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4 Science-Based Tips to Manifest Your Dreams

Learn quick, easy, effective ways to reach your dreams.

Key points

  • Scientific research has shown lots of effective ways we can manifest what we want.
  • The most popular manifestation strategies are claims are based on opinions.
  • Exerting effort to reach your goals is an effective strategy.
Source: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash
Source: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

When most people think of manifestation, they are thinking about the mental processes—for example, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs—that help us create the reality that we desire. The good news is that scientific research has shown lots of effective ways we can manifest what we want. The bad news is that “simply believing” that what we want will come into our lives will not necessarily make it so. So, which manifestation methods are science-based and which ones aren’t?

Unfortunately, the most popular manifestation strategies—the ones you’ve probably heard of—are pseudo-scientific. That means they are made to sound like they are based on the scientific method, but their claims are based on opinions, one-off experiences, or exaggerations. The two most popular pseudo-scientific manifestation techniques are "The Law of Attraction" and "The Secret." These methods propose that everything we manifest in real life comes from our thoughts. By this logic, if we fail to reach our big dreams, it’s our fault because we just didn't think about it correctly. This isn’t only inaccurate; it’s also insensitive. The truth is that these beliefs are like magical thinking (Jones, 2019), and they do not necessarily result in the positive activities that are actually required for achieving positive outcomes (Nakama & Oshio, 2013).

Science-Based Ways to Manifest Your Dreams

Many studies across decades of research support the idea that exerting effort to reach your goals is an effective strategy. For example, focusing on self-improvement and goal setting are both related to engagement in activities that lead to successful manifestation (Nakama & Oshio, 2013). For example, if you want to manifest a million dollars, you might start learning how to build a million-dollar business. Or, if you want true love, then you might engage in self-reflection to identify what matters to you in a relationship.

Skills that aid manifestation:

  • Eagerness: The desire to try new things and take on new challenges.
  • Initiative: The urge to act and be proactive about moving toward your goals.
  • Intrinsic motivation: The desire to accomplish something “just because” rather than for external rewards like money or prestige.
  • A desire for self-improvement: The need to keep getting better and improving your life.
  • Passion: Enjoyment of the activities that lead to your goals.
  • Commitment to your goals: The persistence to stick to your goals over the long term.
  • Believing in yourself: The belief that you have the ability to make your dreams come true.
  • Resilience: The ability to keep going in spite of difficulties.

4 Easy Strategies

  1. ​Write for manifestation. One common manifestation method involves writing or journaling. When we free-write—or just let whatever comes to our heads flow onto the page—we can sometimes learn things about ourselves and our goals that help us move forward. In addition, research has shown that writing about our difficult or negative emotions—and processing them—can help us improve our well-being, perhaps by clearing emotional blockages that are holding us back (Pennebaker, 1997).
  2. Write down your goals. Research has shown that setting goals helps us improve our performance (Latham & Locke, 2007). Simply having a goal makes it more likely that we’ll achieve it. So, write down your goals. Try to be as specific as you can. For example, if you want to make a million dollars, note down when you want to reach this goal, the steps you’ll take to reach this goal, and how you’ll get there. The more details you know about your goal and how to achieve it, the better.
  3. Try positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are phrases or statements that we repeat in our heads or out loud to shift our thoughts to something more positive. Although there is not a ton of research on affirmations, it is thought that deliberate thought processes—like affirmations—can be made automatic over time (Paulhus & Coue, 1993). So, by saying something positive to ourselves—for example, “I am enough”—we start to think it more and eventually believe it.
  4. Set positive but realistic expectations. Have you ever heard of the placebo effect or a self-fulfilling prophecy? Both of these are scientifically tested processes that prove that our expectations do indeed affect outcomes. For example, if we believe that a treatment, intervention, or approach will result in positive outcomes, it is more likely to. It’s not 100 percent going to happen, but looking for silver linings and finding ways to be optimistic tends to result in all sorts of positive outcomes that can help us manifest our dreams.

Adapted from an article published by The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.


Jones, B. (2019). If you Think It You Can Achieve it: The Relationship Between Goal Specificity and Magical Thinking.

Latham, G. P., & Locke, E. A. (2007). New developments in and directions for goal-setting research. European Psychologist, 12(4), 290-300.

Nakama, R., & Oshio, A. (2013). The phenomena and dynamism of magical thinking: developing a magical thinking scale. Psychologia, 56(3), 179-193.

Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological science, 8(3), 162-166.​

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