Developing Impulse and Self Control

Do you wonder why you can’t control your impulses to shop?

Do you ever think to yourself that you need to have more self-control?

Do your family or friends question your shopping habits and say you need to develop more self-control, but they can never tell you how?

You’re not alone. 

Let me say that again: You are not alone. 

When it comes to practicing self-control—be it for shopping habits or another area of one’s life—most people could do with a little help. In the US alone, there are over 18 million people who struggle with this—and that’s just for shopping!

How to Practice Self-Control

There are two ways of practicing self-control in your life.

First, you can demand it of yourself. And second, is through a by-product of Attention Control. 


Let’s tackle the first one—Demand it of yourself.

Demanding self-control of yourself is when you:

  • beat yourself up with criticism
  • shame yourself
  • take on others’ criticisms of you
  • remove all temptations
  • avoid the malls
  • do a “No-buy” challenge

This means that you force yourself to behave in a way that is uncomfortable and unnatural to you

While this method produces short-term results, it’s important to know that it doesn’t always work for the long-term.

Attention Control

The second, and more effective way is to grow self-control, is a by-product of Attention Control.

Attention Control is what we call your capacity to choose what you pay attention to and what you ignore. We all have this powerful ability, and yet very few people know how to use it in a way that propels them forward to achieving their long-term goals. 

Attention Control is a skill and mastering it is the key to developing impulse control and getting a handle on the desires that cause individuals to impulse shop.

By exercising Attention Control, you engage the executive functions of your brain. What follows is a by-product that is the ability to control yourself. 

60,000 Thoughts a Day

According to science, we have over 60,000 thoughts a day, and these thoughts have the power to take us in all sorts of directions, feelings, emotions, and experiences. It is these 60,000 thoughts that lead us to over-shop, over-eat, and over-drink, among other things.

By learning Attention Control i.e., to control your attention, you will have a leg-up on developing self-control, without the need to berate yourself and harm your self-esteem and self-worth.


Abraham Lincoln said, “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

In a moment of temptation, the mind cleverly creates many justifications and reasonings as to why an unplanned purchase is a sensible thing to do. 

Learning to notice these false justifications, and questioning them in the moment of temptation, will give you a way to reign in your impulse shopping before it turns into a destructive habit.

Stopping a destructive shopping habit will require you to develop impulse control and self-control.  We can only learn these however, by first learning attention control.


Ishani Noble is a Chartered Accountant and Mindset coach that helps individuals whose shopping habits impacting their finances and relationships to understand why they overshop and how to stop.

If you are ready to change and want an experienced guide to show you how to stop and change this in your life, reach out for a FREE strategy session for us to discuss your particular situation.

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