Do you want to live the life of your dreams? Create your dream life! Follow your dreams! Get the house of your dreams! The man of your dreams! The all-you-can-eat-bonanza of your dreams!

There’s a lot of dream speak out there, these days. It’s all wrapped up in easy snack packs, bright and shiny, for anyone in need of a pick-me-up. Everything you could ever want is simply a dream away.

It’s a wonderful thought; just be yourself, leave it all behind, and become a wild success. So much choice and freedom, just desperate to be plucked from the tree of abundance.

And what about manifestation? It’s a word that seems to be showing up all over town. Sort of mystical and magical, but elusive. Throw in some crystals and symbolic jewelry and it all becomes a beautiful, exiting, intoxicating cocktail. Watch a few motivational vids and you can already feel the perfect California sun tanning your freshly manicured toes (from the poolside of your very own manifested mansion).

Who doesn’t want that?

But the thing is, the mystical magic can quickly seem like nothing more than puffs of perfumed smoke. A slight of hand. Trickery and bunk. When you don’t wake up rich and famous by Tuesday, it stings. Feels a little sharp and unkind, and the whole notion begins to seem like it’s just another internet scam. You got sucked in and spat out.

Is it all just privileged fantasy? Pipe dreams and champagne flutes?

Maybe.

But that’s the thing. Right there. The speck of it so tiny, you didn’t even know to look in the first place.

Maybe. And by maybe I don’t mean is it a real rabbit in the hat or did you fall for a classic illusion (again)?; I mean maybe as in, it’s up to you. Your mindset. Your decision one way or the other.

Maybe is the opportunity for you to choose. The choice you will make in order to believe, apply, and succeed—or not.

So, this means that manifestation isn’t voodoo dolls and midnight rituals. It’s a series of choices. A consciousness. Taking an active role in shaping your mind to follow a certain path.

According to spiritual teacher Gabby Bernstein, “Manifesting is acquiring the experience of what it is that you want to feel, and being and living and believing in that experience, and then allowing that experience to come into form.”

Which means taking action. Making decisions. Going. Doing. Being. No accidents, no gimmicks. It’s a commitment to a mindset that becomes a lifestyle. Taking responsibility for choices and cultivating with intention on a constant basis.

Taking it a bit further, metaphysician and manifestation consultant Dr. Catherine Collautt Ph.D says, “The most important difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is how they respond to failure and losing.”

A home cinema system and personal chef aren’t simply wishes made upon a star…but losses and limitations that are overcome (again and again and again) until they become the manifestation of our dreams. Waking up on Wednesday and trying again. Waking up on Thursday and pressing on. Marching through Friday, exhausted and sad. And waking up hundreds of Mondays later to realize you’ve cracked the code and you’ve finally chosen the winning numbers.

This is not getting lucky. This is result through consistent action.

Thought leader and web television host Marie Forleo says, “When you want something bad enough, you will figure it out, and you will make it happen.”

What these successful women are all saying, is that while manifestation may be more that the sum of its parts, there is nothing passive about calling your dreams forward. If you want to scale the mountain, forget about miraculously growing wings; buy the kit and get climbing – it’s only then that you’ll start to see your path opening up.

The Real Life Guide to Living the Dream

Now the question is, how can you reconcile this would-be woo woo notion with reality? Check out this real life guide to living the dream and see for yourself.

1. Get Clarity

Get cozy with what you really want. You may be surprised at how difficult this is; it’s often easier to get snagged on what you don’t want. Dig deep. Marie Forleo says, “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” So get out there, giving yourself the opportunity to establish a connection with heart-centered goals. This introspection will help you create a map of desires, which will open up paths for you to follow.

Don’t forget to savor the victory! Each step in this process represents a massive step toward knowing your true self and creating the life you want. It will establish the fundamental framework for genuine dream realization.

2. Identify Blocks

Now that you know what you want, you’re going to see road blocks popping up everywhere. Fears, anxieties, sweating, stomach aches. These are your old thoughts, habits and emotions trying to protect you from change. They are deeply ingrained aspects of your subconscious mind that are often difficult to identify and alter. Anything from your parent’s ideas about money (there’s never enough) to trauma (car crash, bereavement, break up) will be informing the way you think, feel, and react in every single moment. Knowing your personal triggers and blocks is vital to achieving your goals.

Even if you can’t identify every psychological string to your bow, that’s OK. Acknowledging that you have blocks, and getting humble about your personal relationship to them is the key. Taking time to honor your particular circumstances brings a sense of balance and purpose that will guide you forward on your journey.

3. Be Grateful

It is important to be gentle and accepting of yourself in this vulnerable state. No need to punish or judge yourself for being scared or worried. These thoughts may’ve become stagnant and unhelpful, but they have guided you to this place of realization; be grateful for what they have taught you up till now. Seek any wisdom they may impart before sending them away.

Recognize the importance fear and disbelief may have in your life (for example, a fear of heights is designed to keep you from carelessly dancing off of a cliff, and is therefore useful in its own way), and mindfully move forward. Being fearful is normal, natural, and in many cases, helpful to your survival. The idea is not to abandon all difficult human emotion and experience. Instead, acknowledge its purpose and mindfully navigate towards an improved relationship with those aspects of life.

4. Release Limiting Beliefs

Now that you’ve identified, acknowledged, and began to make peace with any limiting beliefs you may have, you’ve got to blow through those blockades. Hypnosis, meditation, EFT, and guided therapy are all excellent ways to identify your blockers and bust through them.

Mirror work, affirmations, accountability partners, and journaling can be helpful at stimulating the release of these negative feedback loops that are set up in our minds. Find a method that works for you, and stick with it; everyone processes differently, so don’t feel bad if a popular choice (such as meditation) really doesn’t suit you. Move on and find one that does.

This can be an intensive process, but healing will take place from the moment you commit. It will also be an ongoing one; no need to rush. In fact, tending to yourself gently at this time begins to signal to the subconscious that you are in a safe place, ready for change, and open to that which you are calling in.

5. Believe

One of the simplest but most difficult aspects of dream manifestation, is belief; believing that what you want will come to pass. Conditioning your mind to see the future you are building for yourself. Training yourself to expect the best results possible, and actively redirecting when things get off track. Gabby Bernstein believes, “You cannot let the outside world dictate your internal condition.” You must abide by your own compass.

Dr. Catherine Collautt advises, “Don’t pretend that sitting on the side lines is the responsible and rational and objective thing to do. Just because you didn’t yet, doesn’t mean you can’t. It may mean that you won’t, but that is still entirely unknown and entirely up to you.”

Believe in your vision to bring it to life. Even if it takes some coaxing, you must cultivate a mindset that is congruent with your desires. If you get hung up on this part, don’t worry; go back to steps 1-3 for clarity and clearance.

6. Feel and Become

Going beyond belief, you’ve got to get to walking the walk. Acting as if you have already achieved your goals and become who and what you want. Speak in certainties. Align your positive affirmations with the idea that you are, instead of you will; I have, instead of I want. Keep your inner dialogue speaking in these terms until it becomes your reality.

Your subconscious mind takes your conscious ideas literally; if you say, I want, then the subconscious mind will ensure that you create a state of wanting, not having. Do you want a job as a magazine editor? Then say, I have an exciting job in magazine editing that I love. This will get your subconscious on board to bringing that experience to fruition, as opposed to maintaining one of constant longing.

Allow the feeling and emotions of your dreams to fill your consciousness. Gabby Bernstein relates that, “It’s the feeling, more than the thought, that creates the form.” Let your heart, mind, and spirit overflow with the feeling of the experience you wish to bring into your life. Create the energy you want to generate, which will move your intention forward into a manifested state.

7. Be Patient

Be patient with yourself and with the process. The definition of manifestation is not “Immediate and exact results through precise formula.” Dreams are the expression of emotions on a journey.

The moment you give up on yourself or the process, the whole thing falls down. Take this time to assure yourself that you are in your flow, in your purpose, and on your path.

Examine your limiting beliefs to ensure nothing sneaky has crept back in to sabotage your efforts. Repeat loving affirmations, and stay aligned with your desires. Respect your intuition. Be gentle with your expectations.

Realize that your highest potential may require you to develop muscles to bear the power you wish to assume. No good winning the lottery if your ways will only squander it in a five minute spree. You are being prepared for greater capacity. Relish the preparation.

8. Self Motivate

Maintaining momentum can be difficult and exhausting. It’s tempting to let your mind and habits slip back into sleepy inaction, thereby undermining all your efforts. To prevent yourself from falling out of alignment and losing hope, become your own cheerleader. Surround yourself with positive examples of people who have attained the success that you are striving for. Familiarize yourself with their story and struggles to bolster your confidence when you begin to lose the plot.

Dr. Cathy Collautt reminds us that, “Successful people fail just as often, if not more, than their unsuccessful counterparts.”

Finding a human connection with those you admire will hearten your spirit when enthusiasm wanes or you lose sight of your goals.

It’s at this point, you can bring in the crystals, burn sage, light candles, and get saucy. These rituals will tie you to your intentions, enhance your emotional connection, and bring a beautiful sort of rhythm to your life. It’s not strictly necessary, but may spice things up and allow you a deeper connection to your vision.

9. Engage with the Journey

Dreams, goals, manifestations, and successes will quickly lose luster if only appreciated when a singular result is achieved—the car, the house, the partner, the money. In fact, the prize may even prove disappointing if all the time and effort preceding it is ignored. So much of the value in what you come to manifest exists within the struggle of your journey; insight, wisdom, gratitude, and process.

Gabby Bernstein thinks of it this way, “Being in the feeling of what it is you want to create allows you to become the co-creator of the world you want to see.”

Feel your journey. Feel your process. Everything you go through to bring your vision to life holds immense value that will provide guidance and teaching; elements that will truly enhance your life and the experience you have within the dreams you have created.

Dr Cathy Collaut suggests that you “Celebrate the effort, not the result.” In this way, you will always derive value from your experience, no matter the outcome.

A Final Thought on Dreams

Be encouraged by these guidelines. Within them, you will find the freedom to express your deepest desires and allow them to come to fruition, while creating a life of purpose and connection in the meantime.

Marie Forleo points out that, “Insight without action is worthless.”

So, get cracking! Now that you know how to align your mind and habits with your vision of the future, cultivate the life of your dreams through inspired action.

Your success is inevitable.

And, as Gabby Bernstein elegantly says, all you have to do is, “Joyously watch it unfold.

Guide to Inspired Life