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Solitaire, Angry Birds & M&Ms

January 10, 2012

"I will only have one handful."

Motivation = (Expectancy)(Value)/(Impulsiveness)(Delay)

You know whenever I pass the candy dish by one of our assistants, I promise myself that I will take only one candy or one handful.  And you know what?  I only take one.  The problem is I go by her desk twelve times in a day.

Do you hear me?  Impulsivity happens when we have an emotional response to something and go nearly into an involuntary action mode.  We aren’t thinking long term and or even short term, we are thinking instant term.  What brings out my impulsivity?  Let me count the ways:  passing a candy dish, facebook, college football games, youtube and email.  All of these things easily distract me and get me off my game.

When I act impulsively, my motivation drops because I am usually wasting time or hurting one of my long term goals.  I then proceed to beat myself up for being impulsive and then probably do some more impulsive activity to make myself feel better!!!

So, we can we do to lower our impulisve behavior?  Here are 3 thoughts:

1.Know your weakness.  I am a candy guy through and through.  Sodoku, solataire, gambling, shopping, none of them have a hook into me like a well placed (and stocked) candy dish.

2.Limit your exposure to your impulsive habit.  A guy like me should never have a candy dish in his office ( I don’t).  Some people should never get exercise by walking in the mall, others need to turn off their smartphones.  When you do indulge, slow down and enjoy it.  I have a tendency to shovel a bunch of M&MS in my mouth, not a good idea and I do not really enjoy it.

3.Periodically “fast” from you impulsive behavior totally.  Let you mind, body and soul detox.  Even if you fast for a day or two, you will feel a difference.  Fasting clears out our system and builds strength for the future.

Men, a simple truth, when our impulsivity is high, our energy level and “get it done” levels tend to drop significantly.  We think we can hide it pretty well, but our kids and spouses sniff it out quickly.  The good news is when we are able to resist impulsive behavior, it has the double whammy of lowering our impulsivity and raising our level of expectancy.  And that is the definition of win-win.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL.  Contact him at

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 13, 2012 2:45 am

    Well said. Definately need some strong will power.
    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your blog.

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