Manifestation is not a new concept. The idea can be found in ancient practices and, more recently, the likes of the Law of Attraction and teachings by thought leaders like Gabby Bernstein (more on her below). If you’ve ever created a vision board, meditated, repeated affirmations, journaled about what you’re grateful for, or prayed, you’ve put into practice the principles behind manifesting. Call it woo-woo, but Oprah Winfrey swears by it (if it works for Lady O, it’ll work for me too, right?).
As somewhat of a newbie to manifestation, I looked to Gabby Bernstein, New York Times bestselling author, manifestation thought leader, international speaker, and podcaster, and her 2022 Manifesting Challenge to guide me through the practice. The first thing I learned was that the common misconception about manifesting is that you receive what you want with the snap of a finger. According to Bernstein, manifesting isn’t about controlling outcomes or attracting short-term goals like getting a promotion, finding “The One,” or buying the designer purse you’ve been saving up for. “True manifesting isn’t even about getting what we think we want. It’s about receiving what is of the highest good for all,” Bernstein explained. Ready to give it a shot? Read on for five hacks I learned from Gabby Bernstein on how to manifest your dream life (here’s to 2022!).
1. Be clear about what you want to attract
The key to starting your manifesting journey is to clearly define what you want to bring into your life. There are no right or wrong answers here—the only requirement is that whatever you set your sights on, make sure it makes you feel good. “That good-feeling energy is what attracts your desires,” Bernstein said. Ask yourself what it is you want, and be specific. Is your heart set on buying a house? What does it look like and where do you see yourself living? If you’re a visual person like me, write down your specific goal(s) or create a vision board depicting it.
Once you’ve decided what it is you want to manifest, determine your “why.” Why do you want that house? Is it because you’re ready to put down roots or because your friends are house hunting and you feel like you should too? Also, what good will come of buying a house and do you feel excited when thinking about buying a house? As much as you may want that house, Bernstein warned that you may be blocking your heart’s desire with feelings of unworthiness. Whether you feel undeserving or have the nagging thought of “this is too good to be true,” letting go of any mental and emotional hindrances is another important step of manifestation. “To truly manifest from a place of power, you must bring in positive energy,” Bernstein said.
2. Your energy creates your reality
As the saying goes, “Like attracts like.” If we give off positive vibes, we’ll experience like-minded people and positive circumstances in return. But when we put out “low-vibe energy,” we attract negative experiences. The good news? Bernstein said that we can raise our vibration simply by being aware of our thoughts and making subtle shifts in our perception. The trick to flipping the script whenever we’re not feeling our best (read: negative energy) is noticing your thoughts and energy, forgiving yourself for having them, and consciously choosing “the next best-feeling thought.”
For example, if you’re thinking, “I’m never going to find the right partner,” take a step back and ask yourself, “What is the best-feeling thought I can find right now?” Then, choose a thought that feels realistic and within reach (you’ve got to believe in it!): “I’ll join Bumble and set up my dating profile,” “I’m going to focus on self-love and doing things that bring me joy,” or “I’m grateful for the love I already have in my life.” To take it a step further, you can try creative visualization, which is picturing (in detail!) what you want. Imagine the life you’ll have with your partner and tune in to all the senses associated with it.
3. Trust the process
You’ve established exactly what it is you want to manifest and you’re vibing at an all-time high. Now what? Remember, manifestation is not magic—you can’t make something you want appear instantly with a snap of a finger. It takes time and patience. Bernstein teaches us to surrender the outcome, let go of any feelings of control or resistance, and allow your manifestations to come into form. “When you make your happiness and sense of safety dependent on a specific outcome, you disconnect from all the infinite possibilities that could occur,” Bernstein explained. It’s easy to grow impatient and question whether manifestation works when you’ve put in the work but nothing seems to be happening or become fearful that something bad will happen if things don’t go as planned. When those thoughts and feelings start to come up, return to the practices above and commit to feeling good.
4. Lean toward joy and follow the fun
Between work deadlines, family obligations, taking care of your home, and navigating relationships (#adulting), we’re constantly thinking about what’s next and playing the “I’ll be happy when…” game. Bernstein stressed that we’ve got it backwards. The most important step of manifestation is having fun. “By having fun and leaning toward joy, we manifest our desires with much less effort,” she said. “An energy of joy is the fastest way to achieve success.”
When your “manifestations” aren’t going as planned, you may be tempted to give up. Instead, find ways to incorporate joy so much that you don’t want to give it up. Are you manifesting a new job? Sprinkle in walk breaks with your work wife at your current job. Are you trying to attract more wealth? Focus on the abundance already in your life and all the fun you’re already able to do with it (trying out new restaurants, going on quick getaways, shopping for a date night outfit, etc.). In other words, joy, excitement, and enjoyment are all signs you’re on the right path.
5. Cultivate abundance for others in order to cultivate abundance for yourself
When you think of the word “abundance,” you probably think of it in terms of receiving. But Bernstein suggested that giving is the fastest method to release an energy of lack. “Amplify your own abundance by doing something kind for someone else,” Bernstein recommended. Though simple, it’s one of the most powerful manifesting practices. Call a friend to see how they’re doing. Volunteer at your local dog rescue. Pay for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive-through line. “When you genuinely want others to be abundant, you expand your own ability to receive,” Bernstein explained. That goes for celebrating others’ successes, too. Bernstein reminded us that there is more than enough to go around. View their successes as a reflection of what you’re ready to receive. “Wanting more for others puts us into an energy of abundance because it feels good to want others to flourish.”