Overcoming Lack of Motivation in 3 Ways: Before it Becomes Habitual

“Small things — if not corrected — become big things, always.” — Benjamin Hardy

I hadn’t written a single article in over two weeks.

I hadn’t sent an email to my subscriber list in the same amount of time.

My Dad had started asking me why he hadn’t seen my articles pop up in his Medium feed.

You see, I had just returned to Colorado after living in Costa Rica for 3 months. I went there to launch my writing career. But I hit a lag in my motivation a week before I left the beach.

I had a lot going through my mind:

  • Do I apply for a job when I get home?

  • What type of course should I launch?

  • Am I even good enough to be doing this stuff?

  • Am I a huge fraud?

  • Was this experience a waste or did I actually change my life?

You know. . .typical fear monger stuff.

So while my fear was skipping merrily about my head, I stopped writing. I stopped communicating with my fans. I stopped iterating. I froze.

When I arrived in Colorado (and actually froze, because the temperature difference between Costa Rica and the Rockies is SIGNIFICANT), I wasn’t sure what to do with myself.

I was at the point of no return, where I was either going to fully commit to this dream or quietly slip out the back before too many people noticed me.

For a few days there, I wavered.

But here’s what I did to pull myself out of this temporary lag in motivation and productivity BEFORE it turned into a critical failure.

1. I checked in with a mentor

This was the turning point for me. Aram Rasa Taghavi, a fellow writer on Medium, reached out to schedule a call.

Aram and I were in the same writing course together, and he was doing incredible work, publishing valuable articles daily, and was increasing his followers and subscribers significantly.

I was a bit ashamed taking the call, I felt like a fraud and was embarrassed about my lack of productivity in the recent weeks.

But I jumped on anyways, and was vulnerable and honest about where I was.

I could have easily put up a shield and pretended I was further along than I was, and that everything was fine in my neck of the woods. But it wasn’t and I’ve learned that being honest and vulnerable is the only way to live.

So I was straightforward. When he asked I told him I was thinking about going in other directions (maybe a podcast?), and that I had slacked off and hadn’t reached out to my subscribers in weeks.

He quickly reminded me of something I knew, but hadn’t been practicing: stick with it, just write and publish and don’t EVER leave your list hanging for weeks.

It was simple, really. He reminded me to do the thing I set out to do (write), do it well and do it often and don’t neglect the people who were willing to give me their email address.

It’s business 101. Keep it simple, and take care of your people.

I had gotten to a place where I was dreaming up different ventures and ideas because I was tired of pushing forward on the thing I started out with.

I hadn’t given it enough time and consistent effort to see results, so I was doing what most people do: I was questioning myself and quitting before I had even really tried.

This is mistake #1: Don’t stop pushing when it gets hard, or when the fear takes over and you’re wondering if it’s worth it. Stay committed, stay the course.

Most people quit. The average person stops right before they make serious headway. It only takes a little more effort than the average person is willing to make in order to reach the top.

It took a conversation with a peer-turned-mentor to keep me going. Because he was executing and seeing results, I respected his input, and he motivated me to keep going.

Make friends with people that are a few steps ahead of you so you have someone to chase and so you have people that have been where you’ve been recently to talk to.

And remember to choose these people wisely: don’t take advice from anyone you aren’t willing to trade places with.

2. I got plugged into my routines

“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition” — W.H.Auden

The point of having routines is to create circumstances that force your hand into action.

No matter what, we all have routines in place. Whether your routines are forcing you to be productive or motivated to complete your work is another story.

This distinction — whether your routines are bringing you closer to your success, or further away — is what separates the dreamers from doers.

When I arrived back home to Colorado, I was in a situation where I needed to recreate my habits and routines. I didn’t have a job and was trying to continue launching my writing career and monetizing.

I had a clean slate to start from. Thankfully, I had spent the last 3 months building habits that force me to write, be creative, and plug into my intuition so I can be effective in my work.

So when I hit this lag point, I realized I wasn’t sticking with the routines that force me be productive.

  • I wasn’t journaling effectively

  • I wasn’t really concentrating during meditation, and I wasn’t doing my practice consistently

  • I hadn’t established a daily writing goal

  • I didn’t really have a vision of what my next step was, nor did I make a daily check list to accomplish those things

All of these routines, when used correctly, force me to be productive and continue writing and building my business.

When I’m not using them, they’re useless and I flounder.

So I got clear again, and wrote out in detail what my priorities were every day. I wrote out an idiot-proof list of what things I was going to do every morning before I started work. I set my alarm for 5am and I got out of bed ready to do work every morning (without hitting snooze).

Mistake #2: Don’t assume you’ll be successful with anything without establishing a routine that makes it fool proof to complete what needs to get done.

We are easily distracted and taken off course. Establish the right routines that make it nearly impossible to fail or not do work.

It took realizing that I was throwing my days away because I hadn’t established a list of priorities and a routine that forced me to do the work. So my momentum and productivity was failing.

As soon as I recognized this, I was able to turn it around and reestablish the routines I know make me more productive and successful.

3. I forced daily accountability

Accountability is one of the top reasons people fail at their New Years Resolutions. It’s an incredibly effective tool to make sure you actually follow through with your goals.

But it can be a difficult thing to establish. When I returned from Costa Rica I wasn’t sure if I should get a full time job.

I don’t have a secret trust fund. My husband doesn’t make enough money to support us on his salary alone. I have to contribute.

I got scared, and ended up applying for a position that popped up in my Facebook news feed. But I haven’t heard back and I don’t expect to.

This created a very real form of accountability. I’m making just enough money to get by on a few odd jobs, but my life is kind of in a stand still until I start making a steady source of income.

In making the decision to not get a full time job, I’m suddenly accountable to myself to follow through with my goals.

I doubled down on the accountability by committing to writing one article per day for the entire month of January.

Mistake #3: Don’t think that simply making a choice to do something will force your success. Create checks that hold you accountable to finishing what you started.

The best kind of routines are those that have ingrained accountability.

I committed publicly, within a think tank group, to write one article per day. This is forcing me to act on the decision I made to become a successful writer and monetize my business.

The very important layer of accountability on top of that is the one in which I am living a life of bare minimum until I am able to make an income from my business. This is a forced circumstance in which I must act and I must follow through in order to succeed.

Conclusion

I have experienced these lags hundreds of times before, and will likely experience them again. I know that they are dangerous and potentially lethal to dreams.

I have kissed away my own success when I allowed the lag to turn into a habit.

But I have created circumstances in which I have no other choice but to move forward.

I have created checks and balances to keep executing. I am holding myself accountable.

AND THAT has made all the difference.

Take Action!

Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇

Click here to get the Feel > Do > Be exercise now!


9 Hard Truths You Must Learn to Start Loving Your Life

In the matter of two short years I have gone from a woman suffering the symptoms of being out of touch with her truth and identity, to owning my story and living an authentic life. I’m steadily designing my life and my future, living life on my terms and learning how to make a living doing it.

It is freedom, it is joyous.

Its still hard, I will never stop growing, but my life feels right for the first time in a long time.

These are 9 truths I had to learn before I was able to start living a life I love.

1. You are Ready to Be and Have Whatever You Want, Right Now

I had to let go of the idea that I needed to be thinner, smarter, better, and more perfect before I decided to start living the way I wanted to. I decided to be happy, and be the woman I wanted to be before anyone gave me permission or invited me to do so.

I just started where I was, with what I had: thick thighs, empty bank account and imperfect life. When we own our story we are freed by it.

2. Truth, Identity and Authenticity is a Path, Not a Destination

When I realized I didn’t know who I was, what I stood for, or what I wanted to be in this life (after more than one identity crisis), I was horrified that I didn’t know my truth, and didn’t know how to live authentically.

I only recently realized that truth, identity and authenticity is a process, it is not a final destination. I would look at businesses and people who had made up their minds, who were standing for something and being bold and authentic, and I would compare them to myself, a woman who stood for very little, and didn’t know what was authentic to me.

When I understood truth #1, I gave myself permission to start living without having it all figured out. It was only recently that I realized my truth, my identity and authenticity is a process, not something I was ever going to arrive to.

I just have to keep doing, to keep speaking and living in ways that feel right to me at the time, and that is how I live truthfully and authentically. My identity is found in the doing, it is not a fixed point.

I am always changing, and thus my truth and identity will always change. I may become a hypocrite. I may change my mind. But it’s fine, because that is the process.

Identity therefore is an action, we are what we do, not what we think we’ll do.

3. When We Live Based on What We ‘Should’ Be Doing, We Will Always Be Chasing

There is a place many people arrive to where every day is spent doing what must be done, what should be done. We are simply living our to-do lists and then collapsing on the couch, exhausted.

When I decided to slow down, and do things for me, instead of doing things because I should be doing them, I started living my life on my terms. I removed myself from the rat race, and put myself in my own lane.

It was only after I started living for myself did I realize that this is the #1 key to living an authentically and to becoming exceptional in life and in business.

When I stopped living for everything I “should” be doing, I stopped paying attention to what others were doing and realized that most of our “shoulds” are wrapped up in competing and keeping up with other people. They are not authentic to ourselves.

Living from a place of “shoulds” keeps us chasing after other people, reacting to what the competition is doing and keeps us living outside of truth.

4. My Identity Isn’t Fixed

Many people believe that who they are right now is who they must be. This is simply not true, you are not required to be who you were yesterday or even 5 minutes ago.

When I finally gave up alcohol, my behavior proved to me that just because I once considered myself a “drinker” did not mean I had to be for the rest of my life.

What we repeatedly do is who we are. Therefore, our behavior and our actions dictate our identity, not the other way around.

So start behaving as the person you want to become behaves, and your identity will follow.

5. We Must Practice Self-Reliance

Being self-reliant is the only way to start living an authentic and truthful life, but we must practice self-reliance every day. It is a muscle that needs training.

When I decided to travel to Costa Rica for 3 months alone, without my husband, I was practicing self-reliance. It taught me that I can do hard things alone, that I can survive without my loved ones (though difficult and less enjoyable), and that I can make decisions for myself.

We must practice self-reliance in the comfort of our daily lives because there will be a time when we will have to rely on ourselves in difficult times. If we don’t practice self-reliance daily, we will flounder in the tough situations.

6. I am NOT My Emotions

Gaining a meditation practice forced me to become the observer to my own ego and my emotional reactions. This gave me incredible insights into who I am and how I was living from a place of lack.

It made me realize that I am not my emotional reactions to life and people. I am the observer of my emotional reactions. This is one of the most powerful distinctions we can make. It allows us to own our emotional reactions and understand ourselves on a completely different level.

It forced me to take responsibility for myself, to own my truth and learn to speak it.

7. Speaking My Truth is What Sets Me Apart

I was once scared of my story and the ugly parts of my truth. I was living my life passive-aggressively. I would react to the world and then stuff down my emotions and carry on.

When I learned to finally own my truth, and recognize my emotional reactions as a sign to people and situations not lining up to my truth, I gave myself freedom. I gave myself the gift of choosing how I wanted my life to feel every day.

There is power in saying ‘no, this doesn’t line up with my truth’ and then walking away from the people and situations that no longer serve your truth. We need more people willing to speak up for their truth, and willing to own their story.

Speaking our truth is the only thing that has changed the world. Vulnerably sharing our truth with the world gives other the power to speak their truth.

This is your invitation to start speaking yours.

8. Owning Your Story is the Surest Way to Control the Ending

I had to learn to own where I had been, and the person I am in order to start living a more fulfilling and happy life. When I stepped into my story, this forced my hand, and effectively eliminated people and situations that weren’t moving me forward.

I had to realize that I will not make everyone happy, and that not every situation (even the ones I wanted), was meant for me in order to find the people and life that are.

We write a better ending for our story when we decide to start being the heroine or hero of our own.

9. Deciding How I Want My Life to Feel Everyday is How I Got the Life I Wanted

No amount of goal setting, or vision boarding was getting me a life I wanted. My life still felt unfulfilling after I had achieved the goals and got the job, or the promotion, or whatever.

I was running in goal setting circles.

It was only when I got clear on how I wanted my life to feel every day, that I was able to actually get a life that meant something to me. After I figured out I wanted my life to feel, I was able to construct a career that was actually fulfilling because it’s authentic to me.

Conclusion

Life is a moving target. It is a process of trial and error, growth and setbacks.

It is not a destination.

You will grow, you will change, you will make declarations that were once your truth and that now make you shudder.

You will be a hypocrite. You will be wrong.

But if you are making decisions from a place of your truth, as stands right now, you will walk the path you are meant to walk.

And that is the point.

Take Action!

Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇

Click here to get the Feel > Do > Be exercise now!

This is How You Save Your Day When it Gets Away From You

Your alarm buzzes, you hit snooze — it was another late night.

Fifteen minutes passes in what feels like 5, and your alarm buzzes again.

You hit snooze, roll over and fall back to sleep.

By the 3rd alarm you check the clock and you barely have enough time to shower. Scrambling out of the covers, you rush into the bathroom and turn the faucet.

Later, after getting to work late and barely ducking the boss, you get into your email and — surprise! — a full box of mostly useless chatter and emails starting with “sorry for my late reply.”

The day passes in a blur, you’re rushing, you feel frazzled and watch each priority on your list get bumped down as you go through the day putting out fires.

Eventually when you get home, exhausted and half-starved because you’ve been surviving off gluten-free muffins and cold brew, you flop onto the couch and hop into Instagram and Facebook.

Suddenly its midnight, your brain is fried from the constant stream of TV and Facebook stalking, and you crawl to bed. Once you finally fall asleep, you toss and turn until that damn alarm sounds.

Rinse and Repeat.

Sound familiar?

As Lemony Snicket says:

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”

If your morning starts in a reactive and frazzled state, where you’re rushing from one fire to the next, I can almost guarantee the rest of your day will be like that.

It’s almost like you have to start from scratch to recover from a bad morning.

Over the years, I’ve compiled a few tricks to make sure your day stays on track, and to get it back if you’ve lost it and are waving the white flag.

Morning

“Morning not only forgives, it forgets.” –Marty Rubin

1. DON’T SNOOZE.

For the love of peanuts, this is almost the most important piece to the puzzle. Not only does it piss off your partner (looking at you hubby), it starts creating a habit of failure.

By that, I mean, when we repeatedly do something, like say we’re going to wake up at a certain time, and then we break that goal every morning, you start creating a habit of failing, of being lax, of not following through.

This type of behavior oozes into the rest of your life, and you find yourself not following through on more important things.

2. Give Yourself an Hour of YOU Time

Set your alarm for at least an hour before you have to walk out the door, and don’t snooze. Use this time to:

  • Workout

  • Meditate

  • Journal

  • Shower

  • Eat a real breakfast

  • Read an actual book

  • Do something creative (paint, draw, take photos)

  • Fix yourself lunch

  • Call your mom

  • Paint your nails

  • Pick out a great outfit that makes you feel like a damn Queen (or King)

When you give yourself time in the morning you are loving yourself. You are respecting yourself. If you don’t love and respect yourself regularly, you tend to allow other people to not love and respect you either.

These things go hand-in-hand.

3. DON’T Get on Social Media

When you immediately get on social media, or check your email and notifications, you put yourself at the mercy of other people and their agendas. You put yourself into an emotionally reactive state, scrolling through what other people are doing with their lives.

Your ego loves to compare yourself to other people.

When we do this first thing in the morning, it can hijack our whole day, putting us into a negative frame of mind.

And, when you’re not scrolling, you have more time to do things that actually make you happy and make your life better (like the things in #2).

During the Day

“It’s never too late to change your life for the better. You don’t have to take huge steps to change your life. Making even the smallest changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to your life.” — Roy T. Bennett

1. Listen to Your Emotions

Practice observing your emotions and reactions throughout the day. Are there certain people or situations that always make you crazy/stressed/anxious/upset?

Are there certain things you wish you could spend all day doing? Are there certain people that give you energy, and make you excited to live your life?

Pay attention to these things so you can start minimizing the things that make you crazy, and start maximizing the things that bring you joy or bring you closer to your highest self.

2. Set Boundaries

Too often I see people rushing around putting out every fire, answering every call, and every email. Their day isn’t theirs, instead it’s a constant reaction to what other people need.

And let me tell you, if people know you’ll be there, they will need a lot.

Learn to start setting boundaries, and saying no to things you know you don’t have time for, or that you know will make your life feel miserable.

There are a million things in any given day just begging for your attention. If you try to pay attention and give your energy to all of it, you will NEVER live a life that you want or that you create.

You only have 24 hours in a day, make sure some of that time is blocked off for you, mmkay?

3. Enjoy Your Lunch

And stop eating at your desk if you can. If you can only eat at your desk, don’t work and stay off social media. Dedicate your time eating to actually eating and paying attention to the food that’s nourishing your body.

It’s not only healthier:

  • It helps you pay attention to how much you’re eating, and you’re less likely to overeat

  • It forces you to sit and eat, instead of starving all day and then binging on the first thing in sight (which is usually sugary and not healthy)

But it also helps you practice boundary setting with the person that needs it the most: you. When you make yourself sit down and enjoy a good lunch, without distraction, you respect yourself and your boundaries.

Win/Win.

Nighttime:

1. Journal

Where in your day did you kick ass? Where in your day did you let your boundaries slip?

When did you feel your absolute best? Who/What makes you feel like you want to smash your face on the wall?

Start there, then:

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” — Thomas Edison.

Write out specific goals you want to accomplish, and write them in real time, as if you’ve already accomplished them. For instance, during my 30 days of sobriety, and when I was trying to kick my bulimia I wrote:

  • I am sober

  • I do not binge and purge

I have no doubt this habit helped me stay sober whereas I failed in the past, and it’s training my subconscious that I am not bulimic, and I do not binge.

2. Don’t look at screens at least 1 hour before bed

Studies have shown that looking at the bright blue and white screens of TVs, smart phones and computers impacts your sleep by preventing your brain from releasing melatonin, which is the hormone that helps you fall asleep.

So if you’re staring at your screen right before bed, it’ll take you longer to fall asleep, and will impact the quality of sleep you have.

Instead, spend that time journaling, reading a real book, being around friends, or doing something creative. Bonus points if you fix yourself lunch for the next day.

3. Write out your priorities and morning routine

This is next level stuff, used by top performers. You see, when you wake up in the morning, the last thing you want to do is NOT have a plan. Otherwise, we end up hitting snooze, rushing out the door, scrolling through our phones or checking email.

Give yourself a list of what your morning routine will look like, and set 3 things you want to accomplish the next day.

My morning routine looks like this:

  • 5am: Wake up

  • 5:15am: Coffee

  • 5:30am: Journaling

  • 5:45am: Gym

  • 7:30am: Shower

  • 7:45am: Meditate

And remember:

“If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.” — Jim Collins

Conclusion

How you start your day dictates how the rest of your day will go.

Once you start off with a frazzled morning, it’s incredibly difficult to rescue the day.

But, if you start doing what’s recommended in this article, you’ll start running your day, instead of letting it run you.

And the side-effects of running your day like this is more freedom, more accomplishment, and more joy.

Can’t beat that.

Take Action!

Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇

Click here to get the Feel > Do > Be exercise now!

Article originally published on Medium

The Law of Attraction is Completely Failing You: 5 Steps to Actually Manifest What You Want

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” — George Lucas

In this article you’ll learn:

  • If you’re only using a vision board to manifest your goals, you’re losing

  • The remaining 4 steps in the process of manifesting your goals (that starts with the vision board and ends with aligning your environment to match your goals)

  • Envisioning your life is only one side of the coin, the other is laser sharp focus on one piece of the dream at a time

Close your eyes and envision the life you want to lead.

Decorate it with things and people that bring you joy.

Punctuate it with trips abroad and awe-inspiring moments.

Feel the emotions you want to experience every day — contentedness, relaxation, contemplation, soul-stirring happiness, simplicity and unhurried delight.

Maybe morning surf sessions in decadently warm waters, or quiet mornings listening to tittering bird song in a mountain cabin while you sip coffee.

This is something I do frequently when hitting the meditation pillow. I invoke the feelings I want to feel from my memories of experiences that have made me feel those ways. Then I let my creative imagination run wild, painting a vivid future life.

It’s a fun exercise, but as I’ve learned, it’s not always as useful as I’d hoped.

I do believe it allows us to lose our inhibition, and dream in much larger ways than we do otherwise, but when it comes to manifesting our dream life, it seems this scatter-shot method isn’t useful.

This kind of creative meditation is really just a point on the map leading to manifestation, there is much more work that needs to be done to actually achieve your dream life. Unfortunately, you can’t just daydream yourself to $150k per year and a cabin in the woods (bummer, I know).

In this article I’m going to break down the road-map of manifestation, and how to take charge of our lives instead of letting dreams stay just that — dreams.

We are bombarded with practical ways to achieve the lives we want — vision boards, goal setting, bullet journals, etc — but these are all just parts that punctuate the journey of manifestation. They are not the end-all-be-all of achieving your goals, but rather pieces to the puzzle.

In this article I’m going to line out the path to manifestation, along with some tools to use at each point.

This article stems from my own personal experience walking through manifesting the life I want, backed with knowledge gained from the likes of Napoleon Hill, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, Gabrielle Bernstein, Benjamin Hardy, Danielle LaPorte, and more.

Step 1: How do you want your life to feel? And what things/experiences allow you to feel that way?

“Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have.” — Danielle LaPorte

Have you ever wished so hard for something — a new car, a different job, a whole new wardrobe — then you got the thing and it didn’t satisfy that itch you thought it would?

This is because we get hijacked into thinking some thing or experience will bring us happiness, but in reality, if we have no idea how we want to feel, you could get a private jet and diamond studded champagne flute and still feel lousy.

So the first step in manifesting the life you want is figuring out how you want to feel every day. This step is so important to me that I created a 10 minute audio workshop to help you figure this piece out, you can get it here.

And remember:

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now” — Zig Ziglar

It’s only after you know how you want to feel every day that you can figure out what things/people/experiences are going to make you feel that way. How do you know this? By living your life and testing the waters and not getting sidetracked on your journey.

For instance, I want to feel freedom to plan my day how I want, I don’t want to be forced to rush off to a job and neglect my morning routine. I want the freedom to make my own choices every day and be spontaneous in my life.

So that means I need to work for myself. Having this knowledge, I can then start building my life and figuring out what career path or business I can create that fits the bill.

I also want to have solitude and access to nature whenever I want. So on the small scale, it means living in a place that I can quickly access nature whenever I want, and on the long term scale, it means buying a cabin in the woods.

First, figure out how you want your life to feel every day, and then figure out what things/careers/experiences/kinds of people allow you to feel that way.

Tools to use:

  • The Feel>Do>Be audio workshop: figure out how you want your life to feel everyday.

  • Creation meditation: Sit quietly and play this meditation music in the background, then let your imagination wander around what you want your life to look and feel like. What things do you imagine? What experiences are you having? Who is with you? Get detailed, then free-write in your journal after, describing all the things you imagined

  • Vision boarding: Once you’ve done your creation meditation, grab a poster board and start clipping photos from magazines, or snapping photos on your phone and getting them printed. Again, be detailed with this and have fun. You want to be able to look at your board every day and have it conjure up the feelings you want to feel. Emotions are powerful tools in manifestation, the more frequently you can feel the ones you want in your daily life, the better.

Step 2: Make a plan of manifestation

“Any ideas, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought” ― Napoleon Hill

You know the moment you finish your vision board, or your 10, 20, 50 year plan and then you set it aside and forget it for years until you’re packing up the house to move, and out behind some dresser falls your big visions for your life? Probably crumpled and bound up with dog hair and dust.

The vision board can be where good dreams go to die, if you let it.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The next step in any good manifestation is the plan. What are the things you want to check off sooner? What things do you have to accomplish before you achieve the end result?

Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to make $150k in a week with nothing to offer, nothing to give the world in exchange for its benjamins. So simply wishing for it, without having anything to give in exchange, probably won’t work.

For the longest time I was stuck at point A, shadowing my eyes and blinking blindly into the horizon, knowing that point B was out there somewhere, but having no idea what that path looked like.

I just knew what I wanted, and I wanted it yesterday, but why couldn’t I get it?

Well, simply, I wasn’t willing to figure out my plan of manifestation. I was stuck in daydream mode (and man can I daydream).

This is where the law of attraction and pasting pictures of mega-mansions on a poster board falls short. The widely idolized view of attracting what you most desire to your life is that if you want it bad enough, it’ll plop into your lap.

Social media is riddled with quotes about desire, and “what you’re seeking, is seeking you,” which is true, but it’s only half of the picture.

You need point A1, A2, A3, A4 and so on before you land at point B. And if it’s what you truly want, your only job at this point is figuring what steps you need to take to get there.

How much money do you need to make? What career do you need to have? Where do you need to be living? What kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Answer all these questions about your dream life, and then work backwards, figuring out what smaller things you need to accomplish first.

Let this be a loosely held plan, go in the direction of those goals, but don’t be surprised when the wind changes direction and your plan shifts to accommodate. That’s the beauty of co-creating with the Universe, often times it has way better things in store for you than you could have dreamed.

But you need to do more than dream, you must plan.

Tools to use:

  • Road-map it: You can’t be on a boat in Croatia gawking at the chalky-white cliffs until you figure out how to afford it. You can’t make the money until you decide on a career that doesn’t make you want to smash your face on things. Take the time to write out or think about the incremental changes you need to make in your life that will lead you to your ultimate goal. You need a road-map with pit-stops.

Step 3: Focus on ONE piece of the puzzle at a time

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” — George Lucas

This is the piece that inspired this article. But first, let me rewind.

She was a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with peeling paint and a whine that assaulted the neighborhood birds and neighbors alike when I started her up.

With 20 years under her belt and a shitton of miles, everything was leaking or broken (I had to top her off with fluids every couple of weeks to keep her limping along). Every time I tried to start her I prayed it wouldn’t be the time she wouldn’t.

For a few months, I was focused on getting a new car, specifically a Toyota Tacoma with the “long bed” so I could be an official mountain woman, and so I could outfit the back for camping trips.

The only problem? I didn’t have the money for down payment and I had no idea where I would find it.

But, I remained focused on my goal, and released my conscious duty on figuring out how to find the money. I focused on ONE THING, planned out my budget and figured out how much I could pay per month on a new car and started looking.

Then I relinquished my typical control-freak-death-grip on trying to figure out how I would get the money to buy a new car. I stopped stressing about the Jeep breaking down and leaving me car-less. I literally told the Universe “Ok, this is what I want, I trust you’re bringing this to me, cause I friggin’ need a new car,” (I said this while trying to accelerate out of a stoplight, waiting patiently for the transmission to catch in the intersection).

A week after the intersection-conversation with the Universe, I got a call from my folks. They had finally closed on my deceased Grandmother’s house, some 3 years after she had passed away and in the closing, I was gifted $5,000.

Now, you can either roll your eyes and believe it was just right timing. Or you can believe that the Universe is actually benevolent and wants to help you achieve and get the things you dream of.

I used to be the agnostic skeptic, but I’ve come to realize that life is way more fun — and abundant — believing that the Universe is co-creating alongside me, helping me through this funny thing called life.

But regardless, the moral of the broke-down Jeep story is to have laser-beam focus on what you’re trying to accomplish right now. You can’t just paint a beautiful picture of your future life in your mind and hope for the best. You must focus on particular piece of that story and work towards achieving it.

And remember:

“You become a master of your life when you learn how to control where your attention goes. Value what you give your energy and time to” — Found on Mantra Magazine

It’s only then that the Universe has clarity to co-create with you. So, if you’ve been stuck in scatter-shot daydream mode, wondering why you can’t seem to accomplish any of your goals, try dedicating yourself to one piece of the grand-scheme and see what happens.

Things may just fall from the sky to help you on your way (just make sure you thank the Universe when it does, manners never hurt).

Tools to use:

  • Notecards: Write down the one thing you’re focused on achieving on multiple notecards and put them around your house where you’ll see them. Pull one out when you’re getting distracted or pulled off course by some other goal. One at a time here!

Step 4: Meditate on this goal every day

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward” — Old Chinese Proverb

Ok, now you have your life mapped out by how you want it to feel, you’ve got your game plan in order to accomplish those things, and you’re hyper focused on the first step, not letting your mind wander to anything else until you’ve achieved this one thing.

The next step is meditating on this thing daily, particularly in the morning, before your mind gets all boggled up with other people’s opinions and negativity from the news and social media (and maybe don’t look at either of those things until you absolutely have to, just a little tip from me to you).

I’m of the belief that meditation takes many forms and it isn’t solely reserved for a pillow in a quiet room (though I do love this kind of meditation too).

So if traditional meditation throws you off, focus on this one goal every day while you work out, while you walk outside, while you shower or drive or cross-stitch or bake a cake. Focus on your goal — and the feelings attaining this goal will allow you to feel — while you do any activity that lets you zone out a little bit.

My favorite thing to think about while I run is my goals. I think about running towards the thing I’m after, and that thing rushing towards me.

I feel what it would feel like to have achieved the thing I’m after right now, not allowing my mind to picture who I’ll be once I get that thing, as if I am not the person currently who can achieve my goals.

This is a huge piece of the puzzle, and something you’ll find in many personal growth books: imagine like you have your goal right now, in your current life.

There’s a massive difference between imagining what your life will be like when you achieve the goal, verse imagining what it feels like to achieve your goal right now, as you are, in your current life.

The former will make you chase your dream forever, because subconsciously you’re telling yourself you are not the person who can have the goal you’re after. The ladder will help you realize you have everything it takes to achieve your goals, and you will allow yourself to achieve it too.

The goal is the thing that happens after you have focused entirely on it’s fruition. You must be like Abraham Lincoln with his axe:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” — Abraham Lincoln

Tools to use:

  • Journaling: Nothing grounds in a goal and your focus like writing about it every morning and night. There’s also plenty of personal growth heavy-hitters that can’t shut up about the power of writing goals down before bed in order to let your mind work on solving how to achieve it (we’re talking Einstein, Napoleon Hill, Benjamin Hardy). Just make sure you’re writing your goal as if you already have that thing.

Step 5: Align your mind and environment to make it happen

“Success isn’t that difficult; it merely involves taking twenty steps in a singular direction. Most people take one step in twenty directions.” — Benjamin Hardy

In his book, Willpower Doesn’t Work, Benjamin Hardy laments against the use of willpower to try and achieve your goals, arguing that willpower is a muscle that deplets with use, and if your environment triggers you into having to use willpower to accomplish some goal, you will eventually fail.

Which is why if you’re trying to eat healthy, you know how difficult it is to avoid the ice cream you bought for your spouse or the cookies for the kids, and that eventually you’ll cave and eat the carton of ice cream with the cookies crumbled on top.

This same principle applies to everything in life — including manifesting a life you don’t loathe.

Simply put, your environment right now is setup to support the person you are right now, minus the goals and dreams you’re working towards.. So if you want to change your life, you must change your environment so that it supports the goals you have.

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done” — Thomas Jefferson

You must align your environment to make your success unavoidable.

Which means if you want to make more money or start a business, you need to stay away from people that are lazy and blame the world for not accomplishing their dreams, and you need to find people that are entrepreneurs and self-starters.

If you want to feel respected, happy and relaxed in your life, you’ll need to leave the job where your boss degrades your work and demands more and more without giving you credit for your accomplishments.

Most people feel stuck by their situations without realizing they’re the ones making the conscious choice to remain there. Certainly there are difficult, unfair and downright shitty situations that you might be in that keeps you stuck where you’re at.

But by simply saying “there must be a way out of this” instead of “there’s no way out, my life will never change,” you are shifting your beliefs and taking a step in changing your life.

You are allowing the Universe and your subconscious to find solutions to your predicament.

You’re only as stuck as you perceive yourself to be. Ask yourself how your environment — the things, people, situations, job, etc — is keeping you from accomplishing your goals. Are your friends holding you back with their negative beliefs and opinions? Is your house always cluttered and unkept, making you feel antsy and unfocused? Is your job draining your creative drive?

Be honest and then start making changes to your environment that make your success unavoidable.

Conclusion

The law of attraction only works when you go beyond visualizing and daydreaming, and launch yourself into creation.

Manifestation isn’t a one way street, where the Universe delivers the goods after you’ve made a poster board and wrote yourself a million dollar check, a la Jim Carrey. Manifestation is a joint-venture with the Universe, and you have to be a hardworking, focused and determined partner.

Visualization is part of the key to manifestation, but it is only one notch in the key.

Take Action!

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Article originally published on Medium