Morning routines of four high-achieving Australians

Are you hankering for some better habits in the morning?

Before you go immersing yourself each morning in an ice bath, perhaps first get to know what makes a habit. According to a 2012 article published by Dr Benjamin Gardner, Lecturer in Health Psychology at University College London, habits need what he calls ‘contextual cues’ to come about.

“Within psychology, ‘habits’ are defined as actions that are triggered automatically in response to contextual cues.”

In other words, you wash your hands as a habit (the action) after using the bathroom (the contextual cue). There needs to be a contextual cue, something that causes you to make that action to eventually turn it into an automatic response.

The benefits of creating habits, according to Dr Gardner, cross over from the physical to the mental.

“Habits are also cognitively efficient, because the automation of common actions frees mental resources for other tasks.”

In other words, the more systems you establish for daily processes, such as cleaning, exercise, goal setting, mental exercise etc. the more space in your head you have to allow creative or problem-solving thoughts to occur.

With the concept of ‘contextual cues’ firm in your mind, here are some morning routines of four high achieving Australians to get you a little inspired.

Sticky notes on a grey wall

Eugenie Pepper – The Key For Me

A mother, coach, hypnotherapist and co-founder of The Key For Me app, Eugenie confesses that self-organization has never been her strong suit.

“I have had to really work at training myself and kids have really helped me get into a routine,” says Eugenie.

Using the contextual cue of a visual reminder, Eugenie uses colourful notes to remind her and the children of their morning routines.

“We also did check lists. I did these with my kids so we would all be in agreement. Once the kids are up we follow the routine that is prominently blue tacked on a wall in the kitchen.

“The one thing I do everyday, without fail, is at least 30 minutes of exercise straight after I drop the kids to school.”

Justin Falk – TalentVine

 Brisbane-based digital entrepreneur and founder of TalentVine, Justin Falk approaches his mornings with a routine formula.

“I’m an Ironman athlete and a full time business owner, so I stay fit and healthy due to my morning routine.

“I wake at five, drink Chlorophyll and Apple Cider Vinegar, do a five-minute journal of gratitude and goal setting for the day, train for an hour (swim, run or gym), ten-minute stretch or yoga then listen to a podcast or meditation on the way into work, ready to get started by 7:30.”

The simplicity of the tasks Justin sets himself in a sequence each day allow him to form healthy habits easily. And the early rise?

“I am a morning person but I do still find it hard to wake up. An effective trick was to get an alarm clock and keep my phone charging in another room, otherwise I could slip into emails and before I realise, I’ve been scrolling in bed for half an hour.”

Hayley Roper – The Blossom Project

Counsellor and business owner, Hayley roper is author and founder of The Blossom Project, aimed at empowering young adults dealing with bullying. With two businesses on the go at the same time, both which she started herself, Hayley takes things simply in the morning.

Another early riser, Hayley follows some meditation with exercise and writing to help clear the mind for her day.

“When I first started Love My Body and Blossom, I found it was hard to focus on one thing with a million thoughts flying around my head, so I made a conscious effort to be present in the moment, stick to my routine and to take care of myself, not just others.

“These things combined definitely changed my level of productivity and positivity. Sometimes I have my off days, but who doesn’t? Everyone makes mistakes and it’s about getting better each day and never sweating the small stuff.”

A women does yoga while the sun rises

Tom Fitzgerald – Integrated Nutrition Fitness

Based in Canberra, Tom Fitzgerald run his own business, Integrated Nutrition Fitness, focusing on nutrition and body recomposition.

The external cue that pushed Tom into forming the habit of rising early was his job. He had his first client at 5:45am.

“In the early stages, I used to roll out of bed and hit snooze, hoping I would feel energised five-minutes later. That never happened, and it only made me rush to get to work on time,” Tom says.

Tom keeps things simple in the morning, with a quick cold shower (an acquired taste), the same breakfast each day, 10 minutes of guided meditation and a drive to work sans radio or music. Limited research has been done into the effects of listening to music when driving, but it seems obvious that having no music or radio means there are fewer external influencers on your mood, allowing you to enter the working part of your day with a more balanced mood.

“This process gradually brings me from sleep to action in under 60-minutes, without any stress or dumping caffeine.”

Morning routines still not your thing? Why not try turning your business into a franchise.

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