Meet Aaron Houghton – founder of the mental wellness app, Founders First. We chat with him about tracking your emotional state, steering your mental wellness, and prioritizing time with the ones you love.
Ned: How would you describe yourself?
Aaron: I’m a tech entrepreneur turned mental wellness advocate on a mission to support anyone who’s pushing their limits.
NEd: Can you tell us more about the work you do?
Aaron: I run a mental wellness app that supports people who are pushing their limits, from setting world records to achieving personal goals, building new companies, going through life-changing transitions, fighting for their lives or changing the world. We all have things that push us to our limits. We help these people thrive while doing it.
Ned: What are your core values?
Aaron: Connection to nature, schedule freedom, pushing my limits, being there for important moments, working on hard problems.
Ned: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Aaron: When you speak to 100 people, don’t try to help everyone. Try to help just someone.
Ned: What’s your motto or favorite quote?
Aaron: I am safe. I am respected. I am loved.
Ned: What’s something you’ve learned this past year?
Aaron: How to work at a sustainable pace to stay in the peak performance zone every single day.
Ned: What’s a super simple practice you do that’s improved your life?
Aaron: I track my emotional state every day and keep a list of activities I did to support it.
Ned: What’s the smallest change you’ve made that’s had the biggest impact?
Aaron: Doing a sixty minute in-person group yoga class once a week.
Ned: What do you know you need to do to feel like your best self every day?
Aaron: Whatever it takes to maintain a calm mental state.
Ned: How do you start your day?
Aaron: I take my kids to school with my wife and we take our dog to a dog park and have coffee together.
Ned: How do you end your day?
Aaron: I stop working at least five hours before I go to sleep, have dinner with my family, and stretch and relax to unwind from the day.
Ned: What’s your favorite ritual?
Aaron: Breathing a few breaths through my hands after rubbing them together with some drops of eucalyptus oil.
Ned: What’s your best advice for stress?
Aaron: Track your emotional state every day to understand how it’s changing. Without this information you’re steering your mental wellness without a rudder.
Ned: What’s your best advice for mental health?
Aaron: Track your emotional state like you track your professional work.
Ned: What’s your best advice for sleep?
Aaron: The way you live your day is the way you feel in the evenings. Great sleep starts by doing the things you need to do to feel great all day long. Sleep alone is not powerful enough to restore what we lose from an emotionally reckless day.
Ned: What’s your best advice for clarity and focus?
Aaron: Simplify your environment. Use queues in your visual space to remind you of your priorities. Use your brain intensely in short bursts of time with regular breaks for rest and recovery.
Ned: What’s something you want to start doing?
Aaron: Meditating more.
Ned: What’s something you want to stop doing?
Aaron: Eating after 9pm.
Ned: What’s something you’re grateful for?
Aaron: My mind and my body and all the people who support me.
Ned: What’s your favorite Ned product(s) and why?
Aaron: Lavenderberry Mellö. It’s super tasty and it helps me feel more calm.
Ned: How do you use your favorite Ned product?
Aaron: I drink Mellö after breakfast every morning and sometimes after big adventures outdoors too.