In my work as an Empowerment Coach and Clinical Hypnotherapist, I often encounter clients who say something to the effect of, “I don’t understand. I’ve been saying my affirmations every day, and nothing is changing in my life.”
If you are new or returning to the practice—there can be a misconception in the personal development world that endlessly repeating affirmations will magically enable one’s desires to come to pass. But the truth is, if one’s subconscious mind does not believe the affirmations, nothing will change.
For instance, if someone repeats the affirmation, “I am a millionaire,” but the most money they’ve ever made is $50,000 in a year, their subconscious mind is going to clap back with a resounding, “No, you’re not.”
Getting the subconscious mind on board with manifestation practices is the key to opening up to your endless potential.
There are many “Laws” of the Universe that affect whether our desires “manifest.” The real secret is that we are manifesting all day, every day with our subconscious minds. From the thoughts that we think to the feelings we feel, our subconscious minds are like heat-seeking missiles. If we give them a destination, they will align things in our lives to ensure we arrive at that destination. This phenomenon is known by many names: kismet, synchronicity, serendipity. But it’s not mysterious and it’s not magic. YOU create your life.
Truth be told, I’m not a fan of the word “manifestation,” it conjures memories of The Secret and that book’s misleading premise that the Law of Attraction and posi-vibes are all that is needed to make dreams come true. However, there isn’t another word that accurately describes the process of bringing a desire to fruition, so I use the word “manifestation” reluctantly but confident you understand what I mean.
After reading that book, many would-be manifestors declared what they wanted in their lives and did their best to think good thoughts such as, I deserve to have the life I desire, I am worthy of being rich, True love is coming to me. Then, they sat around waiting for their manifestations to magically show up and were confused when nothing changed. Because that’s not how manifestation works.
Changing our reality is an inside job that requires rewiring our minds because our wiring determines our results. We make meaning of every moment. We take action based on that meaning. Our actions determine our results.
The conscious mind is only responsible for about 10% of our lives. Guess what’s in charge of the other 90%. That’s right, the subconscious mind. It is the domain of our memories, our emotions, our values, and identities, to name just a few, so it stands to reason that if we want real change in our lives, we have to work with our subconscious minds. Real change can be as small as creating a new habit, such as waking up early and working out every day, to as major as creating a new identity. An example of this would be someone who used to smoke two packs a day no longer identifying as a smoker but as a non-smoker. Take it one step further, and perhaps their new identity is that of a marathon runner.
How do we work with our subconscious minds?
Hypnotherapy is an excellent beginning, but you can begin “manifesting” with your subconscious mind on your own through one simple and—I think—deliciously fun practice.
To begin, we must understand that the subconscious mind does not distinguish between real and imagined circumstances. It also thinks in pictures, sounds, and feelings. Try putting yourself in a hypnotic or meditative state. If you’ve never done this before, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and focus on your breath. If you have distracting thoughts, notice them and allow them to pass through your consciousness by refocusing on your breath.
Next, imagine how amazing it would be to have that thing you want. Really see, feel, and hear what you would see, feel, and hear if you had it. Can you see it? Really visualize it. Turn up the color in the picture. Does that make you want it more? Play with the focus of the picture. Focus it so that it becomes even more compelling. Are there sounds present? What are you hearing? Where are the sounds located? Near or far? What do you feel? Perhaps, you feel a strong emotion. Turn up the level of that emotion so you feel it even more. Perhaps you feel a physical sensation? What is it? Where is it located in your body? Take yourself through your day as if you had that thing. What would you be doing? Who would you spend time with? How would you hold yourself? What would you wear? Make it so real in your mind that it actually feels as though it is real. Bask in that feeling and amplify it. Imagine you have a knob that allows you to turn up the intensity of that feeling, and crank that baby all the way to 11.
Many elite athletes practice this process on a regular basis before big matches or games. One famous example is the Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps. His coach, Bob Bowman, incorporated visualization as a regular part of Phelps’ training, which included Phelps visualizing being successful in his races. He did this every morning when he woke up and every evening before going to bed. The brain is in the deeply relaxed, hypnotic Theta state at both of these times.
About this practice Bowman said, “We figured it was best to concentrate on these tiny moments of success and build them into mental triggers… It’s more like his habits had taken over. The actual race was just another step in a pattern that started earlier that day and was nothing but victories. Winning became a natural extension.”
After you have spent time visualizing, take inspired, focused action every day toward your goal because visualizing alone won’t get it done. Inspired action looks different depending on what your goals are. If your goal is to be an Olympic swimmer, it looks like practicing every day. If your goal is to be a more loving person, it looks like noticing when you are having negative or judgmental thoughts about people, stopping in the moment and saying to yourself, “This is not the truth. This is my wiring. I choose to have a loving thought about that person.” As soon as you make a different choice, the universe has no choice but to respond differently. Finally, when contemplating your activities for the day, ask yourself, “Does this lead me closer to my goal?” If it does, great. If not, move on.
We have everything we need to create whatever we desire in our lives, but we were all born into a world with limitations, and so many of us developed unhelpful wiring. However, we don’t have to live on autopilot. We can change our brains. We can choose to create a new reality for ourselves. So, who do you want to be? What life do you want to live? What experiences do you want to have? Rehearse these things in your mind like an athlete. Make it so real for yourself that it can’t not happen. Employ this practice daily, and over time you will be a powerful “manifestor.”