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Dina Colman

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For me, living healthy is an active plan. I have to work at it. It takes time to shop for good food, make healthy meals, exercise, manage my stress, and so on. Sometimes I feel strong and the healthy living comes more easily. Other times, I'm low in willpower and I need all of the help I can get. Here are a few ideas of what helps me stay on track.

1. Do it with a buddy.
I am definitely more likely to get out for my run or walk (or insert exercise here) when I schedule to meet a friend. In fact, in about 20 minutes, I'm heading out to meet my friend Christy for a run. I can definitely say that if I weren't scheduled to meet her today, I would skip the run to finish this newsletter instead!

The same thing applies to eating well. My co-worker Traci and I have started the Whole 30 eating plan today. She and I have been texting today about what meals we are planning for the week and because we are doing it together, she will bring food for me and I will bring food for her. I would not have the momentum or motivation if I weren't doing it with a friend.

What are you wanting to do more of? Eat well, exercise, reduce stress? Who can you ask to do it with you?

2. Track yourself.
Many patients I work with have great success with tracking what they eat or when they exercise. Tracking can come in many forms. You can use a piece of paper and write it down. You could print out or buy a calendar and track it there. There are also some great fitness programs like My Fitness Pal which tracks what you eat and you can log your exercise, too.

Personally, I am in love with my FitBit. I just bought the new FitBit Blaze. I've set my goal for 10,000 steps per day and my watch tells me how close I am. I am motivated to walk a little more at the end of the day if I haven't yet met my goal. The cool thing about FitBit is that you can participate in challenges with your friends. I'm in a Work Week Hustle challenge with some of my friends and family. It shows how many steps we each have and tracks us for the week. You get notices like "Alan pulled past Chanelle for first place" and you can cheer each other on.

3. Help yourself.
When I am in a low willpower state, it is best for me to not have any temptation food in the house. Since I am now starting on this Whole 30 plan for the month, I packed up a bag of any unapproved foods that I know would be tempting and I gave them to a friend. They might still be edible in a month, but I don't need them as a daily test of my willpower. I might have a craving, but if I don't have the food in the house, it makes it one step easier for me to resist!

The same goes for working out. Some clients say it helps them to pack their gym clothes with them because they know if they go home at the end of the work day to change, they won't get themselves back out again.

What are the things you can do to help set yourself up for success?

4. Remember that small steps count.
I will often hear people say that they don't have a big enough time chunk in their day to get to the gym, so they just opt not to go. Every movement counts! Even if you can take three 10 minutes walks throughout the day. That matters! Even if you only have time to do one minute of deep breathing, that can change what is happening in your body physiologically! Even if you skip a few extra bites of the dessert you have indulged in, that counts! It all adds up. No step forward toward healthy living is too small.

5. Think about the why
I've seen people have the most success with sustainable change when they tap into their "why". Why do you want to eat healthier, exercise more, manage your stress? Do you want to live longer? Keep up with your kids? Fit into your wardrobe again? Regain your self confidence? Whatever the reason, tapping into the why can help you see the long term goal and help you stay strong and motivated.

For me, I want to give myself my best chance for health to beat the odds from my high risk of getting cancer. That's what keeps me on this quest. Plus, when I am exercising and eating well I feel happy, vibrant, alive, and confident. Who doesn't want more of that in their life?!

6. Stay true to you.
People sometimes feel that others derail them or they feel pressured to get off course. I like this advice from the Whole 30 program. "You never, ever, ever have to eat anything you don't want to eat. Just because it's your sister's birthday, or your best friend's wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything." Remember, it's always a choice. YOUR choice. You are the one who has the most benefit to advocate for you. You are the one who most reaps the rewards!

What helps you?
Which of these ideas can you try? What other ideas do you have for keeping on track with healthy living? Reply to this email or post on the blog page and let us know!

In my book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, I write: "People often think that living healthy means sacrifice, but when healthy living comes from within--from your values, beliefs, and vision you have for yourself--eating well and making lifestyle changes doesn't feel like a sacrifice. It feels like a privilege, an active choice, and simply your new way of life." I couldn't have said it better myself. :)

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an award-winning author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. 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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We typically hear about spring cleaning in terms of cleaning out our "stuff". And I'm all for cleaning out our stuff. So much so, that I devote an entire chapter to it in my book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life. The chapter is entitled "Free Space, Free Mind." The idea is that when we have a cluttered environment, we have a cluttered mind. You can click on the link to get some ideas for some serious house spring cleaning!

But what about making sure the other areas of our lives are clean and clear? We know that looking at one quadrant tells only 1/4th of the story. How is your Mind? Do you spend too much time replaying the past or worrying about the future? Do you spend too much time thinking and talking about your "story". If so, remember that you have the power to change your mindset at any time. You can be happy. Just choose to do so. Start focusing on the positive. Keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily. What are you grateful for in your life? What are the things you enjoy? Take a few moments every day to nourish your mind. Shut off the TV and put away the iPhone and just be. Don't do, just be. It reminds me of my favorite postcard I saw years ago "Having a great time. Wish I were here." Be. Here. Now.

What about cleaning out the Body quadrant? Are you feeding yourself good, healthy food that gives you that spring in your step? Or are you eating the foods that make you feel sluggish? I know for me personally, I need to clean up my eating a bit. If you are finding it hard to do, get an accountable buddy, track your foods with a tool like My Fitness Pal, and connect with why you want to eat healthier (because it makes me feel better and gives me more energy!). Of course there are other ways to do some spring cleaning in the Body quadrant including adding some (fun) exercise, getting better sleep, and using healthier products.

We have to remember that Relationships play a role in our health, too. Are you actively choosing the people in your life? My test is this: After spending time with someone ask yourself if you feel better or worse after seeing them. There are some people who make me feel smart and funny and beautiful; others who make me feel bad about myself. If you are spending time with the latter, it may be time for some friend spring cleaning!

We already touched on the Environment quadrant above, which can also include not just getting rid of the clutter, but also removing the toxic products we use in our house.

Write in the comments below and let me know how you choose to actively create and live your life with some FQL spring cleaning!

________

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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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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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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Hi. My name is Dina, and I'm an email addict. I have a compulsion to try to keep up with my emails. Try as I might, it just doesn't happen. Lately, I have been feeling that my addiction is impacting my work productivity. I have three email accounts. Gmail, Four Quadrant Living, and Yahoo, all serving different purposes. Trying to keep up with all of them feels like a full-time job.

Are you a fellow online addict? Perhaps your drug of choice is not email, but rather posting on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, or texting. There are so many ways to feed our addiction—smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops. For me, my iPhone and MacBook Pro are my fuel for addiction. Are your addictions impacting you? At work? At home? In relationships? In your own serenity?

For months now, I have been trying to catch up on my emails, but it's a never ending battle. I must remember the wise words of Richard Carlson in his Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... and It's all Small Stuff:

"Remind yourself that when you die, your 'in-basket' won't be empty."

I read this book over 15 years ago, but this idea resonated with me so much that I always remember it. As hard as I try to empty my in-basket, it's just going to keep filling up. Striving to empty the basket makes me feel like a hamster running on a wheel. Working hard and going nowhere. And, it's taking away from more important areas in my life that need attention.

As I'm writing this blog, I'm reminded of Stephen Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." Covey explains the difference between "urgent" and "important" work. There are four boxes we can be in as we work (this can apply to our personal and professional lives):

1. Urgent and important

  • crises
  • pressing problems
  • deadline driven projects, meetings, preparations

2. Not urgent and important

  • Preparation
  • Prevention
  • Values clarification
  • Relationship building
  • Empowerment

3. Urgent and not important

  • Interruptions, some phone calls
  • Some mail, some reports
  • Some meetings
  • Many proximate, pressing matters
  • Many popular activities

4. Not urgent and not important

  • Trivia, busywork
  • Some phone calls
  • Time waster
  • "Escape" activities
  • Irrelevant mail
  • Excessive TV

Covey says that the best use of our time focuses on boxes 1 and 2. All of the 7 habits of highly effective people reside in #2. He says that there are genuine #1 crises, but that by trying to stay in #2, you can keep the #1 issues at a minimum.

What keeps you from spending more time in #2? Perhaps you say "yes" to too many people? Feel paralyzed because you don't know where to start? For me, it's my compulsion to clear my emails, no matter how not urgent and not important they are.

Think about why you feel so tied to your ____ (fill in your social network or device of choice). Is it filling a void? Is it giving you something you are not otherwise getting in your relationships? Are you bored? Is it a compulsion (e.g. the need to have an empty in-box)? Spending time thinking about why you are doing it could lead to some personal insights.

If you feel like your devices are getting in the way of other areas of your life, join me for the month of May and make a change—big or small. Here are the changes I am going to make to spend more time in box 2, on the areas of my life that are important and not urgent.

  • I am going to turn off the email notification on my laptop for periods of time during the work day, and only turn it back on at break times. Usually I have my email open all day which means I get notified by a red number at the bottom of my screen when a new email comes in. No matter how engrossed I am with the task at hand, I invariably leave my important work and check the typically unimportant email, losing my productivity. While I have been writing this blog, the email notification has been off. Typically it would be on and I would probably still be writing the second paragraph of this blog because I would be sucked into the email vortex.
  • I'm going to try to not check my iPhone email first thing in the morning. Usually, first thing in the morning, before I'm even fully awake, I reach for my iPhone and check my email. The problem is that most of the time, there will be an email that I will want to respond to, which gets me out of bed and not starting the day I want to. Instead, I want to wake up, have my Meditation with Hollywood time, eat breakfast, start work with an important project, and then check my email mid-morning. I want to take back control of my work day.
  • I think I'm pretty good in my social interactions in not being tied to my iPhone, but I could probably improve in this area too, so for the rest of the month, I will consciously watch my use of my iPhone when I am with others.

I'd love to hear from my fellow connected addicts. What is your conduit and addiction of choice? Do you want to join me for the rest of the month in making a small change for better productivity, enhanced relationships, and more serenity?

 

Please share your questions and comments 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 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)