Would you like to know how to be less impulsive?
If you often find yourself doing things without careful forethought, that is being impulsive and something that needs to be checked.
A lot of people have suffered for being impulsive, which makes it a trait you should avoid.
Impulsion might reflect itself in your daily decisions and the options you choose to take and neglect.
No doubt, you have heard a lot being said about impulsive spending or shopping, whereby one spends without the need or careful planning.
Also, you might find yourself being impulsive while communicating with others, by giving responses without careful thought.
A lot of dangers are associated with this, ranging from financial troubles to damaged relationships.
We will review many of the demerits of being impulsive as we go on in this article.
Also, you might find yourself exhibiting impulsivity in your career maybe as a business owner or employee, and that might be affecting your work adversely.
Your being impulsive might affect the organization you worked for in terms of sales, business development, and customer retention.
Additionally, if this negative trait is left unchecked, it might eventually even cost you your job or source of livelihood.
Owing to the many disadvantages that come with impulsion, it is therefore very important that you work on controlling it or keeping it out completely.
If you want to know how to be less impulsive, you are on the right page, as we would address some of the best strategies for this in a jiffy.
But first, it would be fine to understand what being impulsive really means, and also consider some of the problems with impulsion.
Also, we would see some of the characteristics of an impulsive person, so you can be sure where you stand.
What Does it Mean to Be Impulsive?
The word “impulsive” comes from the word “impulse”.
Impulse can be defined as a quick, sudden, and strong urge or desire to act or behave in a certain way.
Going by this, someone is said to be impulsive when he or she has a tendency to take any action or make a sudden decision without thinking it through.
Usually, it is expected that before you take certain decisions or carry out some actions, you sit down and carefully weigh the pros and cons.
Doing this would help you decide whether or not the action you are about to take is worth it and won’t be regretted later.
However, when you suddenly take a decision with thinking it through, especially one you later regret, that is acting on impulsion.
Your impulsiveness can reflect itself in different forms.
It might be that when having a conversation with someone, you randomly say things you are not supposed to say, without careful thought.
Also, you might be impulsive with spending money.
Maybe you spend money to buy things you do not necessarily need or would ever need out of impulse.
A lot of people likewise make many wrong financial choices and decisions that can be regarded as impulsive.
This is a common practice among children and can be excused especially since they are in their early developmental stage.
Even in adults, having impulsive behaviors sometimes isn’t really a big problem especially if it rarely happens.
However, when it becomes a norm or a constant practice, then it becomes a problem that should be addressed.
Some Examples/Signs that Indicates Impulsive Behaviors
If you are not quite sure whether or not you tend to be impulsive either sometimes or at all times, then this is for you.
When someone is impulsive, there are certain signs or behavioral patterns that come with it.
Seeing these signs in yourself or others is a pointer to impulsive behavior, one that needs urgent attention.
Here are some very glaring signals of impulsivity:
Being overindulgent in just about anything is often associated with being impulsive.
There are a lot of things that you can overindulge in, such as; shopping, alcohol, gambling, or even eating.
When you find yourself overly indulged in these things without having the needed self-control, it could be a sign of impulsivity.
This is more especially the case when you find that you often crave this overindulgence without taking time to pause and think about the outcome.
While this is often associated with the impulsiveness that kids exhibit, it is quite unfortunate that a lot of adults are also culpable.
It could be that when you set out your mind to carry out a task or do something at work, you find your mind wandering always.
Also, it might be difficult for you to focus on one thing at a time or you tend to always move from one place to another.
Being restless especially when you really need to be focused is another pointer to being impulsive and a characteristic of an impulsive person.
Deliberately Escalating Problems
Another sign of being impulsive is when you make it a habit of turning little situations or minor problems into big deals.
Many people are guilty of this either in their own personal choices or the decisions they make in business.
Usually, it takes forethought and careful reasoning to properly assess the weight of a problem and approach it accordingly.
However, an impulsive person would not think and therefore take drastic decisions that might worsen the situation.
If you find yourself guilty of this as well, then it’s a sign of impulsion and you need to work on being less impulsive.
Showing Aggressive Behaviour
While this is not often an early characteristic of an impulsive person, it can actually become a problem over time.
There is a stage that impulsivity gets to that the impulsive one becomes angry easily, coming from the frustrations of their bad choices.
Such ones can then begin to throw tantrums, have frequent angry outbursts, or even engage in aggressive behaviors.
That also indicates a serious case of being impulsive and deserves quick attention if noticed.
Starting Over Again Too Many Times
Another thing common with those who are impulsive is that they lack longevity in whatever it is they engage in.
It might be in relationships, friendships, networking, connections, or other things.
Such ones are fond of always cutting ties after a short period of time, and seeking to start all over again.
The rather interesting thing about such actions is that they also are very fast and abrupt in starting such a process.
Hence, the way they rush into it is the same way they equally rush out of it.
This is another very clear characteristic of impulsive behavior.
Divulging Too Much Information
Well, an impulsive person is one who talks without thinking, and hence it comes as no surprise that they divulge too much.
Simply put, when you put a secret in the care of someone who is impulsive, you cannot rest easy, confident that your secret is safe.
Because these ones speak before they think, they end up talking too much, and might even reveal intimate details they ought not to.
Constantly Interrupting Others
The word ‘courtesy’ is not in the books of an impulsive person.
That means that they are fond of jumping into conversations and lack the patience to allow someone to finish before they speak.
If you are having a conversation with such ones, they want to always do the talking.
Having Little Regard for Danger Signs
A person who is less impulsive would naturally pause, think and think again before he/she acts.
Because of this, they generally identify danger signs quickly and take prompt action to avoid such.
On the contrary, the impulsive person does not take the time to identify danger signs or even take action to avoid them.
In fact, they do not quickly recognize dangers when they see them simply because they act out of impulse without forethought.
This has caused a lot of problems for many who have this trait inherent in them.
Taking Things Without Permission or Waiting for Their Turn
As with most of the signs we’ve considered so far, this is very common with children.
Sadly though, a lot of adults are also found culpable.
One very glaring signal of impulsive behaviors is not respecting order, but doing things disorderly.
A person who is impulsive might among other things, always take things without asking for due permission.
Also, if they happen to be in line to receive an item or get a service, they do not wait for their turn.
If you find yourself with this trait also, it points to impulsivity and you need to be less impulsive.
Negative Effects of Being Impulsive
Well, some people might tell you with proof that being impulsive is not totally bad in itself, and would be right.
After all, there are times when actions or decisions taken on impulse might actually turn out to be a success.
However, the negative effects of impulsivity far out-weighs whatever rare positive outcome you hope to get.
In fact, a lot of people have had to learn the hard way that impulsiveness has dire consequences.
One of the negative effects that come from being impulsive is that you tend to make hasty decisions.
Some decisions deserve careful planning and forethought in order to ensure it is the wise one.
Additionally, an impulsive person usually also suffers from a lot of strained relationships.
The reason for this is that no one wants to be friends with someone who they think “talks before he thinks”.
Your impulsiveness might be leaving a bad taste in the mouth of a lot of people and they won’t love you for that.
Being impulsive can also have a debilitating effect on your overall well-being, all thanks to the negative impacts of poor choices.
Lastly, a lot of people who show their impulsiveness by overindulgence have had to suffer serious financial troubles because of this.
So many of these ones have become indebted because of overindulging in shopping, drinking, or even gambling.
Certainly, being impulsive has many negative impacts and results than positive.
How to Be Less Impulsive – Practical Steps You Can Take
Now, having seen how dangerous being impulsive is, you should know that it is not a trait to have or adore.
Rather, if you find that this affects you, you should consider taking measures in order to be less impulsive.
Being less impulsive will save you financially, contribute to your good well-being, and also strengthen your relationships with others.
Here are some practical steps you can take for you to be less impulsive:
Start By Having a Daily Schedule
Most times, impulsive acts come up during the time of the day when you do not have something noteworthy doing.
If you have a lot of free time during the day that isn’t for one activity or the other, there is a high tendency that you will use it for impulsive activities.
That is why having a daily schedule is very important.
With a daily schedule, you plan all your activities for the day by the time of the day you would carry out such an activity.
Having everything planned out this way would ensure that there is something you are up to at every point during the day.
This would afford you the opportunity to get busy and leave no lapses or space for impulsivity.
Identify Your Impulsive Actions and Take Steps to Prevent Them
Behaviors that denote impulsiveness or acts of impulsivity vary from one person to another.
Hence, it is essential that you identify what areas you tend to get impulsive.
Is it in the way you respond to others? Is it in the way you spend money? Or is it when you are about to make key decisions?
Once you know what your impulsiveness centers around, you can then deliberately make it difficult to ever happen.
Take for example, if you are struggling with being less impulsive in spending money, can you try leaving your credit card at home sometimes?
What if your impulse is more in the direction of gambling excessively? Then can you try blocking such websites or deleting the applications?
When you make conscious efforts to prevent those triggers of impulsivity in you, you are more likely to get results in being less impulsive.
Delay Making Key Decisions If They are Not Urgent
Sometimes, the urge to get impulsive might make you believe that if you do not take a certain decision or action at that point in time, you will lose out.
However, that is rarely the case.
If you follow that urge, you end up making choices based on impulse, most of which you end up regretting.
Hence, it is very important that you pause and hold on a while before you make important decisions.
To be practical, you can sleep over it and give yourself more time to reflect on the decision you are about to take.
If you do this, you might just find that you have a better understanding and a clearer picture of things.
And as such, you are able to make wiser choices and be less impulsive.
Decide on Your Core Values and Ethics; Write Them Down
Just as it is with organizations, it is very important that every individual have core values and ethics that guide them.
Every decision you make daily and actions you take must fall within the confines of your values.
Once you’ve decided what your core values are, it is important you write it down somewhere you will see it everyday.
Then, whenever the urge to act on impulse comes, take a moment to look at your core values and ethics.
Ask yourself; “Does this action or decision resonate with my core values? Is it in line with my ethical values?
If the answer is no, that is a red flag, and it will help you to fight the urge and be less impulsive.
Cultivate the Habit of Listening
This is very helpful if you are impulsive in giving responses or speaking especially.
Often, the reason why we might speak on impulse without thinking our speech through is because we are itching to speak.
A quality that can help you avoid this is having the habit of listening attentively.
This means that whenever you are speaking to someone, take time to listen to them as they express their own views and opinions.
After speaking, you can still politely ask them if there is anything they would love to add.
Doing this is buying yourself needed time to gather your thoughts and think it through before you give a response.
When you do this, you are less likely to speak impulsively and rather be less impulsive in your responses.
Ask a Trusted Partner to Hold you Accountable
Accountability goes a long way in helping one to be less impulsive, especially when it has to do with reaching your goals.
It might be that you struggle with sticking with your goals and milestones you’ve set for yourself.
If that is the case, you can share those goals with a friend and ask them to hold you accountable for what you do.
They might check on you regularly to be sure you are sticking with the plan and not acting on impulse.
This is a very effective source of help if you want to be less impulsive.
Use Checklists to Stay on Track
There are times when our impulsivity might come to play during times we are supposed to be at work.
If that is the case with you, then you might find a checklist very helpful.
A checklist outlines the tasks you have for a particular day, and you can then check them off as soon as you complete them.
In order to make it more binding, you can assign time to such tasks.
When you do this, it helps you to avoid distractions and also helps you make decisions objectively and with direction.
This in turn makes you less impulsive.
Take a Nap Regularly
Sometimes, our impulsivity comes from facing too much stress or overwhelming activities during the day.
If you find that you always have a lot of activities before you and you hardly have time to rest and relax, you might be getting more impulsive.
Therefore, what can help in this situation is to prioritize rest and taking short naps during work hours.
Usually, after such naps, your brain is more open, fresh and calm to make the best decisions.
Having time for sufficient rest is a proven recipe for being less impulsive.
How to Be Less Impulsive – Conclusion
Sadly, as much as you want your impulsivity to disappear right away, it will not happen overnight.
However, you should be confident that you have all it takes to fight and win the battle against impulsiveness.
If you apply the suggestions given here, it won’t be long before you start being less impulsive and giving more thought to your words, actions and decisions.