Manifesting things into reality is a process of bringing that which we “intend” into actual existence in our physical world. We turn thoughts, dreams and goals into reality all the time. But, just as commonly, our plans don’t turn out as we expected.

How much of the process is within our control? How can we improve our skills at transforming intentions into reality? Mary Monroe, a freelance writer and poet in Eagle Rock, California, shares insights from a variety of fitness professionals.

If Wishes Were Horses

The book and movie The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (Atria/Beyond Words 2006) turned the concept of manifesting into a mainstream phenomenon. However, there is some skepticism about manifesting.

“If manifesting were that easy, everyone would be doing it,” says Will Marre, founder and CEO of the REALeadership Alliance, and co-founder and former president of the Covey Leadership Center. “It can give people the idea they don’t have to take as much action, because envisioning will be enough.”

Highly successful people get that way by being extraordinary at something and working hard at it, says Marre. Despite Marre’s skepticism, he does believe that positive thoughts can lead to success. “Being able to imagine your goals is necessary but insufficient. You have to take action consistent with that vision. If you think about what you want, you pay attention to opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t see. You get better at paying attention to what has already been there. If you find and develop an area in which you are extraordinary, you’ll be successful. On the other hand, if you tell yourself negative things, you are much less likely to see opportunities or take action.”

Experts tend to agree that action is critical to manifesting success, and that success is not guaranteed—too much of life is simply beyond our understanding.

Making Changes

How can you manifest your own dreams and goals? Try these basic manifesting tools:

Meditate. Rewiring the brain through meditation or stillness is universally acknowledged as a powerful manifesting tool—perhaps the most powerful tool for accessing the subconscious mind.

Write it down. Try making a list of important actions that will get you closer to your goal. Sometimes images, symbols or sounds reach the subconscious better than words do.

Stay in the present tense, use “I Am,” and feel the experience fully. “Once you crystallize your intention, write it out and say it in the present tense: ‘I am now . . . ,’
‘I am ready to . . .’ or ‘I am open to . . . ,’”
says Wahe Guru Kaur, kundalini yoga instructor and owner of The Awareness Center in Pasadena, California. “I notice that when I get to the place of fully believing, feeling and acting as if it has already occurred, that’s when it manifests.”

Wayne Dyer, author of Wishes Fulfilled (Hay House 2012), emphasizes that assuming the feelings of the outcome is more important than intellectualizing, because feelings make a stronger subconscious impression, and that the strongest feeling to assume is love.

When It Doesn’t Work

What does it mean when the manifesting process doesn’t work? Some people attribute it to aspects of life beyond our control, the concept of karma or the possibility that the outcome was not in accord with your highest good.

“Not getting your desired result is not necessarily a bad thing,” says Kate Larsen, MCC, BCC, CWC, executive coach and author of Progress Not Perfection (Expert Publisher 2007). “Difficulties prompt us to be different people, and some [good] things come from hard places. It may make you more empathetic.”

This handout is a service of IDEA, the leading international membership association in the health and fitness industry,

What Do You Want?

The question of what you want to manifest is more complex than it sounds. “The number-one thing that will get in the way is not slowing down and thinking about what you really desire in the first place,” says Kate Larsen, life coach and personal trainer. “You need to think about the price you might pay for what you want. Will working too many hours cost you your marriage or the chance to have a family? Will getting this great promotion today keep you from starting the business you’ve dreamed of? Listen to your gut, especially if something doesn’t feel right. Talk to the people you love, and take time to reflect.”

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