In the plethora of information available on the internet, finding concrete and user-friendly information on how to make a life change or successfully work towards a new goal can be overwhelming. The good news is that working towards your intentions does not have to be so overwhelming, provided one knows where to start and understands which practices can increase the likelihood of success.
For instance, understanding and implementing the practice of manifesting can be a helpful approach in achieving what you want most. Manifesting can help individuals identify what they desire most, shift their efforts towards that goal, and help make what they want a reality.
If you have never heard of the word “manifesting” before, it means attracting or visualizing what you desire most to help make it become a reality. If this idea of manifesting, or attracting what you most want, through positive thinking and visualization seems too freethinking or unconventional, another way to define this is, “setting and achieving personal goals through focused attention, full sensory visualization and deliberation”.
Regardless of the definition that helps you to connect to this idea, there are practical steps to plan and achieve your goals. It is important to mention that manifesting is a practice and does require a level of focus and commitment outside of simply thinking a thought once and expecting everything to work out exactly as envisioned.
Listed below is how you can begin to manifest your goals through six practical steps: The concepts behind this blog post are an important facet of the NASM Welllness coach course.
How to Manifest in 6 steps
#1 Identify a situation you care deeply about
To successfully manifest a goal, it is important to identify a change or situation that you care deeply about or would like to have in your life. This is like what is recommended when an individual self-chooses to change behavior. In behavior change, individuals only choose to change their behavior if the pros of changing outweigh the cons of staying the same while being driven by the desire to make the change.
Similarly, choosing something to manifest must be something a person feels connected and motivated about. If not, the level of commitment and cognitive attention required to successfully manifest an outcome would not be sufficient.
Questions to ask to reflect on this first step:
- What is the one thing that I most want in life right now?
- How would my life improve or what would be like if this change occurred?
- What is it about this situation that is most appealing to me?
#2 Continue to refine the details
After identifying the focus area, it is important to envision more details about this situation to help narrow down and continue refining the goal. To do this, you might write down more specifics in a journal, visualize additional details during meditation, or even create a vision board with the particulars of what you hope to cultivate.
The more attention and focus you give to narrowing down/ specifying the details, the more successful the manifestation might be. Furthermore, it is important to think about how you would feel if this were to be successful. Write down how you would feel if this situation were to occur. The more you can identify the details and connect these details to an emotional response, the more aligned the manifestation will be.
It might even be helpful to set a SMART goal related to the first step towards this goal. To set a SMART goal, you want your goal to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time specific. Ask yourself the following questions as you self-reflect:
- What is the first step I can take in this direction?
- What would success look like if I take this first step?
- When or how often would I be meeting my goal?
#3 Be mindful to self-talk and stay attentive
Once you identify the goal, it is important to stay mindful of self-talk and implement deliberate attention practices to stay committed to this outcome. In other words, make sure your self-talk support what is being manifested. For example, if you say you want one thing, and say the opposite to yourself daily, this inconsistency does not aid well to this practice of manifesting.
There are various ways to make sure that you stay consistent. First, watch out for negative or nonproductive self-talk throughout the day. If you notice a thought that does not help you move in the direction you want, practice reframing the thought.
For example, if you tell yourself, you cannot do what you set out to do, reframe that instantly with, “I can do what I set out to do.” Additionally, consider writing affirmations that you repeat to yourself multiple times a day to stay attentive to what you want to manifest. It is recommended to write an affirmation with the words “I am” at the beginning of the sentence because this makes the thought and affirmation positive and present-focused.
Lastly, you might even consider utilizing a meditation practice with your attention on what you hope to cultivate.
There is no one-size-fits-all here, and it is important to remember that any of these recommended practices take time. These are all practices that need to be reinforced regularly with commitment.
#4 Build and cultivate self-efficacy
Self-efficacy is a personal belief that one can make a change and successfully reach personal goals. If a person has low self-efficacy, this can significantly derail even the most personal manifestations. That said, it is important to build up one’s self-efficacy, or belief in one’s abilities to create change, to successfully manifest a goal or intention.
This is easier said than done but can be a critical step in the manifestation process. So how does one go about believing in themselves more? This is an extension of step two. Firstly, utilize positive self-talk, affirmations, journaling, and cognitive reframing regularly. Secondly, ask yourself the following questions and remember the answers to these questions whenever self-doubt or insecurities pop up.
- What is an example of a time when you successfully met a goal?
- What did you do that led to this success?
- What would occur if you permitted yourself to believe in yourself?
Another way to build and cultivate self-efficacy is to use visualization and sensory practices to help you feel more confident. In other words, close your eyes and imagine you are successful with what you most desire. Feel and visualize what you would feel, smell, hear when the situation would occur. Allow yourself to tap into this sensory experience. This is another tool that can help you manifest in addition to helping to build self-efficacy.
#5 Set Environmental cues and accountability partners
To ensure a successful behavioral change, it is important to build accountability and environmental support because it is easy to get busy with daily responsibilities and lose sight of personal goals. The same thing is true with the practice of manifestation. That said, it is important to set environmental support and accountability partners.
Environmental cues could be post-it notes on the kitchen fridge or reminders on a work computer. Environmental cues and reminders can be anything that helps remind you of what you are trying to manifest and helps you keep the idea at the top of your mind. Furthermore, identify who in your life might be an accountability partner. In order words, who will be your cheerleader and help reinforce what you are trying to achieve?
Accountability partners could be close loved ones or might even be support groups or groups outside of your close network.
#6 Track Your Progress and celebrate success
Tracking progress along the way is another way to stay accountable and committed to the manifestation. In all behavioral changes, tracking down a habit each day can keep an individual stay focused and consistent on that change.
The same thing is true with the practice of manifestation. Track each day’s efforts and celebrate success along the way. For example, if you had a day where your self-talk aligned well with what you are trying to manifest, celebrate that. If you practiced visualization or used an affirmation to stay focused, track that. Remember to stay positive and cultivate feel-good emotions about the successes along the way as you track progress. That positive emotion will continue to help attract more positivity as you progress forward.
On a similar note, the more you can stay focused on the process rather than the outcome, the more successful the manifestation can be. Often, if individuals focus too much on outcome goals, and that’s all they think about, it can lead to negative self-talk and often lead to missed opportunities to see progress and celebrate successes.
For example, if someone’s outcome goal was to lose 10 pounds, and they were only focused on the number on the scale, they might miss that they cut back on processed food and have been drinking more water. By only focusing on the number, they might miss out on the progress and steps that they are successfully implementing along the way.
It is important to stay present as you implement the practice of manifesting. As is alluded to with some of the other steps, it is important to stay present with thoughts, feelings, and personal beliefs. Furthermore, it is important to stay present to the progress along the way to continue to stay committed, positive, and empowered. Manifestation is a journey and takes presence and mindfulness to create the desired results.
Looking at Manifestation From a New Angle
As is true with many things in life, there are often both pros and cons to a specific situation or practice. The same thing is true with manifestation. The pros to this technique are that it can increase self-efficacy and confidence, lead to feeling good emotions, and often help individuals feel autonomous and empowered.
The cons of practicing manifestation are that there may be situations outside of one’s control. Manifestation is not a “magic genie in a bottle” or “quick fix” and understanding this prevents false expectations. Everything that a person tries to manifest might not always occur, but oftentimes, it can significantly help a person attract what they deeply want. It is important to remember that even if a manifestation does not occur, there may be a reason for it.
Often, the most successful manifestations are ones that are aligned and fit the bigger picture that we might not always have a clear understanding of. It is important to remember to be open-minded if outcomes do not align the way we think they should. Sometimes situations can align better than a person can even imagine during the planning process.
The last thing that is important to mention is that manifestation is different than mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice of staying aware of what you are experiencing in the present moment in a non-judgmental way while keeping a beginner’s mind.
Often, it is recommended to let go and practice patience while not striving towards a particular outcome. Also, while practicing mindfulness, a person is remaining aware of their internal state without trying to shape thoughts, feelings, or control what the mind thinks about. This is very different than the practice of manifestation where a person actively identifies a goal or manifestation, deliberately attends to specific thoughts, visualizations, and emotions, and practices techniques that help stay focused on those aspects.
Wrapping Things Up
Manifestation is a very active process where an individual strives towards a specific outcome. Although mindfulness can be a helpful tool in identifying what you want most, they are separate practices altogether.
Manifestation is a helpful goal-setting practice that can lead to successful outcomes, and there are practical steps to begin and build proficiency with this practice. Overall, this practice can increase an individual’s self-efficacy, inner understanding, and awareness, and help build commitment towards personal goals.