People tend to think that courage has to “wow” you. Like bungee-jumping over a canyon. Or giving away your possessions and moving to Nepal. Those things do require courage, yes. But in some ways, that's easy courage. It's also a way to avoid taking action in our lives. We can't do it. We're just not brave enough.
But courage is a muscle. Just as you wouldn't go to the gym for the first time and bench press 150 pounds, you needn’t begin building courage by flinging yourself out of a plane or traveling abroad.
When you set the stakes that high, you never have to approach true bravery. You just get to say, "Well, I’m just not that brave."
But if you tackle the tough stuff bit by bit, you'll be amazed at the results you see in your life. You'll be proud and strong. You'll increase your confidence regardless of the challenges a chronic disease like diabetes tosses your way. Exercising your courage muscles strengthens your faith in yourself. You get to like yourself all over again.
Scroll down to read a simple list of 50 (diabetic-friendly) ways to build bravery and strengthen those courage muscles. Some seem silly. But they're not. They're just a little uncomfortable. Have the courage to do it anyway. That's the whole point! Scroll down and start building that courage up, one day at a time!
1 - Paint your nails blue. (Guys get extra credit for this one!)
2 - Dance for 5+ minutes to your favorite songs each morning.
3 - If you do your diabetes “on the fly,” plan something in advance and stick with it. If you're a meticulous planner, do something spontaneous. Think of it as an experiment (see #2).
4 - Try a new health practitioner. Consider acupuncture; massage therapy; personal training, etc.
5 – Start a blog. Writing about your experiences helps lessen isolation & can be very cathartic. Starting my diabetes blog changed my life and my experience with my diabetes. A journal works, too.
6 – Do the Big Blue Test on November 14th. Share your results.
7 – Try a new lancing device or glucose meter. Ann Bartlett shares some great tips on various meters here.
8 - Begin yoga. Again.
9 – Try Ginger!
Read Ginger’s “My Diabetes Science Experiment” right now, and document and experience the ups and downs in your diabetes-life as experimens instead of seeing them as failures or mistakes.
10 – Let someone “walk in your shoes.”
Challenge your friends, family members, or colleagues to experience “a day in the life” with you.
11 – Give it away!
Donate time/money (a wee bit more than normal) to a cause or organization you believe in. Give it away, and it comes back to you.
12 – Go public.
Check your bloodsugar in public. Look into people's eyes when you're in public - on the street, buying groceries, etc. No need to explain unless the spirit moves you.
13 – Outsource!
Diabetes requires a lot of time and energy—there are countless other things we’d rather be doing than attending to our diabetes. Hire someone to do a regular task you can't stand doing. (i.e., mowing the lawn, filing, etc.)
14 – Move more. Surf the net less. (See #8, 17, 38)
15 – Just say “NO!”
Get rid of everything in your life that's not an Absolute Yes. Start with what you eat. If it’s not what you want (and not worth the carbs or insulin), don’t eat it.Eating (and purchasing) only the things you really love (whenever possible) will transform your relationship with diabetes and food, which is a tricky one.
16 - Get up in the morning after having a bad diabetes day yesterday. Encourage yourself to begin again. Don’t let a number determine your day.
17 –Do the Diabetes365 Project and document your daily life with diabetes.
18 – Feast on your life!
If you never host parties or dinners, invite friends or a neighbor you’d like to know better over for dinner. Show them what a real “diabetic meal” looks like.
19 - Teach a workshop.
Handling the ups and downs of a chronic disease? How to live well with diabetes? The real scoop on counting carbs? How to maintain a delicious lower carb diet?
20 – Commune!
Attend a gathering, group, or event in your very own community for health, diabetes, or a cause you love. Can’t find any? Start one of your own!
21 – Be a beginner.
Go ahead, be bad at something. Do it anyway.
22 - Try a new health practitioner. Consider acupuncture; massage therapy; personal training, etc.
23 - Set a big ol' juicy goal and go for it.
24 - Invest in yourself. Hire a life coach.
25 – Try a new health practitioner. Consider acupuncture; massage therapy; personal training, etc.
26 - Worry less. Act more.
27 - Make that appointment you've been putting off (flu shot, anyone?)
28 – Do something special to honor World Diabetes Day on November 14th. November is Diabetes Awareness Month.
29 – Say thank you.
Send a handwritten note to someone you need to thank. Write one daily for a week.
30 - Salsa. Tango. Swing.
31 – Make an ethnic dish you’ve never tried before or try a new dish at your favorite restaurant (or one you've never been to before).
32 - Respond. Don't react.
33 – Make requests. Don't complain. (#43 will help)
If you’re someone who rarely asks for help with your diabetes (or life), go ahead and ask for a little help the next time you need it. Allowing others to help you is a gift you give to them (as well as yourself), and encourages closeness.
34 - Listen more. Talk less. Especially to your body—and your kids. Sit down and really listen.
35 – Don’t check your email for a whole day. Or go text-free.
37 – Take field notes.
Track your food intake, bloodsugars, emotions, reactions, and insulin/medication for a week. Be meticulous. Have the courage to go deep and give yourself the time you deserve to live a better life.
38 - Take a swing dancing class.
Note how your body, energy, and bloodsugars respond.
39 – Get a massage. Try giving one, too.
40 - End relationships that drain you or hurt you (whether with food, loved ones, friends, addictions, etc.)
41 - Quit smoking.
Can you give it up for 14 days?
42 - Admit when you are wrong.
43 – Go complaint-free.
44 – Go explaint-free (#5 will help)
No explanations required (see #5, 10, 12, 15)
45 - Assumptions are the enemy of success. Question them often.
46 - Excuses are the enemy of action. Stop making them.
47 - Pick one incompletion in your life. Tackle it until it's complete.
48 - Send "fan-mail" to someone who's not famous : a fellow diabetic you admire, a teacher, a grocery store clerk - anyone who delights you or touches you.
49 - Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line.
50 – Run!
A mile? A 5K? 10K? ½ marathon? Marathon? for office? Why not? The world needs you!
P.S. Remember Aristotle's words, "Excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts."
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