Manifesting Your Dreams: The 2 Necessary Actions

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Manifest" by Roxie Nafousi. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is dream manifestation, and how does it work? Can you really manifest your dreams through your thoughts alone?

When it comes to manifesting your dreams, it’s all about believing in the process—that the universe will return the positive vibrations that you emit. However, emitting positive thoughts and emotions is only part of the manifestation process. You must also take the necessary actions to make things happen.

Here’s how to manifest your dreams into reality.

How Manifestation Works

One of the biggest misconceptions about manifesting your dreams is that positive thoughts and emotions are all you need to materialize your desires. Nafousi explains that in reality, you must also alter your behaviors so that they help you make progress on your goals. If your actions don’t align with your desires, you’ll never make progress. 

(Shortform note: In The 12 Week Year, Brian P. Moran agrees that your current actions are what create your future. To ensure that your actions are helping you make progress on your goals, he specifically recommends creating a system of weekly plans and reviews: Before the week starts, plan out what you’ll accomplish each day of the week and check your plan daily to ensure you’re staying on schedule. At the end of the week, review your plan to ensure you’ve accomplished everything and that you’re making progress toward your goals.)

There are two main ways to match your actions to your goals: stepping out of your comfort zone and creating good habits.

Technique #1: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Nafousi explains that changing your behavior to make progress toward your goals can be difficult because you’re often forced to do new or challenging things that make you uncomfortable. To make this process easier, she recommends regularly stepping out of your comfort zone so you get familiar with the feeling of discomfort. You’ll realize that you’re more capable than you think and that hard, scary tasks aren’t actually as hard and scary as you thought.

(Shortform note: In The Power of Discipline, Daniel Walter agrees that stepping out of your comfort zone and getting familiar with discomfort is necessary to make progress toward your goals. He adds that humans have a natural tendency to resist this process for three specific reasons: 1) We’re afraid that trying something new will cause us to lose something valuable that we already have; 2) We’re afraid of failing and regretting our decision to change; and 3) The longer we experience something, the more comfortable and enjoyable it becomes and the less willing we are to give it up.)

Nafousi provides a few recommendations for making the most of your experience outside your comfort zone:

1. Set intentions. When you’re preparing to do something uncomfortable, be clear on why you’re doing it. This will keep you focused and help you push through the discomfort of the experience.

2. Expose your excuses. When you’re afraid to do something, your mind will always provide excuses to justify not doing it. When these excuses pop into your head, immediately debunk them by coming up with reasons and ways to do the task.

3. Persevere through barriers. You’ll always face obstacles when you try something new—this is an inevitable part of the process. If you allow these barriers to stop you, you’re simply using them as an excuse to give up. Pushing through will help you build your self-worth, self-confidence, and resilience in difficult situations.

4. Jump in headfirst. When you’re about to step out of your comfort zone, you’ll often experience a flood of limiting beliefs that tell you you’re not good enough and encourage you to give up. Rather than letting these thoughts paralyze you, take a brief moment to collect yourself and then take action. For example, if you’re about to raise your hand in class but get nervous, take a deep breath and do it anyway.

Technique #2: Create Good Habits

Nafousi argues that truly altering your behaviors so you make progress on your goals requires you to take action daily. One of the best ways to do this is by creating positive habits—activities that are ingrained into your daily schedule. 

To create positive habits, identify what you want and who you want to be. Then, identify the daily activities that will help you make these factors your reality.

For example, imagine that what you want is an expensive tropical vacation. You might practice the following habits to make this a reality: adding leftover money to a change jar at the end of each day, making your coffee at home rather than buying Starbucks, or researching some aspect of your trip like accommodations or activities for a few minutes each day. 

Similarly, imagine that who you want to be is a good parent. You might practice the following habits to make this a reality: packing your child’s lunch every night so you don’t forget in the morning, letting your child pick their own outfits, or using consequences rather than spanking to correct behavior.

Manifesting Your Dreams: The 2 Necessary Actions

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Here's what you'll find in our full Manifest summary:

  • How to create your dream life through the power of thought
  • Why manifestation is not just about picturing something you desire
  • How to effectively manifest by altering your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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