Are you an impulsive thinker?

No 3 of a series of brief articles looking at unhelpful thinking styles that form part of your mindset. This time the impulsive thinker.

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What are you like?

Impulsive thinkers want to feel happy/good/safe/loved/satisfied RIGHT NOW.  They are not willing, or able(?) to postpone gratification so they behave very impulsively, often regretting what they have done later.  Taking one step back and thinking for a minute is foreign territory to the impulsive thinker.

Without much, if any, consideration you NEED chocolate, a new car, a cigarette, or just a spending spree, and without it life will be miserable.  In that moment you completely forget your attempt to lose weight, you have a car, are stopping smoking, or are broke.  The need for immediate satisfaction takes over and “you’re going to regret this tomorrow!”.



Happy Valentines Day!

Maybe there is nothing more obviously impulsive than the Valentines Day Card/ Gift/ Proposal !  Carried away with the romance of the occasion how many people have made promises to an unsuitable prospective partner?

I confess to impulsive behaviour, a few days before Valentines Day in 1980.  It was the 11th February when I met my future Wife and, such was my impulsiveness, I couldn’t even wait for Valentines.  I proposed the very next day, 12th February.  I have to admit that I am not a good advert for the dangers of impulsiveness as we are still together 37 years later.  There has to be an exception to every rule!

How does it happen?

This unhelpful thinking style may occur out of the blue when you need to make a rapid decision.  Something catches your eye in the sales.  There is only one left in your size.  You’ve got to have it regardless of price so off you go…the winner.  That is all true until you get home, realise that even the sale price is a lot of money, and it doesn’t fit.  On reflection perhaps you should have taken a bit of time to consider the purchase!.

The same scenario often plays out on E-Bay where you want to win the auction at almost any cost.  When the item arrives it may not be as expected and, worse, you could buy it cheaper.  Your impulsive thinking may have won the auction (battle) but not the war.

Anyone with the impulsive thinking style finds it hard to defer long term gains.  They can’t think about the future consequences of their actions, opting instead for immediate satisfaction. ‘ A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’ fails to satisfy NOW so we ignore it!

What to do?





Impulsive thinkers are likely to be stressed and losing perspective. The more stressed you are, the more emotional you are, the more likely you will act impulsively.  Once you recognise this take a step back, remove yourself from the immediate temptation and learn to tolerate the desire.  Tell yourself you can have/do whatever it is in half an hour and until then you will ignore your cravings.  Often when the time comes the desire will have passed or common sense will have won the day.  Do you really want to break your diet for the sake of a chocolate bar you may not even enjoy?

There is plenty of evidence that anticipating the regret you will feel at the next weigh in is a good way to stay focused on your goal and not give in!

Thrive With Ian will help you overcome this, and other, unhelpful thinking styles.  Contact us now for your FREE, no obligation, first consultation so that you can learn how to Thrive.



I’m Ian and I’m a qualified Thrive Programme Consultant. Using the professionally developed Thrive Programme – a proven, evidence based, positive psychology training programme – I work with people from all walks of life, providing the insights and skills they need to change their lives for the better.

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