Thirteen years ago, I was defeated. Less than a year after moving out of my mom’s house, she was my landlord once again. Alone on her couch (my bed), I spent Friday nights watching bad TV and brushing crumbs off my lap. One day, an ash-haired woman spoke of untold laws and secrets with the power to manifest my wildest dreams. “This was no BS!” I choked.
I began reading books and listening to tapes on how to attract my desires. I visualized my fantasies, recanted affirmations, and purified my mind. And then something amazing happened…
Nothing changed. Not one single thing.
So, I tried something different. I sought advice from successful friends. They weren’t always wealthy, but they lived happy lives, on their own terms. One was a venture capitalist helping entrepreneurs in developing countries. He loved to build businesses that lifted communities. Another was a teacher that felt a rush when her students learned something new. I interviewed athletes, engineers, and small business owners to dissect the actionable steps to manifest your dreams.
I put their advice to work in my own life, becoming my own guinea pig. My results changed—fast. I went from almost dropping out of high-school to graduating from one of the top MBA programs in the world. I quit smoking and ran a marathon and then a triathlon. I traveled the world and went from dead broke to six-figures in the bank in less than a year.
Those results may pale in comparison to yours—if so, mazel tov my friend! Keep crushing it, and use these steps to reach new heights.
Let’s manifest our dreams, minus the squishy platitudes.
What Does It Mean to Manifest Something?
The process of manifesting refers to bringing something into your physical reality through your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Now, that definition only goes so far because if making something appear were as easy as thinking about it, we would all be living lives of luxury.
Thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are supposed to be the groundwork that get you started on your goals in this case. When you begin to bring to mind what you really want, it helps you focus on the ways to get there. Eventually, that thing will become reality for you. This is how manifesting works!
Here are some steps to help you as you learn how to manifest anything you desire in life.
1. Know Where Mindset Matters
For all the hype, there’s one big problem with the Law of Attraction: belief alone can’t change anything—not in the physical world. It takes consistent, deliberate action to bend reality in your favor.
But that’s not to say that a positive mindset is unimportant. Ever met a woman who dates the same toxic men over and over again? Or the man who decries his every employer yet suffers the worst of them? How strange is it that whether we view life as good or bad, kind or evil, circumstances tend to prove our point?
Stop the Limiting Beliefs
Don’t let your doubt fester; treat it like germs and wash your hands of it. Remind yourself constantly that your limitations are minimal compared to all that you can accomplish. You can do and achieve so much if you have the dedication to actually do it.
Don’t overthink things; just go full steam ahead. Even failures will offer you incredibly useful life lessons that you can carry forward as you learn how to manifest anything you want and get back on track towards your goals.
You learn from the failures, you grow, you try again, and again, and eventually you succeed. The only losers are quitters. Don’t be one of them.
If you do fail, take a moment to make sure that what you’re working toward is what you really want. If it is, give it another go. And another, if that’s what it takes.
The only person who can stop you from achieving your goals is you. So get out of your own way!
What you are is what you have been. Who you will be is what you do now. —Buddha
Thoughts don’t manifest our dreams, but they dictate our actions, which do. Before writing your goals, first, check in with yourself: are you in a positive mindset right now?
Always begin with optimism. If you’re feeling stressed, pause for ten minutes of meditation. Feeling unconfident? Recite a few uplifting affirmations and relieve your past achievements for a while. When you’re ready, return to your goals.
2. Ask the Most Important Question
In Simon Sinek’s bestselling book, “Start with Why,” he explains how people don’t buy into a product until they understand the “why” behind it. Companies refer to this as their mission statement.
Likewise, you won’t commit to your personal mission until you believe in your soul why it matters. Think about the type of life you could be living if you accomplished your goals. How happy would that make you feel? Would it empower your peers?
We’ll sometimes do things for others that we won’t do for ourselves. So, think about how your success could better the lives of those around you
Then, imagine the consequences of not setting any goals. Can you accept the regrets that might follow? Would you risk the missed opportunities? Imagine your own funeral. Friends and family surround your casket—what would you want them to say about you?
Stoke a fire within yourself to live up to your aspirations. We only have one life to make it happen. Use this all as fuel.
Once you have an idea of the things you want to manifest in your life, it’s time to start visualizing it. Picture yourself where you want to be. It looks good, doesn’t it? Keep that picture in mind as you make steps towards your ultimate goal.
Keep in mind that as you’re moving forward, that visualization might alter somewhat. Sometimes your goals shift, and sometimes they even change completely. Don’t be afraid to go with the flow if you identify a better path for yourself, but you should always have some kind of image in your head of where you ultimately want to end up.
It can even literally be a picture. You might be more motivated if you have a photo or drawing of yourself achieving your end goal. You can look at that everyday in your office or home or study and think about how sweet the actual moment will be.
If you’re not sure how to start the process of visualization, check out this article: 13 Visualization Techniques to Help You Reach Your Goals.
Meditation can be particularly helpful for visualization as it creates space in your mind for the images that will help you manifest anything. You can also try vision boards if you like to be able to see your goals on a daily basis.
4. Practice the Power of Patience
You’ve heard of the Pareto principle, often called the “80/20” rule. I estimate that 20% of success is smart goal-setting and 80% is execution. Nothing beats relentless action directed at the right target. But there’s one other crucial, yet overlooked trait: patience.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” —Bill Gates
Great things take time. But most people are overly patient in the short term and impatient in the long term. They work at a relaxed pace each day, yet complain and deflect blame when they’re not an overnight success.
Take common personal goals: pivoting careers, getting out of debt, or losing a lot of weight. It will take most people a year or two to reach these goals if they remain disciplined.
Let’s look at the three scenarios:
- Failure #1 — She absorbs a lot of knowledge but never acts on it (super common).
- Failure #2 — She starts a new venture with massive enthusiasm, only to fizzle out when adversity or boredom strikes.
- Success — She decides which goals to pursue, plans (but doesn’t overthink), then works on the plan every day.
The successful person is more like the tortoise than the hare in the classic fable. They’re like the woodpecker that whacks the same tree thousands of times until dinner is ready.
5. Take Action
Once you have a clear image in your head of what you want and where you’re going, it’s time to start working toward it. This may require admitting to yourself that you’re not waiting for the right moment, you’re just stalling.
The longer you think about taking on a big task without committing to it, the scarier it becomes to get the project off the ground. Even if you don’t know what the best first step is, you need to hurry up and get on that ladder! It might be a shaky climb at first, but you’ll eventually get to the top if you persevere and just keep moving.
Do your best not to look at it as one big step or project. Break it down into smaller tasks that feel manageable. For example, if you want to get a new job in an area very different from where you are now, the steps may look like this:
- Go back to school for a new degree or certificate OR complete free online courses to develop skills
- Create an impressive, polished resume
- Look for job openings in the area of interest
- Apply to as many jobs as possible
- Accept the job offer that best aligns with your goals and values
6. Use Habits to Trump Motivation
Legendary investor Ray Dalio wrote in “Principles: Life and Work” that successful people flourish and manifest their dreams by doing two critical things well:
A. Identify the Most Important Activities Related to the Goals
When approaching a problem, spend some time upfront framing it. Ask yourself: what would it look like if this were easy? Which 20% of activities generate 80% of the results?
If I were researching how to lose weight, I’d find that 3500 calories equal one pound. So, I could lose a pound per week by working out ~10 hours a week or by cutting out soda and sugary drinks. Clearly, diet is the key factor.
In sales prospecting or job searches, the root cause of failure is an insufficient pipeline. They aren’t reaching out to enough prospective customers or employers to get results. Better objection handling or follow-up may move the needle a bit, but it’s not the primary factor.
B. Repeat These Activities Every Day
Once you’ve identified the critical activities for your goals, you need to convert them into habits. This is key if you want to manifest your dreams.
For example, if I were to write a novel by the end of the year, I could write 300 words per day. That takes an average writer around twenty minutes each day. In that case, I would create a schedule for the day, with a time block dedicated to that activity. I would schedule this time first thing in the morning.
Don’t wait until you’re distracted or tired. Treat this time as sacred—nothing short of an emergency should get in the way.
7. Sustain It in the Long Run
People often ask: how do I sustain motivation for months and years? Habits are powerful because they reduce the need for constant motivation. Your goal becomes a lifestyle—a permanent fixture of your days.
Imagine placing your goals on autopilot. The critical takeaway: convert your critical success activities into repeatable habits. It’s easier when you sustain a high level of motivation. Do this with rewards to reinforce the habit. Savor a gourmet coffee after finishing a chapter, or enjoy a cheat meal after moving the scales. These treats help associate progress with pleasure in your mind.
Another great tip is to keep your goals “in front of you”. Put a picture of your dream home in your bathroom, or place a replica of your dream car on your nightstand. These will remind you of what you’re chasing after.
8. You Win More as a Team
The biggest mistake I made on my journey from mess to success is trying to go it alone. Don’t hesitate to recruit others on your path to achievement.
An accountability partner can be a great way to motivate you not to quit. Join clubs with people that share similar goals. Talk to those that have already accomplished what you want. Experts in a domain often have insider tips that speed up your progress.
Seeing someone who’s achieved your goal will increase your confidence that you can do the same. Scientists have researched the “mirror neurons” in our brains that reflect the behavior of someone who is being observed. If we see someone do something, our brains mirror the action, as though we can see ourselves doing it.
Have you ever joined a workout class or a hobby club and found that you could do something you never considered? We tend to step up our game to the level of our peers.
Most important of all, remember that your journey to success doesn’t have to be a lonely one. It’s more fun and fulfilling when you experience it with others. Best of luck in everything you do.
9. Cultivate Gratitude
Recognize what you have and try to cultivate a sense of gratitude around it. Express your gratitude by not taking the gifts you have been given for granted. If you’re reading this, you probably have opportunities available to you that billions of people don’t, so make the most out of them.
Mementos like your wedding ring or your smartphone or even your pair of shoes should be a constant reminder that you should be doing more to make the best out of your life. Not everyone has a chance to learn how to manifest anything like you do. Remember that, and pursue your dreams in full force.
Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret, one of the most popular books on the law of attraction, discusses gratitude quite a bit. She says:
“Be grateful for what you have now. As you begin to think about all the things in your life you are grateful for, you will be amazed at the never ending thoughts that come back to you of more things to be grateful for. You have to make a start, and then the law of attraction will receive those grateful thoughts and give you more just like them.”
Feeling grateful for things you have will naturally bring you more things you want. Sometimes striving isn’t the best option; sometimes it’s better to simply stop and feel amazed at how much your life has already offered you.
If gratitude doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t worry! Many people have trouble with this as we’re living in a fast-paced world that values constant movement as opposed to taking a breath and just feeling grateful for what we have. You can try starting a gratitude journal to shift your thoughts naturally toward gratitude.
To manifest your dreams, you have to put in the work and start taking action. Your dreams will stay as dreams if you don’t act on them. Start with these 6 actionable ways to manifest your dream to turn your life around for the better.
|||^||The Law of Attraction: Manifestation Guide: How To Manifest Anything You Want In 24hrs|
|||^||Harvard Business Review: Visualizations That Really Work|
|||^||Association for Psychological Science: Mirror Neurons: How We Reflect on Behavior|
|||^||Rhonda Byrne: The Secret|
|||^||The Journal of Positive Psychology: Gratitude and health: An updated review|