“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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 👇
Article originally published on Medium