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Manage Incontinence with the Rule of Five

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Written by Marilyn Suttle

When it comes to tackling a personal challenge like incontinence head-on, you may feel like you have valid excuses: "I don't have time," "I don't know what to do," or "I'll deal with it…later." But why are these excuses rarely used when the boss, your family, or a friend needs help? Imagine what would happen if we stopped procrastinating and putting ourselves last.

At work, I had personal goals that never seemed as important as the deadlines I needed to meet. To accomplish my personal goals, I got into the habit of using "The Rule of 5." I pick one important goal, and every day I write five small actions I can take to move the goal forward. I put each small action on a sticky note, and place it on the wall above my desk. It's my way of completing things that are easy to overlook, but that will eventually lead to a greater desired goal. Plus, it feels so good to peel off each sticky note throughout the day. A big goal can be overwhelming and even a bit scary. When I break it up into smaller action steps and do those steps consistently, eventually I accomplish it.

Recently it dawned on me that "The Rule of 5" can work on concerns like incontinence. Instead of five actions a day, you can make it less consuming and do five actions a week, or even five actions a month. Consistency is what you're after. Imagine managing your incontinence so well that you can go where you want to go, do what you want to do, and expand your ability to stay active and engaged. This process can help you to reduce or even eliminate incontinence. It can also help you become so resourceful that you become unstoppable with leaks or without.

I came up with a starter list of action steps. Feel free to use some of these to get you started. (Notice that some of these items take five minutes or less to complete.)

Don’t wait.

- Keep your outlook bright by making a list of 20 things you love to do, then sprinkle them into your calendar

- Do five minutes of Kegel Exercises in the morning

Consult with a specialist.

- Phone your doctor for an appointment to discuss new treatment options or medications that might be available that are specific to your condition

- Ask your doctor to write you a prescription for a "Bathroom Card" so that any public place will allow you to use their private bathroom

Wear suitable protection.

- Try different styles of protection so that you know which ones work best for you.

Try several solutions, if necessary.

- Place extra protection in your purse or computer bag, desk, and glove box of your car, or stash a "just in case" bag with your favorite brand of protection, and a pair of pants in the trunk of your car

Speak up.

- Bring up the topic of incontinence with your most trusted friend or family member and explore the comfort of not having to hide your condition

- Decide what you'd say to encourage a friend after they told you they had a condition that caused incontinence. Then look in the mirror and say the same thing to yourself

- Comment on a personal story on the forums that inspires you to take action or offer support

- Ask for advice about something that you’ve been trying to manage unsuccessfully in the forums

- Download a free app to help you locate restrooms when you're away from home

Make a habit of taking five steps daily, weekly, or monthly and you'll soon have so much information about incontinence that you'll become an expert at managing any situation. Increasing your knowledge lowers fear and puts you in the right mindset to say "YES" to enjoying all that life has to offer you.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What's the first thing you'll put on your list of five?

Bestselling author Marilyn Suttle is a personal development expert and success coach who specializes in helping people make “suttle shifts” in thought, beliefs, and behaviors to produce happier, more productive ways of living. Visit her on Facebook at

More Treatments articles:
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More Treatments articles:
Understanding and Controlling Triggers of Bladder Leakage
Nutrition and Incontinence