Everything You Need to Know About Manifestation and Intention-Setting
Leigh Weingus •
Now that we're nearly halfway through 2022, many of us are thinking about what's gone right so far, what we wish had gone a bit differently, and what we’re looking forward to in the second half of the year.
Setting powerful intentions is essential when we want to bring get closer to realizing our goals and living the lives we want to live. And here at Silk + Sonder, we like to get more specific with manifestation and intention-setting. But what do these terms mean, exactly? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is manifestation?
Manifestation is the idea that we can call our deepest desires into being simply by believing it will happen. If you’ve heard of the book The Secret, you know what we’re talking about: The 2006 bestseller, was all about the law of attraction, or the idea that by keeping your thoughts positive and focused on what you want, you can attract what you want and turn your dreams into a reality.
Popular manifestation techniques include creating a vision board so you’re constantly reminded of what you want, sensory visualization (which means actually visualizing what you want as if it’s already happening), and journaling about what you want.
It would be nice if simply thinking about what we want, creating a vision board, and visualizing it was enough to make it happen, but that’s not quite how manifestation works. Think of manifestation as the tool that enables you to get clear on what your wants and dreams are and helps you stay positive and believe it will happen — but then you’ll have to put some work in.
Your six-step manifestation process
Want to kick-start the manifestation process? Try this five-step plan.
1. Get clear on what you want to manifest
One of the reasons New Year’s resolutions tend to fail is because they’re not specific enough. So with manifestation, get really clear on what you want to manifest, and what you really need to feel better or feel happier in your life. Examples could include a partner, a new friendship, a higher salary, the home of your dreams, the list goes on.
2. Pick a manifestation technique
While you can definitely use more than one manifestation technique, start with one that really resonates with you. If you’re more artistic, you might want to try a vision board. If you love meditation, sensory visualization might be better for you. If you love to write, try journaling. You’ll return to these techniques throughout the manifestation process.
3. Make a plan
Manifestation allows you to call in what you want from the universe, but you’ll have to put in some work, too. For example, if you want to manifest a partner, maybe you sign up for a few dating apps, or let friends know that you’re single and open to being set up. If you want to manifest a higher salary, consider having a conversation with your boss about how realistic that is and what you have to do to get there, or start looking for a new job.
4. Stay mindful and keep gratitude top of mind
It can be easy to get discouraged, especially if you don’t get what you want right away. By prioritizing gratitude and keeping up with a mindfulness practice, you’ll stay grounded and motivated.
5. Let go of self-limiting beliefs
At the beginning of your manifestation journey, it’s easy to feel really positive and optimistic. But over time, self-limiting beliefs start to creep in — and that’s toxic to manifestation. So do everything you can to release negative thoughts and energy, whether that means checking in with a therapist, journaling, or regularly revisiting your vision board.
6. Work together
Like most things in life, it helps if you have a manifestation buddy, or someone who can hold you accountable. This person can be there to remind you of the important things in life, or they can simply help bring a little accountability to your personal development journey. And most importantly, they'll be there to remind you to believe in yourself so you can bring the success you want (and deserve) into your life.
What is intention-setting?
While similar to manifestation, intention-setting is slightly different. An intention is a principle for how want to show up in your life, in your relationships, in your job, the list goes on.
Intentions are also different from goals — they’re not something we achieve. Instead, intentions are more about how we want to live our lives, or how we want to focus our thoughts.
Examples of intentions
Still feel like this is vague? Here are some examples of intentions:
- I intend to love unconditionally
- I intend to let things go
- I intend to be kind
- I intend to listen more carefully
- I intend to rest
- I intend to trust in the universe
- I intend to stop taking things personally
How to set an intention
Here’s a three-step process for intention-setting:
1. Journal on what beliefs dragged you down over the past year
Maybe an inability to believe in yourself stopped you from living in a way that was authentic to you over the past year. Understanding what emotions, actions or believes dragged you down is key here.
2. Use prompts to figure out what you want your intention to be
Asking yourself the following questions can help:
- What matters most to me?
- What belief or action would really help me move forward with what I want or how I want to live?
- When do I feel the most proud of myself?
- What do I want to nurture in my life?
Once you’ve come up with your intention (or intentions!) write them down somewhere that you can revisit often.
3. Find a time of day to revisit your intentions
Maybe it’s first thing in the morning, or before you go to sleep at night. If revisiting your intentions every day doesn’t sound feasible to you, try every few days or even once a month. Remember, you don’t want perfect to be the enemy of good!
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