Think Before You Act
Having a sense of spontaneity is important because it keeps life interesting. Doing the same things every day gets boring and could lead to a major rut. That said, flying through life by the seat of your pants and making snap decisions can get you into trouble. Here’s how to know if you’re too impulsive, and some advice on slowing down when the occasion calls for it.
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1. You Usually Take Action When You’re Emotional
Think about when you typically make decisions, both small and large. Do you tend to blow your paycheck on clothes you don’t need right after a lousy day at work? Did your past relationships all end in the middle of a fight? Do you find yourself forgetting how and when you actually made certain decisions? Chances are, you’re acting out when your emotions are high, which can lead to major regrets when the dust settles. Before making an impulsive move, take a moment (or 10) to breathe, collect yourself and determine if whatever you want can be put off until tomorrow.
2. You Don’t Typically Ask Others to Weigh in
Certainly, you don’t need to consult your BFF on every dating-related decision and you shouldn’t need to call you parents before booking a vacation, buying a couch or completing other grown-up acts. But getting some input before making big moves in your life can be worthwhile, whether it’s determining if you should ask for a higher salary (and how) or if you should continue dating someone even if you think the relationship isn’t going anywhere. Getting an outside perspective can be helpful so you don’t end up making an impulsive decision.
3. You’ve never Made a Pro/Con List
If the idea of sitting down and sketching out the merits and drawbacks of a given choice sounds foreign to you, you may want to give it a try sometime. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is a great way to understand your motivations, needs, fears—you name it—when it comes to making a big life choice. When you’re at a major crossroads or discover a new opportunity, don’t just jump right in. Take some time to weigh your options so you’ll be able to make a more informed choice.
4. You Often Regret Your Decisions
Do you find yourself replaying key moments in your life and wondering why you didn’t choose a different path? We all have disappointments, of course, but you may find that you can avoid them if you only give yourself more time to think before acting. The next time you’re faced with a choice, remember that you don’t want to add to your litany of remorseful moments. Think beyond the present and try to imagine your life if you take action and your life if you do not. This way, you can somewhat anticipate how things could play out without being impulsive.