Do you ever find yourself falling victim to bad habits or patterns when you’re feeling impulsive? Here’s the 3 day rule that can change your life.
The 3 Day Rule That Can Change Your Life
No, not the 3 DATE rule.
The 3 day rule that I totally just made up. 😃
The 3 Day Rule is that before making any major or emotional decision, you should wait at least 3 days.
(But if you wanted to wait even longer than that, you definitely could. When deciding whether or not to make “optional” expensive purchases, for example, I usually put it on a list and wait about 30 days just to see if I still even want the item after waiting that long. Usually it’s just an impulsive thing and I don’t actually need it).
So if you’re about to do something impulsive or that you know is counter-intuitive to your goals, wait three days and see how you feel about it then.
Take a nap. Sleep on it. Distract yourself with something else.
Often the strong feelings we feel in the moment are just temporary feelings.
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You probably know already if something is a common bad habit for you to fall into — binge eating an entire chocolate cake, overspending on a new wardrobe that you don’t need, quitting a job in the heat of a moment, breaking up with someone on the spot, etc.
Always remember your Big Why or your big vision!
What are the bigger goals in your life right now? Is this random, impulsive decision going to move you closer to or farther away from your goals?
Keep the big picture in mind and don’t sacrifice what you REALLY want in the future for instant gratification now.
Having the self-control to wait a few days between making a decision is simply a skill that you can practice over time, and it will get easier. But it’s something that can save you a heck of a lot of potential grief!
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Why You Shouldn’t Make Decisions When You’re Emotional | Don’t Make Decisions When You’re Angry
A few years ago, I saw this quote floating around Pinterest: “Don’t make promises when you’re happy, don’t reply when you’re angry, and don’t make decisions when you’re sad.”
Since it was a little lengthy, I revised that to become a new mantra that I’ve kept with me ever since:
“Don’t make any decisions when you’re emotional.”
This little phrase has served me well over the years. Basically, whenever you’re really sad, angry, upset, or even super happy, you shouldn’t make any decisions.
Just waiting a few days or giving it a night to sleep on the decision will prevent you from making impulsive decisions that you might regret later.
This would apply to things like breakups, harsh words, quitting things, starting things, and more.
If you’re super mad about something TODAY, you might feel like rage quitting your job.
But in the long term, is that in alignment with your goals? Or could you handle this situation with a better perspective in a few days’ time and with a little breathing room?
If you get in a fight with your significant other AND you’ve had a long day at work, you might feel like ending the whole relationship because you are just DONE with this day and at the end of your patience.
But is your reaction to the present dilemma really about that situation at hand, or is your stress being compounded by something else in your life?
With a few days of room to breathe, you might realize that you don’t actually need to quit your job or break up with someone because you were just in a bad mood overall and the particular problem or decision can be easily resolved.
Of course, there may be times in life when you have to make decisions when you’re in an emotional state, like grieving a loss, but if you can follow the general rule to not make decisions when you’re emotional, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache over time.
If you find yourself about to make an impulsive decision that you could regret later, come back to this mantra.
“Don’t make any decisions when you’re emotional.”
Give it a few days. Sleep on it. Mull it over in the shower. Consult with someone else.
Just give yourself some time to cool down and become more self-reflective so you can determine what the best decision really is, without sharp emotion in the heat of the moment clouding your judgment.
Table the big decision and wait until you’re feeling more clear-headed before deciding what to do.
Three days can make a huge difference in your perspective on a decision. If you need more time, take more time.
For purchases and impulse spending, in particular, I like to wait at least 30 days. I put something that I’m thinking about purchasing (that isn’t a necessity) on a wish list on my phone or the Trello app and see if I actually still want it after 30 days.
Or chances are, if it’s not important you won’t even be thinking about the random item 30 days from now.
So whether 3 days is all you need to prevent yourself from making an impulsive decision or you’d rather stretch that out to 30 DAYS, adding a little buffer between when an idea pops into your head and when you actually take action on it can be the difference between making wise decisions and doing something in the spur of the moment that you might later regret. 🙂
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