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A Beginner's Guide To Actually Manifesting What You Want

Tanya Carroll Richardson
mbg Contributor
By Tanya Carroll Richardson
mbg Contributor
Tanya Carroll Richardson is an author and professional intuitive, giving readings to clients all over the world.
Image by Cinema Tigers / Stocksy
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August 31, 2019

As a professional intuitive, my job is to help people discern what wonderful new things they have the capacity to bring into their lives. The concept of manifestation naturally comes up a lot with my clients, and I've found that this magical process is often misunderstood.

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First of all, what is manifestation?

As spiritual beings with free will, we are here to co-create our future with the universe. When we try to manifest something, we are attempting to align with the energy of that thing in order to bring it into our lives. You might want to manifest a way to make your community a better place for everyone, or a rewarding career where you can be of service.

When the idea of manifestation became popular in the mid-2000s, many people mistakenly believed that all they had to do was want something, create a vision board, and then their desired outcome would magically appear. But the process of manifestation is much more nuanced and involved than that! Here, I share some tips to help guide your manifestation journey.

How to manifest something wonderful into your life, in 8 steps:

1. Daydream and allow yourself to go outside of your comfort zone.

We often put limits on what we think we are capable of. I heard a musician once say that he was nervous about being the lead vocalist on a song for his band's new album because that particular song was "out of his range"—pitched much higher than he normally sang. But when this musician got into the studio, he surprised himself. Not only could he sing that high (with practice and effort), his performance of this song became the album's hit single. Manifestation can help you discover that there are more possibilities for you than you ever imagined.

Watch out for: being naively unrealistic. If you have a substantial amount of debt, and you're hoping to manifest a sum of money out of the blue that will pay off your debt in a matter of weeks and require little or nothing of yourself, this may be too far-fetched. Stay grounded and practice realistic optimism.

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2. Set your intention in writing.

It can be very powerful to keep a journal in which you reflect on what you're hoping to manifest, especially if it's something big like a new home, job, or romantic partner. Keeping a journal will hold you accountable during the process, and being more engaged will net you better results. Manifestations can be marathons, or sprints! I would give yourself at least eight weeks of concentrated effort and journaling to see some kind of return on your manifestation investment. After eight weeks, you will know a lot more about what your highest good is in this situation and have a better idea of how to get there.

Watch out for: getting too specific. Instead of setting an intention like, "I want to get a second chance with an old flame from high school," try something like, "I want to meet someone special and open to more romantic love." Don't worry about getting your intention "right" or "perfect." You will revise and update it along the way.

3. Look for the signs and synchronicities. 

When you start to manifest, you're entering a co-creative process with a universe that is very much alive, listening, and responsive. Stay present and open to synchronicities or meaningful coincidences. It could be the universe starting to drop clues or breadcrumbs that will lead you toward your desired outcome. For example, your friend could recommend a book that describes what you're trying to manifest, or you could see words on a billboard that directly relate to it. To learn more about divine guidance and how it shows up in your life, check out my book Angel Intuition.

Watch out for: wishful thinking. Don't attach to one specific outcome or become overly emotional about your manifestation. I know this can be tough when you really want something, but instead practice objective discernment so you don't imagine signs that aren't there or ignore ones that are inconvenient truths you don't want to look at…but should.

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4. Develop a weekly ritual to touch in with your manifestation.

Whether you are working on this manifestation for three weeks, three months, or three years (larger manifestations like becoming a published author or building a business or starting a family can take years), get in the routine habit of checking in with your desired outcome. It's like when people took long sea voyages hundreds of years ago and would consult their map, the weather, their compass, and other navigational tools to make sure they were still on course. For your journey, you might pick a time each week to light a candle, put on some sacred music, and journal about your progress. Be sure to include any significant signs that came your way that week or any breakthrough ideas or realizations you experienced.

Watch out for: rushing through things and losing interest over time. We live in a culture of instant gratification and often look for ways to be quicker or more efficient. That's all well and good, but manifestation is an organic process that will take as long as it takes.

5. Notice how your intention and process evolve along the way.

Be sure to regularly ask what you are learning on this manifestation journey and how it has changed you or your goal. Remember that life will always send you signs about what you most need to know now. You could have started a manifestation in the hopes of changing your career and received signs about improving your health and self-care. Consider that this might be the first thing you need to handle in order to have the energy and emotional balance to tackle career changes. Your intention will evolve. What you want and how you can best get there are all up for radical change on this journey.

Watch out for: being too rigid. Being narrow-minded and inflexible about your manifestation is the best way to cut off your dream's oxygen supply.  Remain open. A manifestation journey is an excellent time to practice the art of surrender (more on that here).

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6. Practice gratitude to elevate your energy.

We all know gratitude increases feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. There is an energetic component to manifestation, and feeling grateful for something small (your favorite morning drink and a smile from your regular barista) or something big (an exciting new career opportunity) will dramatically up your energy game. When we want something very badly that isn't in our lives yet, it's easy to feel overly frustrated, intense, negative, or desperate. Gratitude is a practice that promotes more balanced energy and emotions.

Watch out for: denying your challenging feelings. You can be grateful for a good friend's shoulder to cry on and still heartbroken that you didn't get that promotion at work. As a complex emotional being, you can sit with contradictory feelings at the same time. Practice gratitude, but be honest with yourself and others when you're sad, disappointed, confused, or angry.

7. Remain grounded in the rules of manifestation.

You cannot just manifest anything—there are rules to this game: Your personal destiny, current life circumstances, the state of the larger world, other people's free will, and divine timing all play a part in what you are able to manifest and when. Yet this is still a magical process that can yield things that surprise and delight you…sometimes even beyond your wildest dreams! Remember that simple laws of karma—cause and effect that are part of every aspect of earthly life—are still at play here.

Watch out for: miracles. We have all experienced something miraculous. The dictionary defines miracle as "an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention into human affairs." You have to do your part in this manifestation journey, but expect grace to meet you each step of the way. This is part of being in the flow and having a balance between doing and receiving.

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8. Do your part and take action. 

Moving your manifestation dream along to fruition requires action steps, which sometimes involves taking healthy risks like trying new things or putting yourself out there to new people. There won't always be something to "do," so at times you just need to let your manifestation stew simmer on the burner for a bit. Check in with yourself regularly to make sure you are taking appropriate action steps and acting on any guidance you're receiving. Are your action steps producing results, or do you need to try a new approach?

Watch out for: inertia. If you're not taking action, ask yourself why not. Are you trying to move so fast it's intimidating? Are you really aligned with the right intention for you right now? Do you have some past trauma or subconscious block being triggered by your manifestation wish? Be gentle with yourself if you are having difficulty taking action or are stuck taking actions that consistently don't produce desired results, but also do an honest self-inventory. 

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Tanya Carroll Richardson
Tanya Carroll Richardson
mbg Contributor

Tanya Carroll Richardson is a professional intuitive, giving readings to clients all over the world. She’s also the author of seven nonfiction books including Angel Intuition, Are You an Earth Angel?, Self-Care for Empaths, Zen Teen, and Forever In My Heart: A Grief Journal.