Chasing the Dream: Your glass is half full

Apr 25, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Are you an optimist? If not, it's time to exercise your positive bone. Positivity is a powerful force that can help you achieve your dreams and goals.

Fine artist Elizabeth Floyd is a work-at-home mom to an infant daughter who paints still life and landscape oil paintings. She's also a positive thinker. "My mantra on many a day is, 'I can't do it all, but I can try to do a lot,' which is an amazing mind-elixir because when I remind myself this, my mind clears, stress fades and the energy to tackle whatever needs my immediate attention returns. By allowing myself to acknowledge that maybe not everything will get done, I find I am able to be more flexible and adapt the way I need to work," says Floyd.

Her optimism has paid off. Over the last year, her goal has been to keep her art career growing. "One of my paintings was accepted into a very competitive juried exhibition -- Salon International held at Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, Texas -- [and] I have been selling my artwork at a faster rate than in the previous two years, and I am planning on participating in a large art event in D.C. starting in May," says Floyd.

Can optimism work for you, too?

Power in positivity

Norman Vincent Peale once said, "People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success." Peale is a famed preacher and author of The Power of Positive Thinking.

This is more than a nice thought -- positive thinking is the premise of many success strategies including The Secret. It's what moms-to-be draw on when pregnancy gets challenging. And it's what we place our faith in when we send our children off to school on the school bus. We probably shouldn't be surprised that positivity works either. While negative thoughts can cut us down and keep us from going for really huge dreams, positive thoughts are beacons of hope that lead us to our dreams.

How to use positivity to achieve your dreams


You need to start by having a clear vision of what you want. As parents, we can be overrun with the responsibility of raising our children and lose sight of what we really want for ourselves too. A dream board can help by allowing you to create a visualization of your goals. Also, reading helps. "Read something inspirational every day, even if it's only a quote," says Dr. Marlene Caroselli, author of more than 60 books including Principled Persuasion.

Focus on good

Not optimistic? It's so easy to let negative thoughts overtake us. It's also easy as parents to push our needs to the side by telling ourselves that our needs aren't as important as our childrens. But negativity -- and its colleagues worry and stress -- hold us back. Instead, focus on all the good things in your life. Also, remember that our happiness if as important as our childrens. "Record your small successes and celebrate your incremental accomplishments," says Caroselli.

Cut the bad

You have a choice in what you surround yourself with. Choose to surround yourself with positive people, experiences and thoughts, which will benefit you in how you approach your goals in life. "Limit your exposure to toxic people -- those with negative, complaining views of the world," says Caroselli. Be sure that in choosing good, you make choices that propel you toward your dreams, while also allowing you to fulfill your wants and needs for your family too.

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