the paper. And then what would be the cons to change? Obviously, there feels like there are cons there, or maybe it would be less scary, less intimidating to go for that. So what are the cons to possibly changing? And writing that in the bottom right hand corner of that paper.
So that is the first step, but I don’t want us to stop there, because oftentimes what happens is when we create our pros and cons lists, then we count all of the different factors that we have. This is about quality, not quantity, so I want us to rank the value of each of the factors. So, for example, if I put “health” somewhere on there, I would rank it on a scale of one to ten, ten being this is so valuable and so important to me. So “health,” for example, maybe it’s kind of important, but it’s not extremely important, so maybe we rank that something like a four or five. And I want you to do that for every single factor on that sheet. So now you’ve identified the factors and how important it is to you.
The next step is simply putting that piece of paper down and looking at it, reading it through. See what sticks out to you, see what you notice, and see if that moves you towards change, if that feels motivating to push you towards change, or staying the same. And if you’re not ready, if this form, if this paper, is suggesting you’re not ready, that’s also okay. My suggestion would be whether it moves you towards change or not, don’t throw it away. You’re gonna come back to the sheet, and you’re going to continue to add factors, and you’re going to continue to adjust how valuable things are, because as we grow and adapt as people, what is important to us also changes. And then obviously different factors will come up, as we learn more about ourselves. And day-to-day things happen, so this exercise can be really beneficial. If you are on your journey towards healing, it’s also nice to come back to this paper at moments where you feel stuck, like, “Why am I doing this? This sucks,” right? And just going back to that paper helps us remember why we started, why this is important, and that can be valuable. So I would say, if you even have a spot where you could stick it on the wall as that kind of constant daily reminder, that can be extremely motivating.
[Tina] Wow, what a great exercise. Thank you for sharing that; that’s great.
check it out
Recovering from RED-S is hard. It’s even harder if you’re working through it alone. Even if you have professional support, they’re not available 24-7, and that can lead to going down search engine rabbit holes that have the potential to derail everything.
Our online resource, RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover, will answer all those questions swimming around in your head about recovery. It will give you the opportunity to connect with the experts you’ve come to know here, and to surround yourself with a community of others who are going through it too.
THANK YOU! to Athletic Greens and Tracksmith for supporting this YouTube series and RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover.
Go to athleticgreens.com/reds to get five free travel packs of AG1 and a free one year’s supply of vitamin D3+K2 with your subscription!
When you go to https://tracksmith.com/tina and use the code TINA15 at checkout, you’ll get free shipping and Tracksmith will donate 5% of your order to Rising Hearts, the Indigenous-led nonprofit founded by Jordan Marie Daniels.
more about Marissa:
Marissa Norman, Psy.D, CMPC, is a Sport Psychologist in the New Jersey area. She has her own private telehealth practice, and works with youth to professional athletes from mental skills training to mental health services. She’s a former college track and field pentathlete who loves to laugh, to eat, and adventure. You can find Marissa at https://www.topformpsychology.com/team-sport-psychology.