Let’s face it; we are all impulsive in our lives every now and then. Whether it’s impulsively booking a trip, buying those shoes, or grabbing junk food at the grocery store checkout – we’ve all been there. For me, I am an extremely impulsive shopper, meaning I have to create a list before I go shopping and do my absolute best to stick to it. It also means I don’t go out thrifting for clothes (or to Marshall’s, or Ardene’s, the list goes on…) really at all anymore because it just becomes an excuse to spend my money on impulse buys. However, being impulsive doesn’t just mean spending money; in fact, most of us make hasty decisions throughout our day without really realizing it. Furthermore, many people who have impulsive tendencies like to call themselves ‘spontaneous,’ which in my opinion is just a euphemism for being impulsive. Although it can be challenging to learn how to become less impulsive and more deliberate in your life, it is necessary to become the best versions of ourselves. Today we will look at three ways to become less impulsive so that you may become your new, best self and mold a life you love living.
When you are learning to be less impulsive, an excellent place to start is by journaling down not only your plans for the day but also your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This simple act of writing down how you’re feeling and your goals can help you stay more aligned and deliberate throughout the day and help you avoid giving in to impulsive decision-making. For example, if you write down your daily plan, including working for six hours, working out, and making a healthy meal, you are way more likely to follow through with the plan now that it is written down. It is not ‘set in stone’ because personally, I don’t like feeling that way, but it can help you stay more on track with your goals. So, instead of working for eight hours, skipping your workout, and ordering a pizza, because you have already set your intentions for the day in your journal, you will be more likely to stick to the original plan you had set out that morning. And let’s be honest, there will be other times when an impulsive pizza ordering is exactly what is needed. But try to save it for hanging out with your friends or a special occasion rather than just a random Thursday night. I want to come back to a word I mentioned: intention. In my opinion, intention is basically the opposite of being impulsive. That is why if you set an intention, especially one that’s a routine that you do every day, it becomes engrained in your mind, and you are more likely to follow through. Being deliberate, full of intention, and less impulsive is necessary so that you may begin to fire your old self and make way for your new, BEST self!
Meditation, by definition, is a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as mindfulness or focusing on something specific, to train their attention and awareness and achieve a mentally and emotionally calm state. Essentially, meditation is a strong, effective tool to combat impulsiveness since the process itself calls for mindfulness or being deliberate and intentional with your thoughts and actions. Meditation also gives you a moment to sit with yourself and turn inwards, which many of us find uncomfortable to do no matter how necessary of a practice it is. Truly, one of the most important things on the journey to becoming our best selves is learning to be comfortable with and love ourselves fully. Making impulsive decisions isn’t always as deep as ‘do we love ourselves’ or not, but it definitely can be. Basically, negative compounds negative. If you are in a negative headspace about yourself, you are less likely to care about the deliberate plans you have set, whether in your journal or not, and you are more likely to fall back into the negative, impulsive habits that act as your security blanket. By taking some time to meditate, each day or even each week, you can begin to become more in tune with yourself and your needs, which helps eliminate the necessity of being impulsive. Ultimately, our bodies want to know what to expect, which is why if you spend some time understanding yourself and meditating, you can break your impulsive habits and begin to “live your best life”.
I think that many of us are scared of sitting alone in silence. Enjoying silence is different than meditation in a few key ways. For starters, with meditation, the whole point is to deliberately focus your energy inward to come to some type of emotional or mental clarity. However, when you just work to enjoy silence, it gives the opportunities for thoughts or emotions to surface and come to you rather than the other way around. It can be challenging to enjoy silence, but it can help you re-align yourself with your goals, and the things that emerge can potentially be life-changing. For example, you might realize during some silent alone time that you did overreact impulsively and said some things you didn’t mean in an argument. Maybe this realization means you’re able to fix a broken relationship that you thought at one time was not able to be mended. Enjoying silence can really help you take a step back and see the bigger picture since you will get to spend some time with your innermost thoughts that emerge – good or bad. As humans, we will always have to take the bad with the good, but at the very least, we can work towards a more positive mindset by becoming less impulsive in our everyday lives. Getting in the routine of enjoying your own company in silence can allow you to understand yourself like never before, work on minimizing negative actions and reactions (like being impulsive), and ultimately fire your old self to make way for the new better self.
Changing our mindsets and replacing unhealthy actions with healthy habits can be one of the most challenging things that we need to do in order to grow. However, it must be done because growth is necessary for us to truly become the people we want to be. Becoming less impulsive begins with setting intentions and being mindful in our everyday lives. It can be as simple as writing down your to-do list in a journal or meditating on your thoughts or as complex as a soul-seeking journey unfolding to you when you take some time to sit in silence. For me, I like to lean into my journal as well as meditate on my thoughts (in silence – if that counts?) to gain clarity on what’s going on in my life. Then I have specific strategies to combat things I know I am impulsive about, such as shopping or being impatient. For example, to tackle my shopping impulsivity, I utilize lists and do my very best to stick to them, as mentioned. In contrast, when I am impatient, I have to work really hard to not just impulsively say things but rather calm down, count to ten, or even take a walk to cool down. But by becoming more in tune with myself through some of the ways we discussed, I can identify when I am beginning to feel impulsive and work to correct it. Ultimately, integrating useful strategies to become less impulsive is crucial so that we may “Fire” our “Old Self” to create “Our NEW SELF” while remembering Life’s Short, Love the Life You Live!