Impulses cause people to make bad decisions. People react to their impulses and rarely watch them. The action of reacting to impulses causes addiction. Impulses are the road to bad decisions and addiction.
I am asking you to try something, to start on your road to stopping bad habits. Try monitoring your impulses instead of taking action. Here’s how:
1. Keep a small notebook
A way to realize the amount of urges you have is to keep a small notebook in your pocket, or even just use the memo pad on your phone. Every time an urge pops into your head just watch it, tally it in your memo pad and move on without subduing to that urge. You might also want to write what the urge was, but overall if you just tally your urges and monitor them throughout your day you will have a better picture of the urges you are getting each and every day. Tally every urge even if it is the same urge occurring many times throughout your day.
2. Avoid going to the mall or walmart
The mall and walmart cause impulse shopping. In other words impulse shopping is when you go the store without much in mind to buy and purchase things upon the impulses you get. If you go to walmart you can quickly get distracted and the mall is even worse if you don’t have a specific object in mind.
3. Have a list
This relates back to the last point. If you have a list when you shop, you will know exactly what to buy. If you stick to your plan and only buy what is on that list then you will have saved money and shopped smart.
4. Keep a 30-day list
If you want to buy something as an impulse, put it on your 30 day list. If you still want that thing after 30 days then rethink about buying it. Decide after the 30 days is up. I would recommend writing the date that you wanted to buy it and then the date it will be 30 days later. You can just write the same day a month later.
5. If an urge comes up just breathe and drink some water
If an urge comes up what you need to do is take some deep breathes and drink some water to stop yourself from taking action on that urge.
6. Find other things to do than shop with people
Shopping is one of the places where the most urges arise and where people buy many things that they don’t need. When people don’t have anything in mind to buy, they make bad decisions to buy stuff they don’t need. Do something else with your friends instead of shop.
7. Learn to sit in silence
Many times urges pop up and we subdue to them because we have fear of what our life will be life if we just sit in silence, without taking action on the urge. If you learn to meditate or just sit in silence when an urge arises you will have a much greater chance of making a good decision about the action of that impulse.
Impulses surround us, in the form of notifications or text messages on our phones, television, shopping, or anything that we do to avoid being in the moment and tolerating silence itself. To overcome impulses we must travel out of our comfort zone and experience the present moment not a virtual reality that we are all living in.