Michelle Segar, PhD, MPH, behavioral sustainability scientist and author of No Sweat! How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, Directs the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center (SHARP).
Her provocative and counter-intuitive insights on how to achieve the consistent decisions that underlie sustainable behavior change are based on a deep understanding of how to convert complex science into easy-to-use principles.
Michelle has devoted her career to creating sustainable behavior change for health and well-being and she is a recognized pioneer in the field. Decades before it was widely studied, she began researching how to build lasting motivation and sustainable health-related behavior among individuals in both research and real life.
Her 360-degree expertise in sustainable motivation and behavior change is unique because it is based on almost 25 years of conducting award-winning science, coaching individuals directly in creating the mindset and strategies underlying lasting change, and advising global organizations how to apply these principles.
Organizations, business leaders, and professionals in health care, wellness, and fitness wanting more than simplistic or short-term solutions seek Michelle’s expertise in three important areas: patient activation and adherence, sustainable consumer engagement and motivation, and the cultivation of employees’ curiosity about and skills in enhancing their health and well-being in sustainable ways.
Michelle’s time-tested and research-backed methods and communication strategies are being adopted across high-tech and high-touch solutions:
- eLearning diabetes prevention programs
- Wellness champion eTraining programs
- Lifestyle coaching protocols and certifications
- Fitness onboarding and personal training systems
- Behavioral design
- Corporate wellness programs
- Undergraduate and graduate school curriculum across classes related to health care (MD, RN, PA, PT, etc.), psychology, fitness, nutrition, and physical education
Michelle is a frequent keynote speaker and organizational consultant, and in addition she delivers sustainable-behavior-change eTraining programs to professionals around the world. Her corporate client list includes Adidas, Anytime Fitness, Australian Fitness Network, Beaumont Health System, Centre for Positive Psychology, EXL, Google, Harvard Medical School, Influence Health, Kaiser Permanente, National Business Group on Health, PepsiCo, Walmart, and the University of Vermont Medical Center.
She is often interviewed in the media (e.g., NYT, WSJ, NPR,) and has published articles in media such as the U.S. News & World Report, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and numerous academic journals.
Michelle holds a doctorate in Psychology (PhD), a master’s degree in Health Behavior/Health Education (MPH), and a master’s degree in Kinesiology (MS) from the University of Michigan. No Sweat was chosen as the #1 book in Diet/Exercise in 2015 by the USA Best Book Awards and achieved the #1 selling Exercise & Fitness book on Amazon in its original release.
Michelle lives with her husband, son, and pet hamster in Ann Arbor, and she loves walking, eating great food, and hanging out with friends and family. She loves Spain too – she worked in Madrid and Barcelona, and was privileged to run with the Olympic Torch at the Olympic Games in 1992.
To stay informed on the latest research and thinking related to creating lasting motivation and sustainable behavior change, sign up for Michelle’s SUSTAINBLE CHANGE newsletter via the SUBSCRIBE orange button on the menu above.
What Motivated Michelle to Motivate Others?
In February 1994 Michelle had a light-bulb moment that put her on what was to be her lifelong purpose and path. She had conducted an exercise study among people who had faced a life-threatening illness, and three months later participants came back for focus groups. Although they spoke very positively about being active during the study, she was shocked to discover that most had stopped exercising when it ended. When Michelle asked “why?”, they explained that they had returned to their lives — they were too busy; they couldn’t make exercise a priority among their many other responsibilities. Michelle was stunned; these people, who had faced death, committed to exercising for a study, but not for their ongoing self-care! Since then, Michelle has been studying relevant science, conducting her own research, and working directly with individuals in order to develop systematic methods and messages that help individuals and populations to consistently prioritize their own self-care and adopt healthy behaviors — and stay motivated to sustain them.
She writes SUSTAINALBE CHANGE, a monthly newsletter informing interested professionals about the latest research related to sustainable health-related behavior change, meaning, and well-being.
Michelle Can Help You Create Sustainable Behavior Change
We’ve been taught to think about motivation in terms of “quantity” and how to increase it. Thinking about motivation in this way is limiting and will not help you create sustainable motivation and behavior change. We’ve also been taught to think of motivation as the primary driver of behavior. Yet, research shows that motivation results from the main reason why individuals initiate any behavior change. The foundation of motivation is people’s primary reason for initiating that behavior.
Motivation isn’t the cause. It’s actually the result. And it’s quite easy to change.