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Michelle Segar is the director of the University of Michigan’s Sports, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center, adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services, and chair of the United States National Physical Activity Plan’s Communication Committee, and author of the 2022 book The Joy Choice. 

The NIH-funded researcher at the University of Michigan, has three decades of experience studying how people adopt healthy behaviors in ways that can survive the complexity and unpredictability of the real world. 

Michelle combines research with real-world health coaching to create sustainable healthy behavior change. She is also the author of NO SWEAT! – used to train professionals in health coaching and patient counseling. 

Michelle holds a doctorate in Psychology (PhD), a masters in Health Behavior/Health Education, a masters in Kinesiology, and fellowships in translational research and health care policy from the University of Michigan. 

In this podcast, Sonya and Michelle talk about behavior change and dive into the topic of The Joy Choice, her new book that showcases the new science and method for breaking down all-or-nothing thinking and cultivating the in-the-moment decisions that support self-care, health, and well-being. 

“The other part of this is we cannot think about changing any behavior outside of the context of our crazy, hectic lives, and to do so is really to set individuals up for failure, it’s to set organizations up for failure, because the hubbub that our behaviors have to survive within on a daily basis is a part of the behavior change process. And so we need to think about that as we we think about why are we going to get people curious? How do we persuade them that this is something deserving of their curiosity and attention?”

– Michelle Segar

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Key Takeaways

  • The problem with our system of behavior change
  • Why complex habits don’t fit in the cue behavior reward
  • Curiosity is king and queen
  • Value, positive emotion, and expanding our thinking
  • How executive functioning plays a role in behavior change
  • POP decision tool 
  • Pick the joy choice
  • Typical things that get in the way of behavior change



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