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Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Do You Have A Dream?

By January 21, 2013

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Today we celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights activists and American hero. As many have noted, this holiday comes on the day that we inaugurate our first African American president for a second term, a sign that America has made huge strides toward realizing the dream that Dr. King spoke of in his infamous I Have A Dream Speech. I see this as a nice coincidence and sign of how successfully one person can make a difference in the world, or rather, how each perso can make a difference.

The observance of Martin Luther King's Birthday also serves as a reminder of the power of having a vision and working toward that vision, a theme that we've already focused on quite a bit throughout January as we've focused on New Year's Resolutions. While this dream, sadly, wasn't realized during King's lifetime, and, arguably, hasn't been fully realized even today, King's vocalization of this dream made it possible for countless others to visualize the same thing, and for all of us to work toward seeing it become a reality. This is the power of vision.

While big dreams aren't usually realized overnight, now is a great day to start working toward yours--taking 'baby steps', getting friends involved, and--above all--holding a clear vision in your mind of what your dream will look like, what your goal will feel like once it's realized.

Your dreams may be to make the world a better place, or to make your world a better place, but don't discount your dreams. Usually the goals that will improve your life will touch the lives of those around you in a positive way, starting a chain reaction of positive change. Setting the goal to help your family, your community, or the world at large is not out of reach, either--Dr. King taught us that. Celebrate his memory with positive change. Here are some steps you can take today:

  1. Conceptualize Your Goal
    Now is a great time to take a few minutes to think about what you really want. Some of you will already have a clear idea of what your main goals are; others may have to think about it a little bit to choose the most important goals to prioritize. Even if you have had no clear goals in mind, now is the time to take a few minutes to dream. Think about where you'd like to be in a year, or five years, or ten. Take time to imagine different scenarios, and figure out which changes would best serve you, which ones resonate most deeply. You can use journaling or a vision board to really flesh out your ideas, and this can keep you motivated later.

  2. Tell Friends About Your Goal
    Yes, telling your friends serves (at least) two purposes: A) Your friends may be able to help you meet your goals. Friends can serve as workout buddies for those who want to get in better shape, as networkers for those who want to find better jobs, etc. B) Once you tell your friends, you increase your momentum and motivation to meet your goals and reach your dreams. Your goals will seem more 'real', and you will be less likely to quit working toward your goals because you'll have to explain yourself to your friends and (possibly) look like 'a quitter'.

  3. Identify First Steps--And Take One!
    If you try to tackle a big goal on pure will power, you'll likely fail; you need a plan! Breaking up your goal into smaller mini-goals, and rewarding yourself as you meet them is a simple and effective way to build motivation and see success. Read these articles on setting goals and sticking with goals, set an initial goal that will move you in the direction of your dream, and make steps toward meeting this small, reachable goal. Today.

More Martin Luther King Resources:

What are your goals and dreams? What steps are you taking toward them? It can help to put them in writing! Leave your thoughts in the comments, or visit the Facebook Page About Stress Management .

Like this post? Want to use it to start a discussion with your friends? Pass it on!

March 2, 2014 at 8:18 am
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