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Wednesday, 30 December 2015 09:42

The 2-0-1-6 Plan

The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the year behind and look forward to the year ahead. A great way to do this is with The 2-0-1-6 Plan. Three years ago, I created The 2-0-1-3 Plan and it resonated with so many of you, so we've done it every year since. Be sure to comment below with your plan.

The 2-0-1-6 Plan is about starting off the New Year with intention, motivation, and accountability for health and happiness. It's okay if some of your items from last year are still on the list this year.

Forward this on to your friends and family and let's see how many people we can get on board to join in. Here's how it works.

2  Come up with TWO actionable and doable healthy living ideas. Be specific. Make them very customized for you. Think about your weakness areas. How do you do in the areas of stress management, having fun, sleeping well, eating healthy, exercising, having nurturing relationships, and living in a nontoxic environment (this can be related to your emotional or physical environment)? Are you pretty good about working out, but don't take any time for stress management? If so, don't put exercise on your list, but rather, put something that will reduce your stress. Commit to work on the areas that receive less of your focus. You will see in the examples below that the ideas are both manageable and quantifiable. Try to be as specific as you can, and don't over-commit. You can always over-deliver.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Meditate for five minutes three days a week first thing in the morning to start the day grounded.
  • Spend less time with those people in your life who make you feel worse about yourself (you can be specific with names, if you want).
  • Do not drink alcohol during the week, only on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Get 7,500 to 10,000 steps at least four days a week (wear a pedometer to track it).
  • Go to bed by 11pm every night so that you get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Make one fun plan a week that makes you happy.

Commit to doing the ZERO "do it now" item. What is the one thing that has been on your list to do for years that you know would benefit you in some way—career, health, relationships, personal—but you just have never done it? Commit to it to do it this year.

This one is really important! So many of you reported in that you did your "0" from last year. Way to go! In 2013, my "0" was to join Toastmasters which I have wanted to do for TWENTY YEARS! I finally did it that year and it has been one of the best things I've done. Setting the intention of doing it at the beginning of the year and stating it publicly helped to finally make it happen! Trust yourself. You know your "0". Let's make it happen this year.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Get out of a toxic relationship that has been bringing you down.
  • Make a change in your job if you feel miserable every day. (Sometimes this may not be possible due to financial constraints, but oftentimes even if we believe this to be the case, we do have choices that we have not allowed ourselves to believe in. Now's the time to believe in them and explore them.)
  • Go on the trip you've been talking about taking for years. If your spouse doesn't want to join you, go with a friend, by yourself, or an organized group.
  • Hire a health coach and lose the weight for good.
  • Find a workout regime you like so that you look forward to exercise rather than see it as a chore. For some ideas, read Movement by Gypsy.
  • Join a support group (e.g. AA, Al-Anon, loss, cancer). If you need help, there are groups out there for you. Sharing your pain with others does help.
  • Write your memoir.
  • Volunteer.
  • Take classes.

1  Choose ONE word for the year. Come up with one word that you want to represent you in 2016. Give it some thought because you want it to really encompass what you want for the year. When you have decided on your word, write it out in big letters and put it somewhere you will see it everyday. Put it on your bathroom mirror, by your computer, on your vision board, at work, in your wallet. In 2013, my word was "confidence", in 2014 it was "openness", and in 2015 it was "surrender". Below, I say what my new word is.

Here are a few ideas: faith, love, forgiveness, dream, health, peace, strength, hope, play, truth, trust, imagine, and share.

6  Take SIX minutes every day to ground yourself in the day. Whether you want to take the six minutes in the morning, afternoon, or evening, be sure to take them. Ground yourself in the day. You can do this by taking a few deep breaths allowing your mind to free itself from the mental chatter. Set an intention for the day (such as being mindful, grateful, open, strong, playful). Do a ritual if you choose (light a candle, share with your spouse one highlight from the day, write in your journal). I talk more about this in chapter 9, "Losing My Mind(fulness)," of my book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life.

2-0-1-6  Take some time this week and think about your 2-0-1-6 plan. Be sure to comment below and let us know. It is helpful to share it with others to make it more real and to help hold you accountable. I've shared my 2-0-1-6 plan in the comments below. If you want to share some of your plan, but not all of it, that's perfectly fine. Share what you feel comfortable with and keep private what you want.

I look forward to hearing from you. Let's make 2016 a year filled with health, happiness, and ... (insert your word here!).

And, of course, if you need help with making any part of your 2-0-1-6 plan happen, 4QL can help you!


Be sure to share your 2-0-1-6 Plan in the comments section below!

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an award-winning author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Friday, 02 January 2015 11:00

The 2-0-1-5 Plan

The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the year behind and look forward to the year ahead. A great way to do this is with The 2-0-1-5 Plan. Two years ago, I created The 2-0-1-3 Plan and it resonated with so many of you! We had the 2-0-1-4 Plan last year and now it's time for your new plan. Be sure to comment below with your plan.

It has been on my mind the past couple of weeks to send out this blog and today I received an email from a client I haven't seen in over a year proactively telling me about her 2-0-1-5 Plan. The 2-0-1-4 Plan had been so motivating for her, so without prompting she had already done her 2-0-1-5 Plan! I have to admit, these plans have been life changing for me too.  

The 2-0-1-5 Plan is about starting off the New Year with intention, motivation, and accountability for health and happiness. It's okay if some of your items from last year are still on the list this year.

Forward this on to your friends and family and let's see how many people we can get on board to join in. Here's how it works.

2  Come up with TWO actionable and doable healthy living ideas. Be specific. Make them very customized for you. Think about your weakness areas. How do you do in the areas of stress management, having fun, sleeping well, eating healthy, exercising, having nurturing relationships, and living in a nontoxic environment (this can be related to your emotional or physical environment)? Are you pretty good about working out, but don't take any time for stress management? If so, don't put exercise on your list, but rather, put something that will reduce your stress. Commit to work on the areas that receive less of your focus. You will see in the examples below that the ideas are both manageable and quantifiable. Try to be as specific as you can, and don't over-commit. You can always over-deliver.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Meditate for five minutes three days a week first thing in the morning to start the day grounded.
  • Spend less time with those people in your life who make you feel worse about yourself (you can be specific with names, if you want).
  • Do not drink alcohol during the week, only on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Get 7,500 to 10,000 steps at least four days a week (wear a pedometer to track it).
  • Go to bed by 11pm every night so that you get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Make one fun plan a week that makes you happy.

Commit to doing the ZERO "do it now" item. What is the one thing that has been on your list to do for years that you know would benefit you in some way—career, health, relationships, personal—but you just have never done it? Commit to it to do it this year.

This one is really important! So many of you reported in that you did your "0" from last year. Way to go! In 2013, my "0" was to join Toastmasters which I have wanted to do for TWENTY YEARS! I finally did it that year and it has been one of the best things I've done. Setting the intention of doing it at the beginning of the year and stating it publicly helped to finally make it happen! Trust yourself. You know your "0". Let's make it happen this year.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Get out of a toxic relationship that has been bringing you down.
  • Make a change in your job if you feel miserable every day. (Sometimes this may not be possible due to financial constraints, but oftentimes even if we believe this to be the case, we do have choices that we have not allowed ourselves to believe in. Now's the time to believe in them and explore them.)
  • Go on the trip you've been talking about taking for years. If your spouse doesn't want to join you, go with a friend, by yourself, or an organized group.
  • Hire a health coach and lose the weight for good.
  • Find a workout regime you like so that you look forward to exercise rather than see it as a chore. For some ideas, read Movement by Gypsy.
  • Join a support group (e.g. AA, Al-Anon, loss, cancer). If you need help, there are groups out there for you. Sharing your pain with others does help.
  • Write your memoir.
  • Volunteer.
  • Take classes.

1  Choose ONE word for the year. Come up with one word that you want to represent you in 2015. Give it some thought because you want it to really encompass what you want for the year. When you have decided on your word, write it out in big letters and put it somewhere you will see it everyday. Put it on your bathroom mirror, by your computer, on your vision board, at work, in your wallet. In 2013, my word was "confidence" and last year it was "openness". Below, I say what my new word is.

Here are a few ideas: faith, love, forgiveness, dream, health, peace, strength, hope, play, truth, trust, imagine, and share.

5  Take FIVE minutes every day to ground yourself in the day. Whether you want to take the five minutes in the morning, afternoon, or evening, be sure to take them. Ground yourself in the day. You can do this by taking a few deep breaths allowing your mind to free itself from the mental chatter. Set an intention for the day (such as being mindful, grateful, open, strong, playful). Do a ritual if you choose (light a candle, share with your spouse one highlight from the day, write in your journal). I talk more about this in chapter 9, "Losing My Mind(fulness)," of my book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life.

2-0-1-5  Take some time this week and think about your 2-0-1-5 plan. Be sure to comment below and let us know. It is helpful to share it with others to make it more real and to help hold you accountable. I've shared my 2-0-1-5 plan in the comments below. If you want to share some of your plan, but not all of it, that's perfectly fine. Share what you feel comfortable with and keep private what you want.

I look forward to hearing from you. Let's make 2015 a year filled with health, happiness, and ... (insert your word here!).

And, of course, if you need help with making any part of your 2-0-1-5 plan happen, 4QL can help you!


Be sure to share your 2-0-1-5 Plan in the comments section below!

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an award-winning author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Relationships Blog
Sunday, 19 January 2014 09:24

The Burlesque Dancer and Me

We met at the corner of 8th Avenue and 40th Street in New York at a Dean & Deluca coffee shop. I recognized her immediately from her Facebook photo, a beautiful woman in her late 40s with long brown hair and a radiant smile. She looks like my cousins. She said I look like her sister. We had instant familiarity, even though we had only met a few weeks ago online.

Cyndi Freeman found me on the internet. Her story is similar to mine in that we both have sisters who battled breast cancer and have been told by doctors of our high risk of getting the disease in our lifetime. Cyndi lives in New York and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I just happened to be heading to New York the week after she contacted me, so I suggested we meet in person.

Cyndi and I are not just alike in our high risk of the disease, but more importantly in the path we have chosen with this knowledge. Despite being told by doctors that we should consider preventative surgeries and toxic medications, we both have decided to live our most healthy life with active surveillance. It is not an easy road when you make a decision contrary to what doctors tell you. And, unfortunately, there is not an active support group for our course of action, but rather for the recommended course. Thus, finding and supporting each other was a big deal for us.

(Note: This is not a blog about my high risk or course of action, so I won’t go into detail here about it. However, if you want to know more about my story and choices, you can read about it in my book or on my website).

Cyndi and I connected immediately and talked for the next hour with such comfort, as if we had known each other for years. Both of our lives changed from finding out about our high risk. Cyndi had been working as a comedian and actress. When she found out about her high risk, she decided to combine the two and become a burlesque dancer (her stage name is Cherry Pitz). Cyndi describes burlesque dancing as a combination between comedy and striptease; she says it is fun and artsy. She decided she wanted to celebrate her breasts. Cyndi says, “I want my boobs feeling so good about themselves that they don't want to get sick.”

For me, I left my high-tech corporate job and went back to school to study health. This journey led me on the path of founding my company, helping clients, and writing my book.

When I returned home, I sent Cyndi a copy of my book since it was the tangible product of my journey and I knew she would especially relate to a few chapters that were personal to our story. Cyndi thanked me for the book and offered to make me some breast tassels in return—the tangible result of her journey!

I never even knew what a burlesque dancer was before I met Cyndi. I had to look it up on the Internet. And, I’ve certainly never thought about wearing tassels on my breasts. In the past, I would have thought “What?!” but instead, I replied , “Sure!” What other opportunity would I have to get tassels? I don’t plan to wear the tassels publicly, but why not say yes? Why not be open to and embrace all ways of life, even if it seems outside of my comfort zone or what I know.

For most of my life I have been a very private person. I don’t share a lot of what is going on in my head or heart with others. When I began writing the book, there was no mention of my story. As I got further along in the publishing process, I received feedback from early readers and agents that it was important to share my story to help people connect to me and what I was writing.

At first I felt very uncomfortable with it. I shared a little at first, became comfortable with that, and then shared more. With the publishing of the book, my story is out there. I’m out there. For someone who has been as private as I have for 40 years, it still seems surreal that I wrote a book, have a blog and website, and share myself the way I have.

What I have gotten in return from my sharing and opening is such an unexpected gift. I find myself connecting with people on a much deeper level than I ever have. I realize that as I open up to people, they open up more to me. And the connection goes so much further below the surface.

My word for this year in my 2-0-1-4 Plan is “Openness.” I chose that word because I want to continue on this journey of being open to everyone. Not judging anyone. Sharing my full, authentic, imperfect self with others and letting them share themselves with me.

Being friends with a burlesque dancer is not something that would have come my way if I had not opened myself up and shared my story. We never would have known we had common ground by the outward showing of our lives.

I’ve only just begun on this journey of connecting with people on a new level and I’m looking forward to what is to come.

Are you someone who puts your guard up or finds yourself judging others without knowing their story? If so, come walk with me on this path of opening your heart and mind and let’s see where it will take us.

 

Please share your questions and comments below.

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Relationships Blog
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 09:08

Cough-Curing Yoga

I've never much been into yoga. I know it can be good for your health, but it's never been something I've been passionate about. Yes, I've dabbled in and out of it to try to understand what people love about it, but it's just never been my thing.

I can see how it would be good for flexibility, strengthening, toning, and stretching. It can also supposedly be relaxing as you follow your breath. I've never mastered inhaling and exhaling comfortably while flowing in and out of the yoga poses. I find myself having to take two inhale/exhale cycles to every one that I'm instructed to have. It's also supposed to be meditative, but if I'm going to meditate, I'd rather be sitting still and not working so hard getting in and out of poses. Many people say it's even spiritual for them. I have a friend who said it helped her get through the loss of her husband. I don't yet see how that happens.

There are so many different types of yoga: Bikram, Yin (or Deep), Hatha, Iyengar, Kundalini, and Power, to name a few. I've tried Bikram from a Groupon offer. After the first few times, I had zero desire to finish the remaining classes. There are way too many people crowded into a very small, hot (105+ degrees!) space with a lot of flinging sweat and sweat pools in too-near proximity for my taste. It's also the same routine every time, and I like variety. For me, Bikram is just not a lot of fun and I'm all about doing things that are fun!

I've also tried Yin Yoga which is my favorite. With this style yoga, you hold one position for 3-5 minutes and use a lot of equipment (bolsters, sand bags) to deepen the stretch. It feels calming and restorative. I went to this class somewhat regularly, but unfortunately it was cancelled, so now I don't do any yoga.

I do have a few yoga DVDs at home that I've bought over the years trying to get into a practice. This week my husband and I are on vacation in Hawaii and he decided to bring one of our DVDs to try to do it every morning. He has even less of a practice than I do, but he thought perhaps we'd have more success doing it without the time demands we have at home. Personally, I'd rather just get up and run in the morning, but my husband wanted us to do yoga first and then run. He thinks it helps his runs because it loosens him up. As much as I'd be fine not doing it, I hate to miss out on anything, so I've been doing the yoga with him.

While I've been on vacation (and a few days before we left), I've been a little under the weather. I've had a hoarse voice and nagging cough that flares up at night. I don't feel sick (maybe just a little more tired than usual), but my voice was practically non-existent for a few days and every night my cough has been waking me up around 2am. I have to get up for an hour (it seemed better if I was upright) and take a few lozenges before trying to go back to sleep.

Yesterday morning, my husband decides to play a different yoga routine than we've been doing. Midway through, I am doing a certain pose and I begin to cough uncontrollably. I'm not sure what the position is called that causes this attack. For those in the know, you might be able to understand if I describe it.

I started in Warrior pose (a lunge with my left leg forward and my left arm out in front and right one in back). I then twist to the right, put my left arm to the ground, and my right arm high in the air (see photo). During the session, but particularly in this position, It was hard for me to breathe because of the congestion in my chest. I'm trying to do the inhale and exhale as instructed but I can't get enough air in to last long enough.

I'm coughing so bad that I have to get out of my pose and run to get a lozenge. I'm wondering what the heck is this yoga doing to me—it's making me worse! At this point, I have the sudden need to grab a tissue because my nose is running. After about a minute of bodily mayhem, the episode is done and I head back to the yoga video.

Fast forward a few hours later and I realize that my voice is no longer hoarse. I feel like I have more energy. My throat feels clear. The true test, I know, will be nighttime.

Well, it's morning now and I did not have one cough through the night. Considering how bad my cough has been for the past few nights, this is a big deal and feels quite miraculous. I feel completely well. I am absolutely convinced that there was something about that yoga pose (and possibly the flow leading up to it) that cured me. I don't know how it happened physiologically, but it happened.

My husband is still sleeping now, but as soon as he wakes up, I'm ready to put in the DVD and see what other health benefits I can get from this thing called yoga. I will definitely be turning to yoga rather than throat lozenges the next time I have a cough!

Many of my friends, clients, and Four Quadrant Living readers are strong advocates and practicers of yoga. I'd love to hear from you. Do you have a yoga practice? What motivates you to do yoga? What is your favorite style of yoga? How regularly do you practice? What health benefits does it give you? Chime in below and help this new yoga believer see what's possible.

Please share your comments and questions below.


Update: I have heard from several people on what pose I was doing when the coughing fit happened. They say it was Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose).

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 00:00

4 Healthy Alternatives to Soda

Many of you know that my soda of choice is Diet Coke. I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with it, as I talked about in my blog, "If Diet Coke Were Broccoli." I've even made giving it up part of my 2-0-1-3 Plan and 2-0-1-4 Plan. I have significantly reduced my intake of it, but I still did have it on occasion last year. I know it's not healthy for me, but I love the taste of it. I'm trying again this year to give it up for good. Eight days in and I'm holding strong!

Soda is not good for our health. We know that. Studies show that diet sodas contribute to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. Some say that regular soda is preferable despite the increase in calories because it doesn't contain the artificial sweeteners. There are many health warnings about aspartame, the sweetener in Diet Coke and many other diet sodas. It is believed to cause side effects like headaches, dizziness, mood changes, loss of memory, and skin reactions. In addition, soda consumption has been linked to lower bone density, since it can block your bones' absorption of calcium.

We may kick the soda habit for health reasons, but it doesn't mean we don't miss the caffeinated, fizzy, sweet pop every now and then. I reached out to the online 4QL community and got some great ideas from all of you! Here are four of my top choices.

1. Unsweetened iced tea. Two good choices are Tejava and Trader Joe's Green & White Tea with Mint. Both are unsweetened with no artificial flavors, and are great plain or with a squeeze of lemon. For those that like the caffeinated jolt of soda, iced tea fits the bill since it contains caffeine.

2. Sparkling water with lemon, lime, or orange slices. For those that like the fizz of soda, the sparkling water gives the drink a little extra something.

3. Sparkling water with a touch of pure fruit juice, like cranberry juice. For those that like the sweetness of soda, the addition of fruit flavors does the trick.

4. Fruit and vegetable flavored water. Add fresh cucumbers, strawberries, mangoes, or lemons, and let them naturally flavor the water.

Being healthy doesn't have to mean depriving yourself of the tastes you like. It just means being creative and finding healthier alternatives. When the urge for a soda strikes, try one of the ideas above and see if it fits the bill.

Do you have a soda that you are trying to break up with? If so, which one and what works for you?

Please share your comments and questions below.

 

 

Kick the soda habit for good!

 

 

 

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 18:20

Undo the Holiday Indulgence

I don't know about you, but I'm happy it's the New Year. It's time to get back into a routine and away from so many indulgences. The holidays were fun and fantastic, but my body is on overload from the temptations that couldn't be resisted—sweets, heavy meals, drinks, and so on.

I'm ready to give my body (and mind) a fresh, clean, healthy start to 2014! It's time to detox. Whether you are local or not, you can join me. For those local, I am leading a group detox starting Tuesday, January 21 (time TBD based on participants). For those of you who are not local or who want to do it on your own, I also offer that as an option by phone and email. See here for details about group and private detox coaching.

To learn more about the 4-week detox, you can read a detailed blog I wrote over a year ago when I first did the detox, Cleansing and Detoxing: Fad or For Real?. I was skeptical at first because there had been so much hype about cleanses and detoxes. I take it very seriously what I choose for myself and my clients, and I fully support the Detox 360 which is the program I use.

It is not about fasting or deprivation. It is about eating real food. The focus is on cutting out the allergenic and inflammatory foods from your diet. You have to be committed as it does take some work, but you will be supported in a group or by me and you will see results. All of my clients who have done the program have had positive results. The program comes with quality supplements to help the detox process and a detailed binder to guide you along the way.

Clients have reported the following benefits:

  • "Have more energy"
  • "Notice clearer skin"
  • "Lost weight"
  • "Experience fewer digestive issues"
  • "Discovered food allergies"
  • "Have less inflammation and joint pain"

Here's to undoing our holiday and 2013 indulgences and giving our bodies a fresh, clean, healthy start to 2014! Who's joining me?

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Sunday, 29 December 2013 16:52

The 2-0-1-4 Plan

The end of year is a great time to reflect on the year behind and look forward to the year ahead. A great way to do this is with The 2-0-1-4 Plan. Last year, I created The 2-0-1-3 Plan and it resonated with so many of you! It was fun to share our plans for the New Year, so it's time to do it again. Be sure to comment below with your plan. For those of you who did it last year, you can see your plans here at the bottom of the blog. 

The 2-0-1-4 Plan is about starting off the New Year with intention, motivation, and accountability for health and happiness. It's okay if some of your items from last year are still on the list this year. I didn't quite master one of my "2" items from last year as you can see in the comments below, so I'm putting it on my Plan again this year.

Forward this on to your friends and family and let's see how many people we can get on board to join in. Here's how it works.

2  Come up with TWO actionable and doable healthy living ideas. Be specific. Make them very customized for you. Think about your weakness areas. How do you do in the areas of stress management, having fun, sleeping well, eating healthy, exercising, having nurturing relationships, and living in a nontoxic environment (this can be related to your emotional or physical environment)? Are you pretty good about working out, but don't take any time for stress management? If so, don't put exercise on your list, but rather, put something that will reduce your stress. Commit to work on the areas that receive less of your focus. You will see in the examples below that the ideas are both manageable and quantifiable. Try to be as specific as you can, and don't over-commit. You can always over-deliver.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Meditate for five minutes three days a week first thing in the morning to start the day grounded.
  • Spend less time with those people in your life who make you feel worse about yourself (you can be specific with names, if you want).
  • Do not drink alcohol during the week, only on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Get 7,500 to 10,000 steps at least four days a week (wear a pedometer to track it).
  • Go to bed by 11pm every night so that you get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Make one fun plan a week that makes you happy.

Commit to doing the ZERO "do it now" item. What is the one thing that has been on your list to do for years that you know would benefit you in some way—career, health, relationships, personal—but you just have never done it? Commit to it to do it this year.

This one is really important! So many of you reported in that you did your "0" from last year. Way to go! Mine was to join Toastmasters which I have wanted to do for TWENTY YEARS! I finally did it this past August and it has been one of the best things I've done. Setting the intention of doing it at the beginning of the year and stating it publicly helped to finally make it happen! Trust yourself. You know your "0". Let's make it happen this year.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Get out of a toxic relationship that has been bringing you down.
  • Make a change in your job if you feel miserable every day. (Sometimes this may not be possible due to financial constraints, but oftentimes even if we believe this to be the case, we do have choices that we have not allowed ourselves to believe in. Now's the time to believe in them and explore them.)
  • Go on the trip you've been talking about taking for years. If your spouse doesn't want to join you, go with a friend, by yourself, or an organized group.
  • Hire a health coach and lose the weight for good.
  • Find a workout regime you like so that you look forward to exercise rather than see it as a chore. For some ideas, read Movement by Gypsy.
  • Join a support group (e.g. AA, Al-Anon, loss, cancer). If you need help, there are groups out there for you. Sharing your pain with others does help.
  • Write your memoir.
  • Volunteer.
  • Take classes.

1  Choose ONE word for the year. Come up with one word that you want to represent you in 2014. Give it some thought because you want it to really encompass what you want for the year. When you have decided on your word, write it out in big letters and put it somewhere you will see it everyday. Put it on your bathroom mirror, by your computer, on your vision board, at work, in your wallet. Last year my word was "confidence". I still have my word staring at me on my vision board right next to my computer that I have seen for the past 365 days. (It was also pretty cool that my friend, Tracy, gave me a necklace for my birthday with my word on it, so I had it as an empowering reminder that I wore daily!). Now I've replaced last year's word with this year's word, "Openness".

Here are a few ideas: faith, love, forgiveness, dream, health, peace, strength, hope, play, truth, trust, imagine, and share.

4  Take FOUR minutes every day to ground yourself in the day. This one is a little different from last year. Last year it was to write 3 things you are grateful for every day. This year, I'm changing it because I've heard from so many of my clients about the importance of starting or ending your day with purpose. One of my clients said they feel that every day runs into the next, so we talked about creating a closing day ritual. Another one of my client starts every morning lighting a candle and setting an intention for the day. Whether you want to take the four minutes in the morning, afternoon, or evening, be sure to take them. Ground yourself in the day. You can do this by taking a few deep breaths allowing your mind to free itself from the mental chatter. Set an intention for the day (such as being mindful, grateful, open, strong, playful). Do a ritual if you choose (light a candle, share with your spouse one highlight from the day, write in your journal). I talk more about this in chapter 9, "Losing My Mind(fulness)," of my new book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life.

2-0-1-4  Take some time this week and think about your 2-0-1-4 plan. Be sure to comment below and let us know. It is helpful to share it with others to make it more real and to help hold you accountable. I've shared my 2-0-1-4 plan in the comments below. If you want to share some of your plan, but not all of it, that's perfectly fine. This year, I chose not to share my "0". Share what you feel comfortable with and keep private what you want.

I look forward to hearing from you. Let's make 2014 a year filled with health, happiness, and ... (insert your word here!).

And, of course, if you need help with making any part of your 2-0-1-4 plan happen, 4QL can help you!

_________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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My "1" word for 2014!

Published in Relationships Blog

Here are some great easy-to-buy (forget shopping in the mall!) and healthy-to-receive (forget the food baskets!) gift ideas. These are great ideas for you or your loved ones. Give the gift of an experience—a week of fitness in the great outdoors, a relaxing massage or body scrub, a month of yoga or pilates classes, a session of health coaching, and more. The businesses highlighted below are partners of Four Quadrant Living and are offering special discounts to you.

FOR THOSE LOCAL TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

1. Fitness. Give the gift of fitness to yourself or a loved one. Gumsaba Boot Camp was voted Best of the San Francisco East Bay by Diablo Magazine in 2012. Mention Four Quadrant Living and get $20 off the first month by typing in "2013FQL" into the promo field on the Gumsaba website. Gumsaba Boot Camp has classes for women, men, and co-ed. Classes are held in Danville, Walnut Creek, and Moraga and run Monday through Saturday.


2. Pampering. Jolie Salon & Spa in Danville, CA was voted Best Massage, Best Day Spa, and Best Salon for Men and Women by Danville Express Reader's Choice in 2012. Mention Four Quadrant Living and get 10% off of any service (or gift certificate). Jolie Salon & Spa is a full service salon. You or your loved one can use the certificate for a hair cut, massage, body scrub, facial, and more. 


3. Centering & Toning. Indigo Pilates & Yoga Studio in Pleasant Hill, CA offers a wide selection of classes, services, and community events. These offerings are centered around one common theme: healing inside and out. Mention Four Quadrant Living and get 10% off of the first purchase of any class or package. Indigo Studio offers a wide variety of yoga classes including hatha, kundalini, affirmation, and prenatal. They also offer pilates reformer and mat flow classes.

FOR THOSE LOCAL OR NOT LOCAL TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA



4. Health coaching. I offer health coaching and nutritional consultation gift certificates to give to your friends and family members (phone sessions available if not local). Special holiday offer comes with a free, signed copy of my Amazon top selling book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life. Click here to learn more about my services. Contact me for details.


5. Healthy living. Give a signed copy of my book with a personalized message. Special holiday offer: the book can be wrapped and shipped directly to the gift recipient or can be sent directly to you. $18 includes book, signing, tax, holiday wrapping, and shipping! This has been a popular offer and it has been fun to fill your requests. Order here by December 17.

 

If you are feeling stressed this holiday season, here are a few past blogs which give some ideas for keeping the holiday season simpler and less stressful.

7 Ideas for a Less Stressful Holiday Season

Not Overeating This Holiday Season

Stop the Holiday Madness


What are your ideas for lowering your stress during the holidays? What other easy-to-get, healthy-to-receive gift ideas do you have?

_________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Mind Blog
Sunday, 08 December 2013 21:50

Bittersweet Holiday Time

"Have a holly jolly Christmas." "Deck the halls with boughs of holly." "Have yourself a merry little Christmas."

The holidays are a happy time of year, right? They can be, but for many of us, they can also be bittersweet. A missed loved one can bring sadness to an otherwise joyous season.

Christmas was a big deal in the household of Dan and Carol Luczynski, my father-in-law and mother-in-law. My husband and I always had to split Christmas week between LA (my family) and Phoenix (his family), but we always made sure that our time in Phoenix included Christmas eve and Christmas day. I love the traditions we had of lighting the luminarias, sharing a meal together, piling into the van to see the neighborhood lights, opening the big pile of gifts under the tree on Christmas eve, and scratching our lottery tickets on Christmas day that were always in our stockings.

These traditions stopped over a decade ago when my mother-in-law and father-in-law died. Now we no longer make our way to Phoenix for the holidays. This past weekend I traveled to Phoenix with my husband to visit my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. These days I only get out every few years to visit. Perhaps it was the proximity to the holidays, but this visit made me nostalgic for the past.

My husband and I decided to go for a run while we were there and ran from his sister's house to his parents' old house. Just seeing that house where all of our family gatherings took place hit me at my core. I felt myself tearing up with the overwhelming feeling of loss—loss for the traditions and loss not to have Dan and Carol in our lives anymore. It's been over a decade, but in that moment, the sadness came on suddenly and caught me off-guard.

On our run, we decided to visit some old friends of my in-laws. We haven't seen them in years and keep in touch only through annual holiday cards, but I feel like they are one of the few remaining ties to Dan and Carol. They happened to be home and were (understandably) surprised by our visit. As I explained our impulse for the visit, I felt myself getting choked up and was hardly able to get the words out. It's amazing how the loss can feel so present and strong, even after so many years.

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people, whether the loss is recent or years prior. If you feel this way, be kind to yourself and acknowledge these feelings. Share your thoughts with others. Does it help to talk about your loved one and your fun holiday memories? Does it help to honor them by continuing some of the traditions? If you know someone who has recently lost a loved one, check in with them this holiday season and see how they are doing.

We often feel like we should be jolly and merry during this time of year, but it's okay if, mixed in with the merriment, there is some sadness. Just recognize it and honor it. And then try to be present (and feel the happiness) with the loved ones in your life who you are spending the holidays with.

I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below. Who are you missing this holiday time? What are your favorite holiday memories of or traditions with them?

I'm sending hugs to everyone who is feeling bittersweet this holiday season.

 

(above) 1999 Last Luczynski holiday together

(above right) 1991 Dan and Carol

_________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Relationships Blog
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00

Food Swapping for Health

My favorite new food discovery is nutritional yeast. If you don't know about it yet, let me introduce you. I use it as a Parmesan cheese substitute. I put it on salads and soups, but you can also top your casseroles, pasta, and popcorn with it.

It is inactive so it does not have leavening ability. I buy it from the bulk bin at Whole Foods. Nutritional yeast is a good source of B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. Some describe it as having a cheesy, nutty flavor. I have been eliminating dairy from my diet, so I like having nutritional yeast as my "cheese."


When I posted this on the FQL Facebook page, one follower said, "After watching my daughter, who is allergic to dairy, look longingly at plates of mac and cheese, I found that I could use nutritional yeast to make the sauce. It looks the same as the stuff her friends have and she loves the taste! I felt like a star!"

I also recently posted about healthy alternatives for soda. I have given up Diet Coke for health reasons, but I miss the taste of it. I received some great ideas from everyone and decided to share them in an Examiner article I wrote today, "4 healthy alternatives to help kick the soda habit."

Another favorite healthy food swap of mine is cauliflower "mashed potatoes." Steam cauliflower and put it in a food processor. You can add a little butter (and nutritional yeast!). Blend and serve. It tastes just like mashed potatoes. Potatoes are fine nutritionally but cauliflower is even better.

What are your favorite healthy food swaps? Comment below and share your ideas! They could make for another great Examiner article.

Published in Body Blog
Page 1 of 4
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  • She truly cares

    I initially started working with Dina to help me with my diet for an autoimmune disease I have been battling for years. She has also helped me with stress, relationships, and work. She is very encouraging. I am now happier and healthier because of Dina. She truly cares about you and it definitely shows in the difference it has made in my life.
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    Reaching out to Dina was one of the best decisions I've made this past year. Every aspect of my life; spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, was out of balance. She was and continues to be exactly what my life was missing; someone to hold me accountable, a cheerleader, a confidant, a trustworthy advisor, a coach!
    Lisa H.
  • Saved my life

    Dina has provided me with the tools and knowledge that I needed to make changing to a healthier lifestyle a manageable goal. She never judged me when I stumbled but has only given me the encouragement and steps I needed to get back up and try again. I will be forever grateful to Dina because she has literally saved my life from the downward spiral I was in.
    Kristin A.
  • Helped me balance my life

    After the my mom's death, I withdrew from life. Dina helped me move past the self-destructive tendencies I had used to cope with my grief. She is a compassionate listener, offers gentle suggestions, and provides nonthreatening accountability. Through our sessions she helped me balance my life. I don't know where I'd be without her.
    Liz L.
  • Lost 10 pounds

    Working with Dina has helped me to manage and control my prediabetes. I have lost 10 pounds with her guidance by being more aware of the food I am eating. I like working with Dina because I feel that she really tries to find ways for me to be healthy in my life—the things I like to do and eat—rather than providing a cookie cutter solution.
    Diane C.
  • Feel stronger and happier

    Dina and her Four Quadrant Living consistently give me simple, easy to implement suggestions to make my entire life healthier. With Dina's gentle guidance, I have vastly improved the way I eat, the way I deal with stress and, basically, the way I balance my life. It is impossible to not feel better, stronger and happier when working with Dina.
    Gracie T.
  • Offers variety of services

    Dina's approach is never threatening or condescending and she offers a variety of services that fit many, many different needs - whether just a little nudge when it comes to diet or organization or an all-out weekly session helping with all four quadrants. Highly recommend!
    Tiffany T.
  • Highly recommend her

    It wasn't just about food but my overall well-being. I got the tools to work toward the things that I wanted to achieve. I love that I can email Dina with any question that I might have along the way! I highly recommend her.
    Gabriela V.
  • Amazed at improvement

    By the end of the 3rd week (of the Detox Program), I started to notice changes. I felt less tired and was actually sleeping less. I was amazed at the improvement in my well being. Dina was great in providing information and motivation throughout the program. She presented a nice balance of telling me what I needed to know without overwhelming me.
    Dave L.
  • Invested in her clients

    Dina offered ideas on dealing with my job stress. I felt the ideas really catered to me and my job specifically, rather than being some general ideas I could get from internet research. I use one of the fantastic ideas religiously to help destress after every shift. I was so pleased with my experience, I recommended Dina's Four Quadrant Living to my sister.
    Bev Y.

Published Articles

Green Exercise: Good for the Sole and Soul
Natural Awakenings, March 2011

Sustainable Danville Area: Find Your People
Danville Today News, February 2012 (Page 6)

Are Genetically Modified Foods Making Your Child Sick?
Active Kids, June 2012 (Page 23)