Daydreaming isn’t manifesting, but daydreamers can learn to manifest

Manifesting is intentionally training your brain and your nervous system to believe in something that hasn’t happened yet.

Mel Robbins

I absolutely love the Mel Robbins podcast. Listening to Mel is just like having a best friend in the room with you; it feels like a genuine, deep, compassionate conversation, and we could all do with more of that in our lives. I particularly liked her recent episode about manifesting. I’ve said before that daydreaming isn’t manifesting, but there are similarities between the two processes. This means that daydreamers have a natural ability when it comes to manifesting. We just need to learn how to apply it.

In her podcast, Mel Robbins outlines a four-step process for manifesting anything you want. These are the four steps she recommends, along with my interpretation of how daydreamers can implement them.

Step 1. Be honest with yourself about what you want

Daydreamers can sometimes fall at the first hurdle. We spend too much time thinking about what we want in our paracosm and not enough about what we want in real life. What happens in our daydreams can hint at what we want in real life, but our daydreams usually aren’t a literal representation of our ideal future. And that’s OK. Remember, daydreaming isn’t manifesting.

But it’s important that your real-life goals are authentically yours. You won’t find fulfilment if you’re chasing after someone else’s idea of success. Your goals have to come from inside you. Because if they don’t, you’re never going to do the work necessary to reach them. So spend some time reflecting on what you want out of real life. Make sure whatever you decide to manifest is worth working for.

Step 2. Visualise the steps you need to take to reach your goal

This is something else daydreamers tend to get wrong. Our minds can go anywhere we want in an instant. So if we daydream about our real-life goals, we probably go straight to the end result. We daydream about what it will be like to have achieved the goal. We don’t devote any brain space to the steps we need to take to get there. The hard work, the patience, the set-backs, the days when we feel like giving up, they don’t make it into our daydreams. But they’re part of the real-life journey.

Because the truth is, the most meaningful things in life are the things we have to work for. So we have to train our brains to be motivated to do the work. And we do that by visualising the journey rather than the destination. This is crucial for a couple of reasons. First, it makes your goal feel achievable. The end result might feel so far away that you doubt you’ll ever achieve it. But the next step on the journey is something you can do right now. So take that step and see where it gets you.

The second reason why visualising the journey is helpful is that it prepares you for the hard work you’re going to be doing. If you focus on the end result, if you go to that end result effortlessly in your imagination, you’re going to struggle with the reality of having to work to reach your goal. But if you visualise the journey, you’re mentally preparing yourself to do the work rather than pretending you can avoid it.

Step 3 Feel the journey with all your senses

Now that you know how you’re going to achieve your goal, you have to make that journey feel real. You have to imagine it using all of your senses. That’s something that comes easily to daydreamers. It’s how our imagination works. When we imagine something, we naturally fill in all the details, and that’s exactly what we need to do to prepare our brain for the task ahead. When it’s time to work on your goal, it’s a lot easier if you’ve already mentally rehearsed every detail of the process, because your brain will know what’s coming. That means it’ll feel familiar, and you’ll just get on with it instead of resisting the effort.

Step 4 Take action

Daydreamers can sometimes fall at the final hurdle too. The problem is, our imagination can be so vivid that visualising achieving our goal can feel almost as good as achieving it in real life, and it’s a lot easier. So we tend to prefer daydreaming over taking action. But manifesting isn’t just about thoughts. Your goals won’t pop into reality just because you wish hard enough. You actually have to do the work.

If taking action feels hard, go back through the first three steps. Ask yourself: Is this something I really want? Is it worth working for? Do I know what the next step is that I need to take? Have I visualised that step in enough detail to know exactly what I need to do? Have I prepared my brain to take that step by mentally rehearsing using all of my senses?

The real magic of manifesting in this way is that it helps you get past all of your negative self-talk. Because the reality is that we’re manifesting all the time. When we tell ourselves that we’re not worthy, that we’re not good enough, that the things we want only happen to other people, we’re manifesting failure. But when we start to imagine ourselves doing the work, taking the steps, getting day-by-day closer to the life we want, then we start to generate a little bit of confidence, a little bit of self-belief. And it’s that confidence and self-belief that can help us to get where we want to go.