Impulse Control

Impulse control is what you choose to do between an immediate internal reaction you have and your next behavior. You get a bad review at work, and want to quit. What do you do? Your spouse is struggling with depression, and you want to just walk out. What do you do? Impulse control is important to your functioning and is a major contributor to effectiveness. What you do with your impulses is often the best predictor of how successful you are going to be interpersonally. Those who go quickly from being annoyed to action usually make a bad choice. Learning about situations in which you tend to be impulsive, naming them, and gaining clarity about what you want to have happen will lead to greater impulse control.

If any of these behaviors are true of you, or associates with whom you work, you’ll find action tips at

  • Reacts without regard to consequences

  • Speaks before thinking through situations

  • Uses alcohol, substance abuse, overeating or angry outbursts to cope with anxiety or frustration

  • Fails to recognize how impulses may limit choices and behaviors

  • Acts without regard to how impulsive reactions damage relationships

Action learning tips and learning assignments on the job are a click away at

You might also consider (a sampling of suggestions from

Grant, Jon, S. W. Kim, and Gregory Fricchione. Stop Me Because I Can’t Stop Myself:

Taking Control of Impulsive Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.

Grant, Jon, Christopher Donahue, and Brian Odlaug. Overcoming Impulse Control Problems: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program, Workbook (Treatments That Work). New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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