Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Haste in every business brings failures.
Herodotus, Histories, bk. VII, ch. 10

Guide to Reflective Thinking: Strategies to Better Control My Impulsivity

Use the following statements to assess your sense of competence with regard to university studies. Any weak areas indicate an attitude, ability or habit that may be worth developing.

  • I know the sources of my impulsivityI can recognize circumstances and contexts in which I have the tendency to act impulsively.
  • I recognize forerunners of my impulsivity: eagerness to immediately jump into action, disorganized and superficial observations, the need to hurry, feeling rushed...
  • I know several ways to control my impulsivityI can foresee effects of stress on my impulsivity.
  • I know how to use my inner dialogue to hold myself back: “One minute! I need to think first.” – “Calm down! Think about what you’re doing!”
  • I am cautious and visualize the step-by-step process of what I am going to do and how I am going to do it.
  • I control myself by giving myself directives: “Clearly define your goal! Stop and think about what you are being asked! Read instructions calmly! Carefully write down all pertinent information! Look for the best starting point! Assess the situation right now! Try to find another way to do it! Take the time to verify!”
  • I give matters a great deal of thought before taking actionI take the time to define my goals before taking action.
  • I take the time to clearly understand what is expected from me before responding.
  • I take the time to observe all elements of a given situation.
  • I take the time to think about how I will take action.
  • I take the time to plan my actions before starting.
  • I take the time to examine various solution alternatives and their respective potential consequences.
  • I take the time to double-check my work before handing it in.
  • I know how to control my impulsivity during examsAt the beginning of an exam, I carefully read the instructions.
  • I check how much time is allotted to write the exam.
  • I attentively read each question and pay attention to the wording.
  • I carefully check for key-words that may guide my answers.
  • Before I start writing my answers, I assess the extent of the work and plan the order in which I will answer.
  • For essay questions, I draft an outline before starting to write the essay.
  • At the end of an exam, I review my answers to make sure that I have not deviated from the subject or forgotten to add any important elements.
  • At the end of an exam, I check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • I improve my exam preparation and passing strategies based on my exam results.

Impulsive actions, hasty answers, and rushing to finish are a frequent source of errors, omissions, and wrong turns. Strong emotions and high stress levels are the cause of uncontrolled reactions that we usually end up regretting. We can learn to anticipate these reactions and prevent or correct their effects. As the proverb goes, better safe than sorry.

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