What do you think of when you hear the word “manifestation”? Are you all in and getting your vision board supplies ready to go, or are you cringing at the woo-woo ridiculousness of this theory?
I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Yes, envision this beautiful, full, robust, vibrant life, and also make sure you have a plan to take action, that you’re implementing on what you’re dreaming and thinking and manifesting.
Overall, I really think our society as a whole is exhausted by hustle culture and the idea that to be successful, you have to wake up earlier and work 24/7 and push yourself harder and harder to get the life you desire. To me, it’s more about taking small but consistent steps toward the RIGHT things. But how do we know what the right things are? Well, that’s where manifestation, and specifically visualization, comes in.
With this episode, I want to show you how I use visualization AND goal-setting in order to reach the life I picture for myself. Plus, I’m simplifying all of this dream-life go-getting with a 3-step process to manifesting and taking action toward your juiciest, loveliest goals.
Buckle up, because we’re going deep into the woo, but we’re also going to look at tangible ways to step up, do the work in a way that doesn’t involve 5 am wakeups and stressful schedules, and make your dreamiest visions a reality.
What is Manifestation?
If you’ve ever read “The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction” then you’re already familiar with the idea of manifestation. At its core, manifestation is simply taking our ideas and turning them into reality. THAT is something I think we can all get behind, but many experts in psychology and neuroscience claim that the notion of manifestation in “The Secret” and “The Law of Attraction” – the notion that says you can get whatever you want as long as you believe in it hard enough – is more pseudoscience than reality.
If manifestation really worked in that way, we’d all be chanting “I will make a million dollars by next week” and doing happy dances… or booking a private jet to Jamaica… when the money magically hit our bank accounts. But alas, that sort of manifestation isn’t exactly MY jam, in that I don’t necessarily believe that whatever we say out loud and repeat in our minds automatically becomes reality without any involvement on our end.
I believe in visualizing a picture of the life we want and getting ultra-specific in what that looks like: where we live, the type of home we have, our family, our daily routines, our income, our work life, our relationships, our free time… all of it.
What Do You Want?
Most of us have a GENERAL idea of what we want: maybe a couple kids, a career you at least semi-enjoy, income that provides security for now and the future, the ability to take a vacation every once in a while. And we for sure know what we want to FEEL: Happiness, contentment, freedom, peace, support, growth, or something along those lines, I’m guessing. But we don’t have a specific, tangible picture of all of the subtleties like the dollar amount of money we want to make or the way your dream home looks or what your ideal family unit is like.
I believe in getting concrete about your goals and putting down allllll of the nitty-gritty details in writing. A really helpful way to do this is to look at the categories of your life like they’re buckets: career, finances, relationships/family, home, health, spirituality, and personal growth. First write down a picture of what you desire long-term for each of those buckets, and don’t be afraid to get as specific as humanly possible. And then use SMART goals to create a vision for what you want out of each of those buckets on a shorter-term timeline.
I have a really awesome episode on the science behind manifestation with neuroscientist and MD, Dr. Tara Swart, where she talks about how you can’t JUST visualize, you have to actually take steps and create an action plan toward your goal. She explained that visualization actually primes the brain to think in more aspirational ways and even expands the possibility for what we are able to accomplish by simply allowing our minds to go there and consider new levels of what’s possible. AND, she talks about how it’s up to us to determine the necessary actions that will keep our vision from remaining a mere fantasy and that instead allows us to bring it to reality.
The Right Woo for You
I think one of the most important things you can do is evaluate if the woo you’re chasing is the RIGHT woo for you… Is the vision you’re chasing the right vision for you? Is it the right time? Is it the right season? Or is it something you think you should be doing, achieving, or going for based on outside opinions or society saying so? Are you chasing your own vision of happiness or someone else’s?
Nowadays we’re so inundated with so many different visuals and influences in life from social media to Pinterest to the media, and it’s really easy for our visions to get clouded by what we see and what we’re consuming. So I think it’s super important when you’re visualizing your life to really ask yourself if this is the life YOU want? Does it make sense for you? Is it something that’s really possible for you? And then, how are you going to start implementing the work? And finally, how can you make sure the work fits into your life and is aligned with your vision?
In what ways can you work toward your vision that don’t feel like super heavy, super time-consuming lifts or massively overwhelming? It might be something as little as 5 or 10 or 15 minutes a day, or maybe it’s an hour once a week or every other week. I can honestly look back at some of my BIGGEST life changes and pinpoint the small daily or weekly actions that brought me there rather than trying to overhaul my entire life and schedule to make a change. Honestly, trying to change a ton of pieces of your life at once isn’t sustainable anyway and often leads to stress and avoidance rather than action and abundance.
Think about those buckets, those categories of your life we talked about earlier. Create a clear vision on what you want each of those to look like and feel like, and by when. Get quiet and really consider what you hope, dream, and desire for yourself… What feels warm and good when you think about your future? What is your ideal day-to-day like? What is your family life, career, health, and spiritual posture like? Get as specific as possible and write it ALL down, as ridiculous or far-fetched as some of it may feel.
Micro-Step Action Plan
I think the part about both manifestation AND goal-setting that trips people up is the path to getting there… the actual roadmap to achieving what you want. I think that’s why diehard manifestors want so badly to believe that if they think it hard enough, it will come true. AND, there is a small bit of truth to that. Researchers have found that people who are happy and more optimistic generally do attract more opportunities, have better relationships, and seem to achieve their goals or manifestations with more ease… Meaning, that if you tend to lean toward believing you’ll reach your goals rather than believing you won’t, you actually do have better chances of getting there. And, that mindset makes it easier to want to take action toward your dreams, too.
It comes down to this: manifestation is two-fold. You have to visualize and believe you can do something, and then you need a plan to get there. My two cents is that your plan doesn’t need to be intricate or complicated. It just needs to be consistent, small steps toward your goal that you can feasibly stick to until you get there.
Visualize Each Day
For me, I have been visualizing feeling energetic during my book launch. But it doesn’t mean we can just think about it once and then hope it comes true. Whether you spend time in prayer or meditation every day, or you simply have a few short minutes to yourself laying in bed before starting another full day, try to spend time each day focusing on what you envision and want for your life, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. Breathe deeply, think about the life you desire, and ask yourself what small actions you can take today to get yourself a little closer to it.
I honestly think the mix of these two principles—manifestation AND goal-setting—can get you so much farther than one or the other on its own. It’s allowing yourself to dream and visualize and get specific, and it’s letting you be in the driver’s seat to get yourself there. It’s getting crystal clear on what you want out of life, and it’s creating a simple plan of action that allows you to reach that vision on your own terms and timeline, without the hustle or overwhelm or stress. It’s leaning into the woo AND the work, and honestly it’s the best happy medium I can think of for creating the life and futures we actually, really want for ourselves.