The Mind Trick for Making Your Dreams Come True

The lowdown on getting what you want.

Eleven years ago, Rhonda Byrne wrote a book called The Secret and the rest of the world cupped its ears to hear its wise whisper. Celebrities, followed by the general public, began toting the book around and waxing poetic about its life-changing powers. Even Oprah got misty-eyed on TV about its powers. While all the hype made The Secret seem like a complex, almost religious work, the premise was simple: Visualize what you want in life, and the universe will make it happen.

Sure, the concept of manifestation sounds like an idealized, new-age hippie hack, but it is a seriously powerful way of looking at yourself and the world. And, yes, it can actually "change your life"—or at least your perception of it, which is tremendously impactful. That's not just wishful thinking: A study by Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, found that positive thinking builds personal resources like creativity and emotions and allows one to build new skills. A 2016 study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that optimism leads to longer life expectancy.

The best part about manifestation? Anyone can do it. Below, we show you how.

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Step 1: Set Your Intention

Figuring out exactly what you want seems like a tall order, but defining your goals and intentions is really important. Think about what you would most like to improve in different areas of your life: Do you want to expand your friend group? Do you want to finally take that trip to India? Do you want to land that dream job that seems completely out of reach? Both big picture and immediate goals are welcome.

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Step 2: Declare Your Intentions to the World

Whether it's writing your dreams down or telling a friend, you'll be creating accountability for yourself to make them happen. If you feel comfortable telling others about your goals, it can lead to amazing things. You never know who might be connected to someone working on a project similar to what you'd like to do, who can give unexpected advice, or who may need a hand themselves.

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Step 3: Create a Vision Board

Grab magazines, scour Pinterest, and get crafty. Clip out photos of things that inspire you—like role models, inspiring phrases, or movie stills you'd like to live out—and paste them to a posterboard. Keep your vision board somewhere that you'll see it every day. (We like to frame it and consider it artwork for our bedroom walls.) It will serve as daily motivation to move toward your goals.

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Step 4: Put. In. The. Work.

Overnight success doesn't actually happen overnight. Big changes take time and energy. You're not going to start your own brand or become a rock star in a matter of moments. Manifesting is not a magical wish—it's about making a promise to yourself to go out and make the changes you want. Get out there and make things happen.

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Step 5: Keep It Positive

Stay appreciative of the opportunities that come your way, and pay it forward by giving to others—creating positive connections will lead to even more opportunities.

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