Reset by Making The Joy Choice
Updated: Feb 6
When it comes to making resolutions and setting goals about eating better and exercising more —we all start out with the best of intentions. I mean, who doesn’t want to be healthier and stronger and have more energy?
And most of us do a pretty good job putting our plans into action — at least for awhile. And it all works until it doesn’t. We miss a day at the gym or eat a slice of cake at a friend’s birthday party and we get frustrated that we can’t stay on track. We blame ourselves for not being disciplined. We think we’re the problem.
But here’s the thing — and please take this to heart — you are not the problem.
Maybe the reason you didn’t make it to the gym that day is because you were up late doing work or with a sick child. Maybe you had to take an important call before you got out the door to the gym. Maybe you really needed to sleep in. Life happens.
And maybe you wanted to have that slice of birthday cake because it was your friend’s birthday. And maybe, just maybe, you really like cake and it was your favorite kind of cake. Life happens.
And knowing that life happens is important when it comes to sustaining healthy shifts in our lifestyles. Because if we know it, then we can plan for it and make The Joy Choice.
What is the The Joy Choice? It is a brilliant and science backed strategy for cultivating and maintaining healthy behaviors. The creator of The Joy Choice is Michelle Segar, PhD.
And while I’m going to offer you the Cliff Notes version of how to begin using The Joy Choice approach —I highly suggest you get Segar’s book by the same name, as well as her other book, No Sweat. Solid reads for creating a healthier lifestyle.
Segar explains in her book that not everyone is wired to be what she calls a habiter. A habiter is someone like her husband. He sleeps in shorts and a t-shirt and rolls out of bed at 5am to work out no matter what time he got to bed. Every. Single. Day.
And while being a habiter works for her husband, Segar shares it doesn’t work for her. She’s tried it—and has worked with many, many people who’ve also tried it — only to find it was a big fail.
Yes, the approach was a fail but that didn’t mean she — or anyone else who’s tried it — was a failure. The approach just didn’t work for them. They weren’t the problem. The approach was.
As I said before, life happens. Life happens a lot — for some people more than others. Given work, family, friends, and other commitments — schedules and demands can shape-shift at warp speed.
Trying to create regular habits in a routine that keeps changing is incredibly hard. And if you’re not wired to be a habiter you’ll probably find your health goals even more elusive.
But the beautiful thing is — there is another path, another choice —The Joy Choice. And it all begins with a POP!
POP is an acronym for a strategy Segar devised for when a person’s best plans hit a snag. POP comes in handy when your exercise plans are interrupted or when you’re being stared down by a slice of delicious birthday cake. It’s a wonderful tool that can aid you in all your goals.
POP takes the conflict point that arises when what you intended to do runs into life happening and turns it into a choice point. And working with a choice point puts you in the drivers seat. It empowers you. It keeps you from getting dragged down and stuck in conflict. It makes room for joy. This is how it works.
The first P in POP stands for Pause. Yes, pause. When what you’d planned on doing gets interrupted — just pause. I might suggest taking a few slow breaths and saying to yourself, “I got this”.
By pausing you create space so you can Open up your options and play. It’s about pondering possible back up plans when your original plan isn’t feasible at the moment.
Then after you ponder your options you Pick the Joy Choice. The Joy Choice is the most perfect imperfect option available to you in that moment.
So if you’re up late or didn’t sleep well and going to the gym in the morning —your original plan — isn’t going to work because you need some sleep— just POP that plan.
Maybe your perfect imperfect option is to do a shorter exercise routine at home before work. Or maybe you decide to take a thirty minute walk at lunch time. Make the Joy Choice that allows you to be true to your wellbeing.
And if your plan is to eat fewer desserts —only to be invited to a last minute birthday celebration for a friend— and you know — cake! Maybe you POP that original eating plan. Pause. Open up to your options. Pick the Joy Choice.
And your Joy Choice may very well be to have a small slice of cake whereas in the past you would have had a bigger slice, or two. If you do choose to have a slice of cake — be sure to savor every bite. Eat it joyfully.
You’ve got this!!
To find out more about Michelle Segar’s work you can visit her website.
And below are some interviews with Michelle Segar that you may enjoy:
The One You Feed podcast:
How to Make Lasting Changes in Eating and Exercise with Michelle Segar
Original Strength BodCast:
Making The Joy Choice with Michelle Segar