Manifesting and positive thinking get a bad rap. I think a lot people read half of The Secret and throw it out because they think it’s total hippy-dippy nonsense, and they might be right. I’m weary of “change your life through the power of positive thinking” too. A good life takes effort, not sitting in your room wishing something would happen. You have to go out take what is yours. Sometimes though, sheer willpower isn’t enough. Sometimes, you need a little extra oopmh and that’s when these steps to manifesting swoop in and save the day. Manifesting is just the practice of inviting the universe to meet you halfway. Positive thinking is an important step, for sure, but this is a guide to taking things into your own hands at the same time. I’ve come up with eight distinct steps to take when you can’t see a way out of the jam you’re in, or a clear path to the live you want to lead.
Step One: Cultivate gratitude. If you want to lay out a welcome mat for the universe, you need to be grateful for what you already have. Like us pesky millennials, the universe needs positive reinforcement. This isn’t the cheesy “I’m thankful for… ” crap you say at Thanksgiving dinner when your grandma forces you to think of something. The gratitude you need to make manifesting happen is the kind that makes you jump out of bed, put on your brightest pink lipstick and kiss your reflection in the mirror. I know those moments don’t happen all the time, but you can up your chances of having them by noticing when your thinking gets needlessly negative, and forcing yourself to think one thing you’re thankful for. Bonus points if you’re thankful for some aspect of the thing that’s currently stressing you the fuck out. One thankful thought a day is all it takes.
Step Two: Define the problem. Be clear about what the problem really is. Dig in and think about every single thing that needs to get solved about it. I am officially giving you permission to give into your inner worry-wart. This doesn’t mean wallow in misery– this means think about every little piece of the problem and really understand what solving this problem is going to take. Don’t write it down, don’t do anything about it. Just have it in your head. Quickly come up with a two or three word way to describe the problem. Then, I give you permission to do a Very Adult Thing and completely ignore the logistics of solving your problem. This is probably going to give you heart palpitations– ignore those too.
Step Three: Narrate Your Perfect Solution. Instead of focusing on the logistics, I want you to think about the juicy details of how you are going to feel when a solution presents itself. Focus on the feelings, and the logistics will make themselves clear. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get yourself started (keep going if the mood strikes you): What does your day to day look like once you’ve solved your problem? What are you wearing? What does waking up every morning feel like? Going to sleep? What does a typical day look like once you’ve solved this problem? What do you get to say on the phone with your best friend at the end of every day? What does being in your skin feel like? I feel like this goes without saying, but these should all be good visions of happy feelings. Keep these close to your heart. Manifesting isn’t always the easiest process, and you’ll need a reserve of good to keep you centered.
Step Four: Tell everyone about your problem. The key to not doing this annoyingly is to focus on the fact that you’re fixing the problem and already have it under control, but if they have any advice/help/contacts for you, take them up on it. For me, the best way to do this is to throw it in at the very beginning of conversation. Start conversations with “Hey, how are you?” and the other person is likely to say “fine, how are you?” Your answer to that has to work in your problem without complaining about it and then immediately give the other person an out of talking about your problems if they don’t want to. Example: “I’m good… in the middle of solving this (two or three word description of problem from step two) thing, but otherwise really good. How was your (trip/first day at a new job/whatever)?” People will either bite if they want to help you, or they’ll just talk about themselves if they don’t want to deal with your shit. Bringing it up to new people helps too, but there’s less of a script for that. Ideally you’ll have the conversation above, with a mutual friend, in front of new people. I trust you guys to understand how to interact with other human beings without being weird.
Step Five: Cast a wide net. The Internet makes this so easy. This is an extension of step three, but digital. This step could also be called “take it into your own hands.” This is the part where you make profiles on every dating website, apply to every job tangentially related to your skills, sign up for community classes in something you’re interested in. Nothing is too small at this moment, the point is to have your name and number absolutely everywhere. Don’t get too attached to any one option, just send out your best vibes everywhere.
Step Six: Loosen the reigns. This can be a really hard step for us Type-As. But do your best to go to live your life. Let the universe work it’s magic while you do your thing. Let those managers read your sparking cover letters, and those cuties on OKCupid get excited about your profile while you take yourself on a date or do a craft or see a movie and sneak in drinks with your best friend. Take a deep breath. You’re almost there.
Step Seven: Follow up with everything. Step five can take a while. But you’ve gotten this far, and you cast a wide net, so you’re going to have a bushel of opportunities coming your way. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you should!), is to seize all those opportunities. Spoiler alert: a lot of these things won’t pan out. This is the exhausting step. Things are going to feel out of your control, and they are. The despair is expected, just keep your eye on the ball. Focus on the juicy details from step four and stay rooted in your gratitude. This is the part where you make it happen, where you meet the universe halfway. It can be helpful to look for signs that you’re on the right track during this step. I don’t know what that means to you, but to me it means little coincidences and moments of magic. You’ll know them when you see them. Keep going, keep following up, the energy you spend will come back to you. Stay open and grateful, even when if feels like it’s going to kill you.
Step Eight: Arrive. Just when you feel like you’re going to keel over and give up, a solution will present itself. It might not be wrapped up in a pretty bow, but you’ve done the work, and you know what you want. You’ll know you’ve worked it out when something makes you feel the way you wanted the solution to make you feel. It will fit with your vision of what you want and, most importantly, it’ll be easy. You won’t have to fight, or scream at anyone, or cry. The logistical work you have to do (and there will be logistical work) to make it happen will flow. This is the part where you savor every moment because you did it! You met the universe halfway and kicked-ass in the process. Now it’s time to rinse and repeat on the next thing.
Secret Step Nine: Take care of the stuff you manifest! This means be a good friend to the girl you worked hard to get to know. Keep that perfect apartment clean. Have fun and be honest with the boy you think could be the one. This is a tangible form of gratitude, one that’s easy and so, so powerful.