Substitution on the Field

Written by: Sung Woo “Tom” Kim, M.S.
Substitution on the Field

You’re coaching a sports game. There are 10 minutes left to play, and your team is struggling. Something needs to be done to change the course of the game. There is a player that is currently on the field that should be taken out to be substituted by a different player on the bench. If not, the course of the game would run, and it would be a guaranteed loss.

As the new year starts, we may be reflecting on the past year. We may be thinking about our successes, growing edges, and some new year goals. As you reflect, I wanted to pop in to give you some food for thought!

A common phrase I hear is “I want to stop (fill in the blank).” While it comes with great determination and pure intent, sometimes it is hard to simply “stop” doing something. Many times, this turns to relapsing to that activity or introducing something potentially more harmful.

Going back to the sports analogy, when a game is not running the way it should, your team is not performing at the highest you believe they can, and you clearly see a player on the field who is not constructive for the team’s development… the solution isn’t to only take that player out… but to substitute the player with one that has the potential to resolve the issue faced by the team. Substitutions may be necessary for potential resolution, growth, and development. If you simply take out a player, it would be very difficult to resolve the issue the team was facing. The key to changing is substitution.

If you have a “I want to stop (fill in the blank)” in your new year resolution… have you thought of what you would substitute that with? What are some healthy routines or activities that you could substitute that with? A way to further explore omitting an activity or habit could be “I want to stop (fill in the black) and start doing more of (fill in the blank)”

Reach out to your local Mental Health Therapist if you need assistance with establishing what you could stop and do more of! Let’s start the new year right!