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Episode 19: Reducing Impulsivity

Description: This week, the Self-Care Squad is challenged by a simple, yet effective strategy for reducing those impulse decisions.

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Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode 19 of our third season of Self-Care for Educators. I'm your host, Tina Boogren. This week, I am going to present to you a tiny, little strategy that I have been engaging with myself that I thought, Huh, I wonder if the, if the Pod Squad would benefit from this as well. Here's the deal. I very much recognize that I have somewhat of an online shopping hobby, if you will. I think this stemmed back in COVID, right? This need to order things online and it's, it's a habit that I recognize is not serving me very well ... It's not even big purchases. I just buy things somewhat impulsively, and again just like I mentioned last week, I know why it's happening.

It's decision fatigue. Remember, here's our quick little reminder that when decision fatigue sets in, our brain starts seeking shortcuts. And, one of the shortcuts that our brain seeks is we start acting impulsively. We don't think through the consequences of things. We're just not thoughtful, and I've recognized in myself that when I reach this place of decision fatigue, one of my kind of coping strategies, it's really kind of a numbing strategy as well, is buying things online. And again, you guys, silly things, things from Amazon. New colored paperclips, and I need these new pencils, or I need another journal, which you guys, I have a whole stack of journals in my office. I do not need another journal, but I'm looking. I'm browsing. I'm bored. My brain is looking for a little bit of escape, and without thinking about it, I find myself hitting buy. Purchase. Send.

And then, the thing arrives and I'm like, Oh my gosh, I don't even need this. So, I know for myself, this is an area that I really wanted to work on in 2023. And so, the little, tiny strategy that I've been employing that I wanna offer to you to see if it works maybe for you or some version of this is on my phone, I started just a new kind of document and the title of the document is things I Might Want to Buy. So, when I get in that place where I'm browsing, and I'm looking at things on various websites before I hit send or purchase or buy, I pause, and I just put a link, or I put a note in that document on my phone. And that ... And then, I walk away, and so I just have a holding place that maybe I want these paper clips, or maybe I want this journal, or maybe I want this new pair of pants from Aleta, but I'm not going to buy them. Right?

I tell myself that it goes on that list, and then I give myself a solid 24 hours to think about it. Maybe a little bit longer, but at least 24 hours. If I really want that thing, I can buy it tomorrow. But, what I've discovered for myself--I'm about a month into this--is most likely I don't need the thing or actually want the thing, and I can take it off the list or I decide, I don't know, maybe I want it later. But, I don't want it right now, and it just stays on the list. That little kind of interruption to my brain instead of that impulsivity of just saying, Send it now. Put it on my porch. I want it there before tomorrow. Instead, I just say, Maybe I want it, and it's kind of scratching the itch for me of this little escape for my brain where I get to do some online shopping, but I am not making purchases that I end up regretting where I say, why? Why do I have a drawer full of paperclips? Do I need this? Right? It's that interruption of the thought, so I'm not giving up the habit completely. That feels really hard.

I do still love to browse and look online and look at sales and look at different things, but it's kind of keeping me in check by just going over to that list and putting the link or putting the description of the thing that I'm thinking about. It scratches that itch, but I'm not going all the way with the habit. Many of you, like me, like to just put things in my cart, so sometimes I'll do that, as well. So, it'll just sit in the cart. But, I'll go back to that list to remind myself of where, what sites I've put some things in the cart 'cuz sometimes I forget, right? Do I have something in in the athletic cart and something in the Amazon cart and something in the whatever ... But, I can put it on that list to kind of organize myself and then go back and make some thoughtful decision. Yes. Rather than just the impulse buy of saying, Yes. So, I'm offering that to you this week that maybe you wanna start a list.

For me, I just do it on my phone 'cuz I tend to be, when I'm doing that browsing, that online browsing, I tend to be on my phone. So, I just keep that little list on my phone. But, maybe you write it down. Whatever works for you. You keep like a spreadsheet or a Google Doc or whatever that tool is, and that's kind of your holding place. It's like putting a barrier up or a boundary up to just kind of stop us from doing things mindlessly or impulsively. Because, what that does, what we know is if we, you know, act impulsively and, and the online shopping or the whatever it is, comes back to us, and we feel bad about it, we're just setting ourselves up for that negative self-talk of, Ugh, why did I buy that thing? Why did I do that again? And, instead again, just putting some boundaries up, some barriers to just kind of slow that, slow ourselves down really to make a more thoughtful choice and decision.

I think we could do this with a lot of things, even thinking about instead of the mindless snacking, right? Keep a list. Hmm, what would I like to eat right now? Write it on your list. Walk away. Check back 15 minutes, see if you still really want the thing or not. For some of you, this is gonna feel like, Oh, this is not a strategy that works for me, and I'm gonna remind you again that all the strategies that I present, take what works for you, and let the other things go. And/or take this idea and tweak it. Make it work for you. I love so much when I get to talk to listeners, and they tell me a strategy that they took, and then how they just kind of made it uniquely theirs. I love that so much. So, that's your invitation. Make it yours. Let it go. Try it. See how it works. All about action. Research up here. Try something on for a little while. Give it ... If it works for you, great. Keep going. If it doesn't, let it go. And, let's see. Let's see if you guys have some nice tweaks to this, in fact, you're always welcome to jump over to the Facebook group and share. I love ... I get so many great ideas from all of you, and I'm gonna keep going. Just by me saying this out loud is kind of reiterating the new habit for me of having this holding place to keep me from acting quite so impulsively, especially when it comes to one of my vices, which is online shopping.

As always, a huge thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Thank you Marano Resources and Solution Tree for this job I get to do. And, to you, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. I'm cheering so hard for you. What's been pretty incredible is to watch the number of downloads and listens to this podcast grow. The number just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and I'm just so proud of this community that we've created together. I haven't asked in a while, but I would say that if you, if you enjoy this podcast, if you would go ahead and rate it, like if you'd give me some stars or maybe write a little, a little comment, and/or just share this with someone else that ... Again, this community is about standing in horseshoes and inviting others to join us. So, if you feel like there's someone that might enjoy this podcast, share it with them. You know, obviously my heart is with educators first and foremost, but all these strategies are for anyone and everyone. So, if you know some people that could use just a little, tiny, little nugget once a week reminding them of these small little 1% strategies, go ahead and share that. That's how we get the word out. Thank you so much. You guys, have an amazing week.

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