Rushing into action can be taken as a proactive attitude towards everything in life. It always feels good to accomplish something. Conversely, procrastinating can be viewed as unproductive and inefficient approach, if it is ever called approach at all. Dilly-dallying has gotten a bad press from all sides in our fast-paced world.
Action gets positive reinforcement. Movement is seen as progress. “Nothing is happening,” is a statement that everyone avoids to hear. We are all programmed to always long for a change regardless of the nature of it. When we hear our kids say, “I’m bored,” we, by default, look for ways to stimulate our children for fear of repeating those dreaded words.
The world’s technological advancement gives us all the more reason to rush into things. It is easy to be impulsive in this state where we have so many options and so many tools to fulfill our desires. It is no wonder that we find ourselves in situations that we cannot seem to control the flow of our desires. We just want to keep on executing actions without proper consideration. This results into consequences that we never really thought about or expected- mostly detrimental results.
I have thought about three simple ways that anyone can start practicing to reduce the hold of impulsive behavior over you. Here they are:
Instead of charging full blast into a decision, say wolfing down a slice of flourless chocolate cake, postpone the decision. Do not take any action. Leave the slice of cake and do something else. Give yourself a deadline as to when you can actually sit down and enjoy the cake. The longer time you postpone it, the better. Sometimes, after a while you forget about it which is good because this builds your confidence level on your sense of control. As much as possible, delay your gratification. Reduce the situations where you want to gratify yourself. Train your body to not look for these gratifications.
Distract Yourself by Changing Your Habits
We hear our gym or health club instructors say to not allow our muscles to get used to the same routines. Likewise, there is always a pattern in impulsive behavior. Think of which things you are impulsive towards all the time. It may be towards certain things like food, shopping items, ideas. Scrutinize the reasons why you like these things. Then, start confusing your belief system by totally changing your habit patterns. Instead of hitting the malls because you are a shopaholic, rent a good movie instead. Or start connecting with a long-lost friend instead of feasting on a pint of ice cream. The idea is to change your usual routine into something totally different, but harmless.
Increase Your Pain Threshold
All of the above suggestions would be painful if practiced. It will be difficult. You will go through states of doubt and certainty. Learn to be comfortable with the obscurity of the experience. Sometimes, you will feel a great longing for your old life, but stay put. There will be times that the yearning is so strong, but remember that it is just as far as it is. Let it be until it simmers down. These quasi-painful roller-coaster feelings will only expand your endurance in the midst of a great trial. When you go through the same condition next time, you know what to do.
The best advice, really, is to go the opposite way of where your impulsivity leads you to go. If you continue the journey, you will be led to a place beyond your wildest imagination. You will discover aspects of yourselves you have never seen before. Good luck! I am rooting for you.