Impulsive /m-ˈpəl-siv/ adjective
Doing things or tending to do things suddenly and without careful thought; acting or tending to act on impulse; done suddenly and without planning; resulting from a sudden impulse.
I am VERY impulsive a lot of the time. Shopping, whoa mama! Eating, you betcha! I do those things without thinking and without planning. A thought enters my mind and I act on it. Zip, zop, done and done.
I struggle to keep myself in check. And you know what? A lot of my behavior is done to make myself feel better. But you know what else? It usually makes me feel worse. Maybe not immediately, but always within a few hours.
I’ve been talking with my therapist about my impulsivity. We decided that whenever I go out to a store I need a list. On that list is everything I am going to buy on that trip. And if it isn’t on the list I don’t get to buy it—at that time.
Take my recent trip to Michael’s. I went to purchase supplies for a craft I was planning for Sunday School. While in Michael’s I decided I needed new charcoal and a bright lamp for on my easel. I left Michael’s spending $99. I only needed about $20 worth of craft supplies, but I didn’t have a set list and I acted on impulse.
With this new plan I will sit down and consciously plan out and write out exactly everything that I need at the store I am going to. As I’m walking around the aisles if I see something that is not on my list, no matter how badly I want to buy it, I cannot buy it. What I can do is start a new list, on the next page of the notebook, and put the item on the list. This way I don’t need to worry about forgetting what it is that I want to buy (which, hello, if I really need the item I will not forget about it) and I can walk away and mull over the purchase for at least a day. So the back of my planner (I use an Erin Condren Life Planner. Click here for $10 off your first purchase) I am going to write my lists. I mean, when I go food shopping I never go without a complete and detailed list, why should any other shopping be any different?
What else can I say? I am trying to remember to take three breaths BEFORE doing anything. Nothing is life and death in my life. I do not have the key codes for nuclear weapons. I am not performing life saving surgery. I am just me. And I need to remember that and remember that I can always go back, I can always return, to the item or food at hand. There will always be a second chance, and probably a third and a fourth, to purchase or eat the item in my sights.
What are some tricks of your trade that you use to avoid knee jerk, unthinking reactions? I’d love to know.
Why I'm Blogging
Just your average 40 something trying to find the way in which she can make sense of her life. I hope you'll join me for this journey.