I say the Serenity Prayer a lot. In situations in which I might be impulsive, I tell myself to “play the tape forward.” It makes a huge difference for me.
My biggest strategy is delay. I let a totally urgent impulse (usually a purchase) wait for a few days, up to a few months. If it’s really important, the “need” will still be there.
I turn an imaginary key in my pocket to “lock” my mouth when I want to say something impulsively.
I start each day with a five-minute mindfulness session, and I set a daily intention, which I focus on throughout the day. For instance: “Today I will notice my emotions and urges before acting on them.” I also set a reminder to do this, to keep me focused on it.
To curb impulsive shopping, I ask myself: Do I really need it? Do I absolutely love it? Do I know exactly where it will live at home?
If I want to make an impulsive clothes purchase, I have rules: It has to fit me perfectly, look great on me, and I have to have a place in mind to wear it. If I answer no to any of these questions, I don’t buy it.
My impulse buys have been greatly reduced by using my smartphone camera! I take a picture of anything that looks awesome that I want. Later on, I look at the picture or show it to my husband, and decide if I still want it.
I mentally erase the faces of people that I have an urge to say something personal to. This helps me address the problem, not the person.