Michelle Segar

Speech Topics

Have you ever wondered why it is that even patients who desperately want to adopt healthier lifestyles don’t stick with them once their initial burst of motivation fades?  This provocative presentation will discuss the surprising reasons this is true and also showcase a new paradigm to help providers and patients better prioritize their own self-care and motivate healthy behavior so it is maintained over time. Leveraging insights from science and marketing and over twenty-two years of health coaching, Dr. Michelle Segar will explain why logic-based reasons for behavior change (e.g., better heath, disease prevention, etc.) keep people stuck in cycles of starting and stopping but not behavioral sustainability.  Using story and science, she will describe an easy-to-adopt, novel approach to promoting health behaviors that leading organizations are starting to use. Health professionals will leave this session with a more strategic way to communicate about and promote the sustainable behavior necessary to achieve improved health and well-being among patients and themselves.

Over 30 years of research shows that there is a gap between what people intend to do and what is actually sufficiently compelling to fit into their busy lives.  This provocative presentation will showcase the science for a new behavioral design paradigm that fosters sustainable behavior change.  Dr. Michelle Segar will explain why logic-based reasons for behavior change (e.g., better heath, disease prevention, etc.) keep people stuck in cycles of starting and stopping but not behavioral sustainability.  Using a science-based story, she will describe a novel approach to promoting self-care, health, and wellness behaviors that can be used across contexts (organizational, health care, fitness, coaching, etc.). Attendees will leave this session with a more strategic way to communicate about, promote, and design the sustainable behavior necessary for achieving improved health and well-being.


With rave reviews from organizations like Walmart and the National Business Group on Health, this interactive, three-hour workshop helps wellness and HR professionals learn to design optimal science-based messages to use in wellness communication, marketing, and programming.  Using science and story, Dr. Michelle Segar helps attendees understand why the traditional logic-based approach used in wellness messaging undermines opportunities to boost employee health and well-being, thwarting organizational goals. Participants will have opportunities to critique wellness messages and leave with new insights and tools they can immediately use.

We start out with the best intentions. We’re going to exercise more and get in shape! Then five days a week at the gym turns into two… then becomes none. We hit the snooze button and skip the morning run. We really do want to be healthy and fit, but we’re over whelmed and overextended—and exercise feels like another chore to complete. Is it any wonder we don’t stick with it? Sustainable behavior change expert Dr. Michelle Segar has devoted her career to the science of motivation. In Moving Toward Happiness, a consumer-oriented presentation, she reveals that while “better health” or “weight loss” sound like strong incentives, human beings are hardwired to choose immediate gratification over delayed benefits. In other words, we’re not going to exercise unless it makes us happy right now.  So what’s the solution? To achieve lasting fitness, we have to change our minds—before we can change our bodies. Translating twenty years of research on exercise and motivation into a simple program, she helps attendees broaden their definition of exercise, find pleasure in physical activity, and discover realistic ways to fit it into their lives.


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Michelle Segar, PhD, MPH, motivation scientist and author of critically acclaimed “No Sweat! How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness”(AMACOM 2015), is Director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center (SHARP) at the University of Michigan, and Chair of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan’s Communications Committee.  No Sweat was chosen as the #1 book in Diet/Exercise in 2015 by the USA Best Book Awards, and when released, it achieved the #1 selling Exercise & Fitness book on Amazon.  Michelle’s 360-degree perspective is informed by more than two decades of award-winning research, individual fitness and self-care coaching, and consulting, uniquely positioning her to help organizations understand and leverage the emotional drivers and internal rewards of consumers’ decisions that lead to well-being and health.

Pioneering new approaches to sustainable behavior change in the fitness, health care, and wellness arenas, Segar’s  evidence-based ideas about what motivates people to choose and maintain healthy behaviors is changing the conversation across fields. She consults with global organizations on these issues and delivers keynotes and sustainable behavior change trainings.

Her consulting and/or speaking clients include Adidas, Beaumont Health System, EXL, Google, Influence Health, Kaiser Permanente, National Business Group on Health, PepsiCo, Walmart, The University of Vermont Medical Center, and Zingerman’s. She has a doctorate in Psychology (PhD) and master’s degrees in Health Behavior/Health Education (MPH) and Kinesiology (MS) from the University of Michigan. Segar lives with her husband and son in Ann Arbor, and she loves walking, speaking Spanish, eating great food, and hanging out with friends and family. She ran with the Olympic Torch at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

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