Just because we’re a month into 2018 doesn’t mean we’re ready to stop talking about our New Year’s health resolutions just yet.
In fact, at Dallas Iron Fitness, we’re committed to making this your best year yet, and so we’re introducing a new monthly blog series: Creating Healthy Habits.
After reading The Power of Habit (if you haven’t read it, add it to your Amazon order right now), we’re on a habit kick, convinced now more than ever that the secret to creating and sticking with a healthy lifestyle is by transforming our daily habits, little by little.
In the book, author Charles Duhigg explains the habit loop—the process our brain goes through in completing habitual behaviors, like driving our usual route to work or the routine we go through at night to get ready for bed—all habits that mostly happen without much conscious decision-making on our part.
Duhigg explains the habit loop like this: “First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.”
By being aware of how our brain develops these habits, we can begin to shift our old, destructive habits and shaping them into new, healthy habits.
Duhigg later writes that according to studies, “when people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed.”
Creating healthy exercise habits can positively affect all other areas of our lives—there’s no better reason to get started creating these healthy habits now.
Creating Healthy Habits: Group Exercise Classes
The habit we’re going to focus on creating this month is a simple one—choosing a group exercise class and sticking with it.
Why group classes? Duhigg explains, “The same process that makes AA so effective--the power of a group to teach individuals how to believe--happens whenever people come together to help one another change. Belief is easier when it occurs within a community.”
If you’re just starting our creating healthy exercise habits, you’re more likely to stick to this routine if you are participating with a group who can encourage you to keep going.
Start small. One Class. Once a week through February.
There’s a class out there for anyone--whether you want high intensity, like boxing, or zen (yet still challenging!) like yoga. If you’re on a budget this month, check out Groupon, where you can score great deals on group exercise classes in your area!
If you find yourself really vibing with the class, consider upping your goal to attending twice (or more!) a week.
But are you facing a lot of internal resistance and feel like you have to drag yourself to the workout class? Reconsider:
Time of Class. Maybe you’re just not a morning workout person, but you can totally get behind an hour of exercise to blow off some steam after a long day of work.
Type of Class. Maybe Pilates just isn’t for you, but Kickboxing is! Try different classes until you find one that fits your fitness personality!
Type of Reward. As discussed above, rewards play an integral part in our brain’s habit loop. For some, the feel-good chemicals released in your body after a workout is enough of a reward to continue exercising; for others, you may need to persuade yourself to get to that workout class with other rewards, like a green smoothie after the workout or a bubble bath before bed.
Creating healthy habits that work for you is about experimenting with different variables that work for your life!
Use this month to find an exercise class you love at the time that is right for you (rewarding yourself if necessary!), and then develop the habit of regularly attending this class each week, creating a craving (another essential to forming habits) in yourself for that class.
YOUR FEBRUARY HABIT GOAL: One group exercise class. Once a week.
- So here’s your assignment for today: before you do anything else, pull out your calendar and sign up for that class right now.
We know that this is going to be your best year yet!
And then tell us… which exercise classes are you signing up for?! We want to hear from you, so leave a comment below!
LOCAL TO THE DALLAS AREA?
Have you heard about our new Dallas Sweat Club group exercise classes?! Join us every Saturday morning and Tuesday evening of the month to begin creating those healthy exercise habits this month!