Show cover of Change Academy

Change Academy

Learn how to cultivate a more productive mindset, form sustainable habits, and create a lifestyle that supports both your goals and your wellbeing with host, Monica Reinagel. Drawing on decades of expertise and experience, Monica provides guidance on navigating the challenging process of behavior change in a fun and accessible way. Learn more and find show notes for every episode at


Why we can't help comparing ourselves to others -- MID 5:31
It’s a very natural human tendency to compare ourselves to the people around us–and even to the people we see portrayed in the media. And like so many other behavioral tendencies, this one is a double-edged sword.   Looking at what others have achieved can inspire us to greater effort. It can also make us feel like crap.  And we don't want that!Today, we're delving into the psychology behind why we are driven to compare ourselves to others, the impact it can have on our mental well-being, and some strategies to help you avoid the compare-and-despair cycle.TakeawaysRecognize that comparing ourselves to others can either motivate us or lead to feelings of inadequacy, depending on our mindset and circumstances.Be aware of specific situations or people that prompt you to engage in unhealthy comparisons and find ways to either avoid these triggers or change your reaction to them.Shift your perspective from others to your own journey. Measure your success against your past achievements rather than against others' accomplishments.Implement a regular practice of acknowledging what you're thankful for, which can transform your viewpoint from comparison to appreciation.Remember that everyone’s path, including yours, is distinct and equally valuable. Embracing this viewpoint can diminish the urge to compare and help you appreciate the uniqueness of your own and others' life experiences.MentionedStronger Bones Workshop on April 13th ★ Support this podcast ★
14:38 4/5/24
Why behavioral economics shouldn't be the only tool in the toolbox
Behavioral economics has given us a lot of insights into how we can influence our own and other’s behavior. But the approach has some serious limitations, especially when applied to promoting health behaviors.Joining me on the podcast is Michelle Segar, a frequent guest here on the Change Academy. Michelle is an NIH-funded researcher at the University of Michigan. She’s also a best-selling author and health coach whose work focuses on fostering behavior change that can survive the complexity and unpredictability of the real world.TakeawaysTake some time on a regular basis to reflect on how your personal values, beliefs, and motivations align with your desired behavioral changes (and vice versa!)Acknowledge emotional and psychological issues that may present barriers to change. Consider seeking support from a mental health professional, especially if you face challenges like depression, anxiety, or past trauma.Take a look at your social and physical environment and think about how these factors impact your behavior. Consider where you might find supportive communities or how altering your environment might encourage positive habits.Consider getting involved with community initiatives or advocacy groups that are working to address broader societal issues that impact our ability to choose healthier behaviors.  For example, groups advocating to make our cities and neighborhoods more walkable or bike-friendly, or organizing mobile farmer’s markets, or upgrading local recreational facilities.  MentionedThey Thought We Were Ridiculous (5-part series on the history of Behavioral Economics)Better habits aren’t the answer?   (Change Academy Ep #111, with Michelle Segar)No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, by Michelle SegarThe Joy Choice: How to Finally Achieve Lasting Changes in Eating and Exercise, by Michelle Certification program for health coaches ★ Support this podcast ★
33:43 3/25/24
Looking for happiness in all the wrong places, with Oliver Burkeman
What if the pursuit of happiness is NOT the path to greater life satisfaction? What if being more productive and getting more done isn’t actually the way to get ahead?In today’s episode, I’m talking to author Oliver Burkeman about some of the ways in which we might want to re-examine our relationship to goals, happiness, and the things that are most important to us.This is sometimes a bit painful. because so much of it has to do with confronting some of the hard limits that we like to pretend don’t exist. But, as you’ll hear, there is ultimately a profound relief and freedom to be found in facing finitude. TakeawaysTry to find satisfaction in the journey toward your goals, rather than postponing fulfillment until they are achieved​​.Cultivating your ability to be present to everyday, even mundane, moments can lead to a deeper appreciation of life as it unfolds.Understand that every choice has its consequences, and it’s impossible to avoid negative outcomes entirely.Some of the most meaningful experiences in life are not the result of meticulous planning or pursuit but unexpected and unplanned.Being present is a skill that can be practiced in everyday situations like waiting in line or working in the office​​–and not just on the meditation cushion or yoga mat.Books and courses by Oliver BurkemanTime Management Video Course (BBC/Maestro) Use the discount code CHANGES30 to save 30%!The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking4,000 Weeks: Time Management for MortalsAlso Mentioned50K Mile Tune-up Listening Guide and Workbook ★ Support this podcast ★
36:27 3/15/24
How to get back on track instead of sabotaging your progress
Over the years, I have worked with a lot of people on various aspects of behavior change–mostly having to do with health behaviors.  I have witnessed and celebrated some amazing breakthroughs and successes.But I have also seen people stumble and struggle. Regularly. Something happens and they fall back into old habits or patterns that they’d successfully moved away from.It’s disappointing but it’s not a tragedy.  Because this is just part of the change process. What I do find tragic–and unnecessary–is when these lapses cause people to people give up entirely.Today, we’re going to talk about how to survive these inevitable episodes and get yourself back in the game more quickly.Key TakeawaysSetbacks are a natural part of the change process and do not negate previous progress.Refrain from attaching a negative story to a lapse, as it can lead to further setbacks.Approach setbacks with curiosity and self-compassion; seek to understand the underlying causes. Rebound from setbacks by learning from them and redirecting energy back towards the goal.A supportive community can provide reflection, encouragement, and valuable insightsMentioned in this EpisodePermission giving thoughts  (Change Academy episode)Weighless program ★ Support this podcast ★
12:17 3/5/24
How to stop complaining and find the path to positive change
Is there something in your life that’s been driving you crazy for a while? Some situation at work that you find yourself venting to your spouse about every night at dinner? Or maybe a recurring conflict with your partner or your kids that never seems to be adequately resolved? Do you find yourself ruminating over a problematic situation every time you have a moment alone in the car?In this episode, Dr. Bethy Campbell and I are sharing a 4-step process that can help you exit that complaint loop and actually move toward positive change. Bethy is a clinical psychologist, a marriage and family therapist.The technique that we’re talking about today is taken from her book on Helping Skills, a book that would be a great resource if you are in a situation where you’re frequently called upon to provide guidance and emotional support.But this absolutely an approach that can (and should) apply to your own knotty situations.Key TakeawaysComplaining has its place. When done constructively, it can help us acknowledge and process pent-up feelings, and encourage self-awareness and self-compassion. Repetitive, non-constructive complaining–in addition to wearing out our friends and loved ones patience–increases our stress and hinders problem-solving. Reorienting the language we use to talk about the problem can help us see more possibilities for resolution or change. If you don’t have a trusted partner to help you reflect, journaling or recording voice memos can help you spot and reframe unhelpful language. Mentioned in this episodeConverting good intentions into action (Change Academy episode #129)Helping Skills Training for Non Professional Counselors (Enter the promo code ADC24 for 30% off)Dr. Bethy Campbell’s mailing list ★ Support this podcast ★
36:19 2/26/24
The inner work that makes outward change more possible
In this conversation with a recent “graduate” of the Weighless program, Lauren shares some of the key insights that helped her permanently transform her physical and mental health.Lauren is a healthcare professional herself, with a front row seat to some of the consequences of unhealthy habits and lifestyles. She had plenty of motivation to change. And yet, she still needed some support to turn that knowledge into consistent behavior change.As you’ll hear, Lauren was a little surprised at how much of the work of behavior and lifestyle change is actually about some key mental shifts–including one that really struck me as critical. Key Takeaways:We often just focus on the outward behaviors we want to change, but the inner work is key.Your progress depends on what you want for yourself, not how you stack up to others.Taking care of ourselves well doesn’t necessarily take more time than neglecting our needs.Taking time to consider our desires and preferences can help us design behavior changes that are more sustainableModeling self-care and healthy behaviors for our kids is a gift with long-term benefits.Mentioned in this Episode:Weighless Program enrollment info ★ Support this podcast ★
23:07 2/15/24
Why it’s so hard to convert good intentions into action
There’s clearly no shortage of good intentions in the world, and most of them actually have to do with health. People want to get into shape, they want to eat better, they want to lose weight. Unfortunately, very few of these good intentions get converted into reality.Believe it or not, there’s a technical term for this: It’s called the intention behavior gap. And in this episode, I want to share with you some research-based strategies for bridging the gap between good intentions and healthy habits.Key Takeaways- We waste a lot of time problem-solving issues that aren’t really what’s getting in the way.- Clarity on goals and strategies is more important than how much time or money we have to spend on something.- Willpower does not exist in a vacuum. It is supported by a range of other behavioral attributes.- Even more important than planning is flexibility when things don’t go according to plan.Mentioned30 Day Nutrition Upgrade program - ★ Support this podcast ★
15:45 2/5/24
How to know when it’s time to make a big change
Careers are one of the ways that we find meaning and purpose in our lives.  Not the only way, of course.  But what if you wake up one day and realize that your true purpose might be better fulfilled by doing something other than what you originally trained for.  Now what?!Design thinking offers tools and processes that can help us both imagine and then execute big shifts in our lives. Lisa Waltuch and her business partner, Jen Sullivan, are co-founders of Encore Retreats, where they host transformational getaways and events. Lisa also has her own practice as a Life Coach through Thrive Coaching, where she uses design thinking to help her clients imagine and then inhabit really big changes. I thought she'd be the perfect person to talk about this with.Takeaways-Your true purpose might be better fulfilled by doing something other than what you originally trained for. Instead of asking “What did I train to do?” ask “What impact do I want to have?”- You are never too old (or too successful) to choose a new path. You can make bold changes at any life stage.- Don’t let yourself be shackled by what has come before. Ask yourself, “How do I want my life to unfold or evolve from here?- Some of your values may have shifted throughout your life. Mind-mapping can help you explore your current values, which can help you design a life of great happiness and satisfaction.Mentioned8 Things You Need to Create Lasting Change (listening guide)Encore RetreatsMind Mapping Exercise ★ Support this podcast ★
39:00 1/25/24
What if you didn’t have to be more disciplined to succeed?
I was recently exchanging emails with someone who was struggling to change some unhelpful behaviors. He wrote:  “I do really well for a couple of days and then I go totally off the rails again. It’s such a vicious cycle. I just need to be be more disciplined.”And if there is something that you are struggling to change, you’ve probably thought the same thing. But I don’t think summoning up more discipline is necessarily the answer. In this episode, I’m talking with someone who found a better way to create positive change and momentum–which led to dramatic improvements in her health.As you listen, think about how the specifics of her translate into whatever you’re working on and the kind of effort you are applying to that work.Key TakeawaysInstead of focusing on the behaviors you’re trying to change, take a look at the thoughts and beliefs that are driving these behaviors.When it comes to lasting behavior change, self-awareness will get you a lot further than will power. If you are frustrated with your results, ask yourself if you are happy with the effort that you are putting in to create them.Being able to ask for (and accept) help or support is an under-rated super powerOffering support to others is a great way to access wisdom and insight that can be applied to your own situation.MentionedFind out more about Weighless Program ★ Support this podcast ★
26:45 1/15/24
Making the most of a reboot (Behind the scenes)
I’ve decided that my special word for 2024 is Reboot. Much of my last year was consumed by the reboot of the Weighless program–a coaching program that I launched with Brock Armstrong 7 years ago, and which has now been now relaunched in a new format that I think is its best version yet. The Change Academy is not about weight management, per se. My goal in this podcast is to give you tools that you can apply to create positive change in any aspect of your life. But in this episode, I want to talk more specifically about the Weighless Program and take you behind the scenes of our recent reboot. If that is not of interest, you might want to check out our introductory series The 8 Things You Need to Create Change, or the more intensive series called the 50,000 Mile Tune up.  There are free listening guides available for both of them and either one of them would be a great way to charge up your batteries for your own reboot, or whatever else 2024 has in store for you.MentionedWeighless Program enrollment detailsSee exactly what’s in the Weighless curriculumListen in on a Weighless Office HoursListening Guide for 8 Things You Need to Create ChangeListening Guide for the 50K Mile Tuneup ★ Support this podcast ★
19:02 1/5/24
Special Series: Mindset Reset #5
This is the last of a special 5-part Mindset Reset–a little bonus series to help us get our mindset tuned up as we head into the New Year, and into whatever new projects and objectives we’re hoping to tackle. This last mindset reset is really the key to any change you are working on: Remembering that we are all works in progress.Whether or not you're thinking about joining the Weighless Program, I hope you've found this special Mindset Reset series helpful. Our  program members often tell us that these mindsets positively affect other aspects of their lives: their relationships, their work/life balance, how they spend their valuable time, the environment they create for themselves, and their overall life satisfaction.And if you are considering joining us, we delve much MUCH deeper into mindset (and so many other things) in the program.  We have a new group starting on January 1st. Learn more about the Weighless Program ★ Support this podcast ★
05:52 12/30/23
Special Series: Mindset Reset #4
We have reached the fourth installment our special 5-day Mindset Reset series and this reset is a juicy one. Many of us have learned the unhelpful habit of moralizing our food choices. Here's a more helpful way to think about the choices we make. If you’re interested in learning more about the Weighless Program, from which this series is derived, go to  We have a new group starting on January 1st and if you could use some support with weight management in the New Year I’d love to have you join us! Learn more about the Weighless Program ★ Support this podcast ★
06:36 12/29/23
Special Series: Mindset Reset #3
This is the third installment our special 5-day Mindset Reset and we're talking about balancing our approach to food as a source of both nourishment and pleasure. As with most of the things we talk about here in the Change Academy (and in the Weighless Program), the real payoff is in the implementation. So, don't just listen. Make sure some rubber is meeting the road. If you’re interested in learning more about the Weighless Program, from which this series is derived, go to  We have a new group starting on January 1st and if you could use some support with weight management in the New Year I’d love to have you join us! Learn more about the Weighless Program ★ Support this podcast ★
06:47 12/28/23
Special Series: Mindset Reset #2
This is Part 2 of our special 5-part Mindset Reset series–a little bonus series to help us get our mindset tuned up as we head into the New Year.  In this reset, we're talking about how we recover from setbacks.Because this series was originally developed to accompany the Weighless Program, the examples here focus on typical dieting behaviors and mindsets. But even if that’s not what you’re working on, I bet you can translate these insights into whatever you are working on.  If you’re interested in learning more about the Weighless Program, from which this series is derived, go to  We have a new group starting on January 1st and if you could use some support with weight management in the New Year I’d love to have you join us! Learn more about the Weighless Program ★ Support this podcast ★
06:12 12/27/23
Special Series: Weighless Mindset Reset # 1
For this last week of the calendar year, we're departing from our usual format to bring you a special 5-day series called the Weighless Mindset Reset. The New Year is a time when many people resolve to eat healthier. Unfortunately, those resolutions have typically crashed and burned by the second week of January.  By taking a little time to tune up our mindset, I think we can greatly improve our chances of converting our New Year resolutions into more lasting behavior change. This series was originally developed to give people who were interested in the Weighless Program a taste of the kind of work we do in that program. (Mindset of course is only one aspect of that program, but it’s an important one.) We'll be sharing a new Mindset Reset every day between now and New Year’s Eve. If this series resonates with you and you're ready to take the next step,  our next group program begins on January 1st. Learn more about the Weighless Program  ★ Support this podcast ★
07:37 12/26/23
Is your diet-tracking app helping or hurting?
There are apps and devices that help us what we eat, weigh, spend, save, how much water we drink, how many steps we take. But what is all of this tracking doing for us? Are we using these tools and this information to improve our wellbeing or have we succumbed to the tyranny of tracking? Joining me on the podcast is registered dietitian and workplace wellness consultant Cassie Christopher. Tracking is a a topic that comes up a lot for each of us in the coaching work that we do and in this episode, we explore what tracking offers, where it often goes wrong, and how we can leverage the benefits without it becoming an unhealthy or unhelpful practice.  I’m also excited to share that the Weighless Program is once again accepting new members! The next group begins on January 1st. All the details are at more about the Weighless ProgramLearn more about Cassie Christopher’s work ★ Support this podcast ★
40:34 12/15/23
In order to succeed, you must risk failing (again)
If anyone is telling you they can guarantee that you will succeed (as long as you follow their method or their strategy or whatever), they are not being upfront with you. Here’s the hard truth: If you want to succeed, you have to be willing to risk failing. In fact, if there is anything that actually does guarantee success, it’s being willing to fail–repeatedly if necessary.But let’s not make this harder than it needs to be. In this episode, I (and a bunch of former clients) talk about how to make this easier.Key Takeaways- It’s easy to see our past failures as evidence that we can’t succeed. But failure is the foundation for virtually every success.- We never know ahead of time which attempt will be the one that actually works. - Instead of asking yourself “What if I fail?, ” ask yourself “What if this works?” - Your willingness to learn and grow is ultimately more powerful than your determination to reach a certain specific goal or outcome. MentionedAttend Weighless Program Info Session (Dec 14th, 2023)Molly Watts (Alcohol Minimalist podcast)Zahra’s storyAndrew’s storyErika’s storyMarieka’s story ★ Support this podcast ★
16:14 12/5/23
How to build the circle that supports your best work
Today, I’m sharing a bit about my circle of support and inviting you to evaluate your own network. Who are you grateful for? Where might your support network need a little building out? Whose support network are you a part of and how do you support them?Many of us have bigger and more varied support networks than we even realize–or fully take advantage of.And for those whose networks are a little threadbare, I have some ideas on how to shore those up.Key Takeaways- A more effective gratitude practice is to reflect not just on the things that we’re grateful for but the people and circumstances that make them possible.- There may be people in your support network that you've never actually met. But they've contributed to your growth through their work or example.- Feeling gratitude is good for you; Expressing gratitude multiplies the good.- Thinking of ways you can support others is a great way to build your own circle of support.AcknowledgedBurnout by Emily and Amelia NagoskiCultivate BrandsQuick and Dirty Tips networkCassie Christopher, MS, RDNBethy Campbell, PhDMolly Watts, Alcohol Minimalist podcastEncore RetreatsFood We Need to Talk with Juna GjataFit is Freedom with Kelly HowardTiny Leaps, Big Changes with Gregg ClunisTicora Davis, Creator’s Law FirmStacey Harris, Uncommonly MoreTara McMullin, What WorksOliver Burkeman ★ Support this podcast ★
12:37 11/23/23
Stages of change: what they forget to tell you
If you’ve ever taken an introductory psychology class or done some reading on human behavior and development, you’ve probably stumbled across the Transtheoretical Model, better known as the Stages of Change. It offers some insights into how behavior change happens, why it sometimes doesn’t (or seems like it doesn’t) and how we can better support behavior change efforts–both our own and those of people around us. But there are some nuances to this that I think deserve a little more exploration and who better to do that with than clinical psychologist and friend of the podcast, Dr. Bethy Campbell?We have also created an assessment for you to get a read on where you are in relationship to any change you are working on or contemplating, along with a playlist of Change Academy episodes targeting that particular stage of change. Key Takeaways- By aligning our helping strategies with the helpee's readiness, we enhance the effectiveness of our support,- The stages of change are not linear.  It's normal to move back and forth as you progress through your behavior change journey.- Before a change is ever expressed in someone's actions, there's actually a lot of change that has taken place. - Change is a complex process and may involve being at several different stages of change simultaneously.MentionedLifeRAFT Model , by Dr. Elizabeth CampbellAttention Attention Action Cycle (Change Academy episode #11)Assessment: How ready are you? ★ Support this podcast ★
33:01 11/14/23
If it feels good, it must be bad for me…and other fairy tales
Hedonic self-care involves activities that we find pleasurable. A massage or a nap or time spent with dear friends. Eudaimonic self-care includes those things we do not necessarily because they are pleasurable in the moment, but because they support our goals and objectives.  Things like getting our teeth cleaned, or doing meal prep ahead of a busy week, or spending time and money on a therapist or hiring a health coach. You could easily get the impression that eudaimonic self-care is better or more virtuous than hedonic self-care. But this is not the case. And I don’t want you to forsake hedonic self-care as lesser than.Key TakeawaysTry to maintain a balance between those things you do because they make you feel good in the moment and those things you do because they contribute to your long term well-being. Both are important to a fulfilling life.Cramming in a lot of peak experiences doesn’t guarantee that you’ll look back on your life and feel it was well-lived. One way to waste time is to spend it doing things that don’t really matter. But another way to waste time is to spend it living for an imaginary future. Whether hedonic or eudaimonic, if it comes at the expense of your mental, physical, or financial wellbeing, it doesn’t qualify as true self-care.MentionedEpisode 80: Rescuing Self-care from Consumer Culture4000 Weeks, by Oliver Burkeman30 Day Nutrition Upgrade ★ Support this podcast ★
13:51 11/6/23
Festive food season is approaching. What's your plan? (Extracurricular)
Earlier this month, I sat down with Kelly Howard of the Fit is Freedom podcast. You may remember Kelly from a Change Academy episode on how incorporating more fun and adventure can help you be more consistent about your fitness practice. Kelly invited me back to the Fit is Freedom podcast to share some tips with her listeners on how to enjoy the upcoming the holiday season without throwing all of our healthy habits and progress under the bus.  I thought you would be interested in hearing this conversation as well. So, with Kelly’s permission, I’m sharing that episode here with you. I share a couple of specific strategies that I find useful at this time of year…one is a mindset shift. The other is straight up tactical. We also talk a bit about the 30 Day nutrition upgrade that’s coming up on November 8th—because that program is part of my answer to the question of how to stay on track even with all the disruption and opportunities to indulge that come with the holidays. If you haven’t yet registered for the 30 Day Nutrition Upgrade, you can do that at (or just click on the link in the show notes).  Mentioned: Fit is Freedom podcast30 Day Nutrition Upgrade (starts November 8th) ★ Support this podcast ★
29:53 10/30/23
How community and connection build healthier habits
In the previous episode, I talked about some of the things that can go wrong when we put corporations in charge of our wellbeing. In this episode, I share an example of what it looks like when it goes right, and how corporate-sponsored wellbeing programs can actually have a very positive impact on individuals and workers as well as on the company’s bottom line. Lindsey Soroka is a registered dietitian and works as a health promotion specialist for a major national corporation, where she’s in charge of (among other things) engaging the employees in wellness education, services, and programming.  Lindsey and I first worked together when her company brought me in to offer the 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade program to their employees, Afterward, we sat down to talk about what she’s learned about motivating people and why major corporations want to invest in wellbeing programming. But there are valuable lessons for all of us in this conversation. In particular, I hope you catch the ways in which our efforts to enhance our own wellbeing can ripple out into our families, workplaces, and communities. Key TakeawaysCompanies are in business to be profitable, but the smart ones recognize that in order to thrive as a company, they need a healthy, stable and well-resourced workforce. If you are feeling burned out or overwhelmed at work, you may not feel like you have the bandwidth to explore your employers’ wellness resources but this is actually the time they may be most valuable (and your employer really does want you to use them).When trying to establish new behaviors, a short-term commitment can make it feel more doable.  But a good short-term challenge will be designed with the long tail in mind. Doing something as part of a group really helps to foster a sense of wellbeing and connection. And it helps you stick with it.Reaching out to someone who’s had a positive impact on you not only means the world to them but can also benefit your own mental and physical health.  Be on the lookout for opportunities to do that.Mentioned30 Day Nutrition Upgrade (starts November 8th)Contact Monica to discuss corporate wellness programming ★ Support this podcast ★
19:47 10/26/23
Are these really the people we want in charge of our well-being?
A lot of employers and health insurers are now offering wellbeing apps and portals. They're obviously hoping that giving people tools to help them manage their health conditions and nudge them toward healthy behaviors will reduce health care costs. I recently checked out the wellbeing app offered by my own health insurance company. I actually think that some of the well-meaning but poorly-conceived prompts could be doing more harm than good. To be fair, figuring out how to nudge people to adopt healthier habits is a hard nut to crack. In this episode, I share five ideas on how we can design behavioral interventions that are more effective as well as more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable. I also have an opportunity for you to see these principles in action. Key TakeawaysPeople not only need to believe that what you’re asking them to do will benefit them, they also need to feel confident that they can actually do it.People cannot pay attention to everything. Therefore, you need to help them pay attention to the right things.Don’t just discourage the negative; promote positive behaviors.All-or-nothing approaches (or mindsets) rarely lead to long-term change. We tend to over-estimate the impact of our most extreme behaviors. In fact, it is your most typical behavior that determines your results. Focus on those.MentionedNutrition GPA appRegister for the 30-Day Nutrition UpgradeMore info for Coaching Partners ★ Support this podcast ★
18:00 10/16/23
Recalibrating your reward system: treating yourself better
The theme of treats and rewards is coming up in a lot of my conversations right now…with my coaching clients, with people who have reached out to talk about working together, even with my friends and colleagues. Specifically, using food as a treat or reward. This is something a lot of us have learned to do. And like any highly rewarding behavior, this habit has the potential to do harm…and can be surprisingly hard to break.In this episode, we’re going to talk about cultivating new sources of reward and pleasure — ones that make our lives richer, and don’t have unintended consequences. I’ll also share three ways that being more intentional about treats can increase the pleasure you get from them–as well as strengthening your willpower. Key Takeaways:Treats and rewards add pleasure and enjoyment to life. However, we need to be intentional and thoughtful about them.Planning your treats offers several advantages, including increased enjoyment through anticipation and improved restraint against unplanned indulgences.Cultivating awareness and anticipation of treats in your life can counter feelings of deprivation and resentment, making your pursuit of healthier habits more enjoyableDevelop and maintain a list of activities that genuinely reward you. Include both small and big pleasures. Consider also the costs of each treat. Does indulging in this treat bring you closer to or further from your goal?Mentioned:Body Image Repair and Resilience Ep 82: Opening up your options with Dr. Michelle SegarGet in touch with Monica ★ Support this podcast ★
19:23 10/5/23
Why a healthy self-image is essential to your future growth
How we see ourselves has an enormous impact on our mental health and wellbeing, how we function in our relationships, even what sort of goals we set for ourselves. Often, we believe that achieving those goals will improve our self-image and make us feel better about ourselves. But usually, it happens the other way around.Our self-image is often very distorted. Others may barely notice “imperfections” that are all we can see when we look in the mirror. And, by the same token, we can also take steps to heal poor self-image without actually changing anything about the way we look. Often it starts by examining our beliefs about how we SHOULD look. Joining me today to talk about all of this is Cassie Christopher, whom you know from several past episodes. Cassie is a registered dietitian, workplace wellness expert, speaker, and coach. Repairing body image is a big part of Cassie’s work. She and I are also teaming up to offer a special program this October focusing on on Body Image Repair and Resilience.  Key Takeaways:We form our self-image by comparing ourselves against cultural ideals, which often reflect groups with more power and/or money.Even those whose outward appearance conforms to the cultural ideal often suffer from poor self-image. Even if we don’t have the power to change the system, seeing how it operates gives us more power to decide how we engage with itSelf-worth that is based largely on how we compare to others is never as solid as self-worth that is based on our own intrinsic values. We are often completely unaware of the degree to which negative self-perception is impacting our quality of life. Accepting and celebrating the ways in which we diverge from the “ideal” can be an empowering first step. Mentioned:Body Image Repair & Resilience programBeing good enough (Change Academy Ep. #28)Body Image Self AssessmentMore about Cassie Christopher’s work ★ Support this podcast ★
30:12 9/25/23
Three things you need to change in order to succeed (ft. Molly Watts)
If you’ve been listening to the Change Academy for a while, you’ll remember Molly Watts from several previous episodes. But if you’re newer to the Academy, let me quickly tell you who she is. Molly is the host of the top-rated Alcohol Minimalist podcast and author of the book Breaking the Bottle Legacy.  Molly’s work focuses on helping people create a more peaceful and sustainable relationship with alcohol. And the approach that Molly takes is very consonant with our philosophy here on the Change Academy. Molly has graciously agreed to let us share an excerpt from her podcast in which she shares the three things she had to stop doing in order to finally change her drinking habits. You can substitute just about any unwanted or  problematic behavior or habit for “drinking” and Molly’s advice would be just as valuable. She's also generously offered a free digital copy of her book to any Change Academy listeners who would like one. (See below).  As you listen, think about how Molly’s insights about changing her drinking behavior might apply to a behavioral pattern or habit loop that you’ve struggled to change.Key TakeawaysWe often make change harder than it needs to be by setting unrealistic expectations and then beating ourselves up for failing.Failure is not proof that you cannot succeed…unless you choose to make it that.Small consistent effort ultimately gets us to our goals sooner than big dramatic gestures that fizzle out. Self-judgment is toxic to the process of growth and change. Instead we need to approach ourselves and our behavior with curiosity and compassion. If the behavior we are trying to change is one that we are using as a coping mechanism, we’re going to need to address whatever it is that are using it to cope with.MentionedDownload a free copy of Breaking the Bottle Legacy, by Molly WattsAlcohol Minimalist podcastChange Academy Ep 11: the Attention Intention Action Cycle ★ Support this podcast ★
26:20 9/14/23
How to transform difficult emotions into powerful insights
All of us occasionally struggle with negative or overwhelming emotional reactions.  But few of us have been taught to handle difficult feelings effectively. In this episode, Dr. Bethy Campbell returns to the Change Academy to share techniques for working with our most challenging emotions–enabling us to handle stressful situations with greater resilience and to access healthier emotional responses. Dr. Bethy Campbell is a clinical psychologist, a marriage and family therapist, with special expertise and certification in career development counseling.  During her academic career, she also pioneered a curriculum on Helping Skills, a process that people who are not trained therapists can safely use to support others (or help themselves) when dealing with psychologically or emotionally challenging situations.Key TakeawaysOur emotions can be a powerful source of information, but we need to learn how to recognize and interpret the signals they are sending. Although our feelings are neither good or bad, the way we express those emotions may be healthy or unhealthy. Our primary emotional responses may be buried under several layers of secondary emotions that need to be explored first.Simply labeling and rating the intensity of our emotions is often enough to dissipate their intensity.The goal is not to eliminate emotions but to foster a healthier relationship with them, leading to improved self-understanding and emotional well-being.Lab Experiment(adapted from Helping Skills Training for Nonprofessional Counselors)Consider how primary and secondary emotions and emotional signals apply to your own life. Can you think of a time when secondary emotions clouded your awareness and expression of your primary emotions? Write down your recollections of that time, highlighting primary and secondary emotions.What do you believe your emotions were signaling and motivating you to do?How might talking (or writing?) about these feelings help you access primary emotions and adaptive signals?MentionedEp. #107: Designing your future: How to make a successful career or life pivotHelping Skills Training for Nonprofessional Counselors by Elizabeth L. Campbell, PhDFeelings Wheel ★ Support this podcast ★
36:18 9/5/23
Feeling uninspired or unmotivated by your goals? This could be the missing element
Late breaking news! Kelly is giving Change Academy listeners an electronic copy of her new book for free!  Scroll down for the link to that I met Kelly Howard a few months ago, when she invited me to be a guest on her podcast. I loved the concept of her podcast, which is that fitness is not just another chore that we’re supposed to do. It is a gateway to more freedom. Kelly takes that message beyond her podcast and into the real world, where she runs a company that offers hiking, biking, backpacking, and kayaking adventures, as well as fitness coaching programs to help people prepare for those adventures.  In other words, fitness is not the real goal. Fun and freedom are the goals, and fitness makes those possible. It’s a perfect example of something we talk about all the time here, which is how important it is to have a compelling why, and to align our goals to our larger objectives.In this conversation, you’ll hear how Kelly applies those principles to the work that she does. But these insights apply just as well to any other goals that you may be working on. Takeaways:For most of the things we want to achieve, being consistent is more important than achieving mastery.The value of creating a detailed plan always has to be balanced with the flexibility that allows us to pivot when plans go awryWe need to be just as intentional about rest and recovery as we are about effortSpecific events can be great things to work toward. But don’t forget to think about–and plan for–what comes next. Mentioned:Fit is Freedom podcast Episode #95Brock’s morning warm upFit: Active and Ageless for Life, by Kelly Howard(Free copy for Change Academy members!) ★ Support this podcast ★
31:46 8/25/23
How satisfied are you with your life? (Your health may depend on it)
Part of living your best life involves thinking–at least a little–about how you can set yourself up to live a good life in the future. If you’re of a certain age, you might keep track of things like your cholesterol or your blood pressure. Or, you might keep an eye on your 401K balance, with an eye toward ensuring future well-being. But there’s another lesser-known metric that can also be predictive of both your current and your future health and longevity. Just like those other markers, it’s a number you should know.  Key TakeawaysMentionedLife Satisfaction AssessmentEp 48: Wisdom to Know the DifferenceHappiness Curve, by Jonathan Rauch50K Mile TuneupBuy us a coffee ★ Support this podcast ★
15:42 8/14/23
How much can we realistically do to improve our lives?
This podcast is based on the premise that –with the right tools, insights, and support, we can create meaningful lasting changes in our habits, improve our health, and take control of our lives.  The podcast Tiny Leaps, Big Changes by Gregg Clunis is based on the same premise. But in this episode, Gregg and I explore some uncomfortable questions: What are the limits of our personal agency? What are the forces that lead us to believe that creating healthy, safe, and secure lives and environments is primarily up to us? How do we reconcile our personal work with the need to create better systems and healthier and more equitable societies?Things to Listen For09:55 The limits of what we can accomplish as individuals12:00 A loss of trust and confidence in collective action14:25 The unintended consequences of "lifestyle medicine" messaging16:11 The role that politics plays in our personal development20:10 Who does our self-improvement culture actually serve?27:06 Solving problems for fun (and profit)MentionedTiny Leaps, Big Changes podcastTiny Leaps, Big Changes book ★ Support this podcast ★
31:40 8/4/23

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