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How to Manifest What You Want—the Practical Way

Three questions to help make this quarantine trend work for you.

Source: Omid Armin/Unsplash
Source: Omid Armin/Unsplash

Recently, The New York Times reported that younger generations have turned to manifestation practices during COVID as “a coping mechanism, a legitimate alternative that organized religion or psychotherapy may not always provide.” Rebecca Jennings at Vox explored this phenomenon in the fall, noting that Google searches for the term “manifesting” skyrocketed 668% from March to mid-July. The Secret, the 2006 book that launched a new wave of interest in manifestation, was repackaged and published this past November.

While manifesting may be a quarantine trend, it’s not anything new. The term refers to believing something into being, whether it’s a new job, an influx of money, or a great mentor. Manifestation or “law of attraction” practices, which date back to the 1800s, may include meditating, journaling, or visualizing your desired outcome. Science suggests that while these practices alone don’t necessarily work, they might increase your odds of success by fostering growth mindsets, self-fulfilling prophecies, and/or positivity bias.

With this in mind, consider these three questions to apply a practical form of manifestation in your life.

1. What have I already been working towards?

If you’re hoping to manifest something, then the majority of your work needs to be concrete. For example, if you’re trying to manifest a new job, you should be applying for roles, going on informational interviews, and asking friends and families for contacts. If you’re attempting to manifest a partner, you should be actively meeting people. If that doesn’t feel safe to do during COVID, you could spend the time reviewing your relationship history and working through any past trauma or insecurities to make yourself the best partner possible. In either case, more meditational manifestation practices will be an added energetic boost to help your odds of success.

If you’re hoping to manifest something that you haven’t been actively working on, you may want to ask yourself why (see the next question for more on that).

2. What’s holding me back?

If you have not yet achieved your goal, you may want to spend some time contemplating what has been stopping you. One possibility is that there could be unconscious parts of you that don’t want you to succeed. For example, parts of you may be afraid to take on a new job because of the added responsibilities. Similarly, a part of you may not want to be in a relationship because it could be emotionally exhausting or lead to heartbreak. In these cases, you may want to explore the work of Carolyn Elliott, or any other type of shadow work, in order to dissolve these blocks.

There may also be larger, societal obstacles outside of your control. Perhaps you’re having trouble getting a job not because you’re failing at manifesting one, but because the U.S. has reached unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression. If you’re a woman searching for a male partner in your 20s, you may be running into issues due to a mismatch between life stages and goals. You can still work towards what you want, but this awareness may help lessen the pressure and self-blame.

3. How can I enjoy the process, instead of focusing solely on the outcome?

Finding pleasure in the process may not be possible in certain difficult situations—say, if you’re unemployed and financially struggling. But in many cases, it can help us achieve something that the actual goal itself may represent: enjoying our life. Whether it’s feeling proud of our efforts or learning more about ourselves, the process of manifesting our goals offers plenty of opportunities for growth and self-actualization. While some may believe that finding the good along the way could be harmful or lead to failure, it may be just the opposite. For example, appreciating being single while also taking steps to find a partner could help to draw in a similarly secure and self-confident person.

What are your thoughts about manifestation? I’d love to hear in the comments below.