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Manifesting and why you can stop working so hard at it.


I was 14 years old when my mom first taught me about the power of pure, positive energy.

She told me that if you could hold a thought for 17 seconds you could call it into being through the Law of Attraction.

I loved this idea and immediately put it into practice. I remember lying in bed at night trying to hold the pure, positive energy thought of holding hands with the boy I had a crush on at school. (I never did end up holding hands with that particular boy. But I have held hands with lots of other cute boys, so I think it worked.)

I remember focusing so hard on the exact thing I wanted to manifest, thinking I’d totally screwed it up if my 17 seconds of pure, positive energy were interrupted by a moment of doubt. I was treating manifesting like a magic spell that, if not done with utmost specificity and accuracy, would fail.

That’s the thing about kids: they’re concrete thinkers. Not a lot of room for shades of grey in their sweet heads. They take what you tell them and run with it. (Note to self: be careful about what I tell Penelope, knowing that she’ll take it without a grain of salt.)

But we can be concrete in our thinking as adults, too.

And we can try so hard to manifest that we get major metaphysical mind cramps.

The thing about manifesting (and life) is this:

How we do it is what we get. {Tweet it!} How we do it is what we get - tweet

Let’s say you want legendary love. You made the vision board. You visualize. You focus hard on exactly what you want. But it hasn’t shown up yet. So you manifest harder. And when it still doesn’t show up the way you had imagined, you beat yourself up for sucking at manifesting. You’re not only left alone, but you’re also being unkind to yourself. Far worse than when you started this whole manifesting business.

Let’s say you want to make six figures in your business this year. You do your affirmations. You write intentions on sticky notes around your house. You try your hardest to keep your thoughts elevated every time they slip into doubt. But the money isn’t coming. And you’re freaked out. And so you decide you must have missed out on the manifesting gene and are destined to be a lower-than-you-desire earner.

While we’ve all had uncanny experiences where what we asked the Universe for showed up pretty much exactly as we’d had in mind, more often than not we don’t get exactly what we asked for.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t get what we want, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t get what we need. (Sometimes what we get is even better.)

Here’s how I operate when it comes to manifesting. It’s really simple and slices through a lot of the metaphysical BS. And it allows me (and you, should you choose to practice this with me) to not have to work so freaking hard to attract what I want.

Step one: I have desires.

Step two: I write them down somewhere. (I don’t often refer back to this list, and I don’t really know where it is at any given moment because I always have about 12 different journals going at any one time and I almost never finish one before I start another.)

Step three: I figure that what I’m really after with any of these desires is feeling good.

Step four: I know from my study of the Universe and Quantum Physics that like attracts like.

Step five: I know that if ultimately my desires boil down to wanting to feel good then all I need to do on a daily basis is focus on feeling good.

Step six: I do whatever I can think of as many times a day as I can remember to feel as good as I possibly can.

Examples? I take a deep breath. I go for a 5 minute walk. I lie on the grass. I feel how good it feels to snuggle with Penelope or Mike. I breathe in the smell of freshly cut grass. I sip on my iced tea. I eat a square of dark chocolate. I turn on a song and dance around the living room with my baby and my husband. I scroll through my Instagram feed and leave uplifting comments on the photos of my amazing friends’ amazing lives.

It’s not rocket science. Feeling good can be refreshingly simple.

Sometimes I remember to visualize my desires. Sometimes I do affirmations. Sometimes I make vision boards.

But mostly, I simply do what I can to feel as good as I can.

Manifesting is not a magic spell. It’s a way of being. {Tweet it!} Manifesting is not a magic spell - tweet

You don’t have to focus so hard on what you want that smoke comes out of your ears. You don’t have to guard your mind 24/7 to ensure that no negative thought intruders enter.

(Everyone has negative thoughts and doubts all day long. Deepak Chopra does. Esther Hicks does. Oprah does. There’s not some magical day in the future where your mind will stop veering off from your pure positive energy thoughts a hundred million times a day. The key is doing things to feel good despite having negative thoughts and feeling doubt.)

The root of our desires is that we want to feel good. Sometimes you’ll get what you imagined. Sometimes you’ll get something else.

But if you make a daily practice of feeling good as much of the time as possible, you’ll attract more things that make you feel good.

And a life of feeling good (most of the time) is a good life, if you ask me.

Happy manifesting!



What are your favorite manifesting practices? Share in the comments below – I always love to hear what people are doing to attract what they want!


P.S. Is one of your desires a beautiful, healthy body? My friend Sarah Jenks has a free online workshop that will turn what you think you need to do to lose weight on its head. Trust me: it’s not what you think! Check out the workshop while it’s still available here.


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  • I love this blog post, and your steps are familiar. Being in, in-joyment and my way to change is my M.O. Manifesting is meant to be fun and playful. (P.L.A.Y. = Promoting Lasting Alterations for YOU)! Swinging on a swing, watching a comedy, cooking with my husband, and in-joying all of the little things in my life helps me to feel deep into the appreciation, in turn bringing more to appreciate. There are rituals I do with both family and clients on the daily. We choose traditional angel cards to set intentions, and I also love a God Box!! A client recently gifted me a clay “God Bowl” and it is designed so that what goes in, doesn’t come out. So the intention goes in, I release the how behind it all, and have fun watching it all P.L.A.Y. out! I put it in my “Self Cultivation and Knowledge” gua!

    • Kate Northrup

      Yes! The God Box or bowl is genius. I absolutely love that practice and I’ve forgotten about it recently. Thank you for the reminder!

    • The perfect God box would be the paper shredder. Truly giving anything to God means not taking it back. What better way to give away completely than to shred the paper that contains the thought or prayer.

  • Mary Perez

    Dear Kate, Thank you. Today’s blog was exactly what I needed. I have been feeling so bad about myself for not manifesting this or that. This was a great reminder for me that bottom line what I really want is to feel good and to like and value myself. Today, I choose to focus on feeling good.

  • Carrie

    This was great for me to read as was the video by Sarah! I really appreciate your wisdom Kate! I have your book Money a Love Story and just finishing it! Thanks for the work you do!

  • My favorite manifesting practice is visualizing and I allow myself for to be engulfed with peace, joy and contentment.

  • Carrie

    I forgot to mention, in the above post, one thing that I do to feel good. I work in a teaching position that can be very draining (urban school district with many distressing factors in my students’ lives,) and so I put projects on that I want to have funding for so that I can make my students’ school days better. When people post (when they make a donation,) why they donated, it really makes me feel good! It makes me feel like we teachers are not in this alone! It is like a major dose of support from all types of people in various parts of the country! It is very helpful to me!

  • maria

    Great post! Thank you for sharing..

    Yep, that’s me..Trying for 10 years to find a partner and nada… At this point, I have given up, or so I think… ???

    • Kate Northrup

      Have you given up or are you simply enjoying your life as your desire manifests? There’s a subtle difference that makes all the difference.

  • Tara

    Kate- fabulous blog article today! You try all these manifestation techniques & your right, most of the time I feel I’m doing something wrong. I love how you break it down into simple steps about just trying to feel good everyday. I do believe the most important aspect of manifestation is to keep open to the fact it may not come as you expect & that’s ok

  • Didi

    Thank you for this to validate that the most respectful people you mentioned above also have negative thoughts and doubts. I guess when I listen to all of them and more, it feels like they got it all down (after trials and errors) that I can’t get to where they are. My thoughts run high. ( I should be right, or I’d be non-existent! hehe) I’ve been trying to manifest the perfect job, but I find myself feeling defeated after so many ‘rejects’ so I try again, a little different this time…again and again. I’m hard on myself. It is a reminder to ‘just be in the moment’, which I do, but not enough to ‘love myself more’!

  • Hi there Kate,

    One of my favorite manifesting practices taking a small action that supports whatever it is that I am wanting to call in. For example, I am ready to share my home with a wonderful, loving man. To me, that means making room for him in my bedroom. I cleared out the nightstand on his side of the bed so that when he shows up, he will have a place to store his things. A small give that shows I am making space for the energy.

    I’m already excited for us!

    Thanks for the reminder to let go and let flow:-)

    • Catherine

      Great work, I did the same before I met my partner. I also put a poster of Gustav Klimt’s ‘the kiss’ in my room so I could feel what being in love felt like. This really sped up the process and allowed love to come into my life x

  • Paloma

    This is such a great post, thank you. I have been giving myself a really hard time lately. It’s hard to remember something so simple as like attracts like and not get caught up in everything else ‘not manifesting’ therefore only putting more pressure on yourself which only attracts more pressure! To let go and have faith in our ability to attract a better vibration.. Love this reminder :)

  • I am curious to know if anyone else feels this way: You have an idea in your head of what you want your life to be like, and along the way you have the tug of your heart and the logic of your mind pulling you in different directions. For a long time, I have been using logic “what I think I should do based on my goals” even when it hasn’t felt right. Now I feel myself more going with right feels right in my heart and spirit and trusting that it will lead me in the right direction to the life that I want for myself. Anyone else?

  • I LOVE this post. It’s such a great reminder of why we are manifesting to begin with. It is about feeling good. And the great thing is that we can create that experience at any time.

  • Thank you for this wonderful reminder, Kate! (I, too, have 12 journals going at once…) The bottom line is…we want to feel good. And that we can do pretty easilly, regardless of our challenges. This blog is just what I needed to read today. ?

  • Thanks Kate, nice to be reminded that manifesting is actually SIMPLE!
    I find that writing helps me also. I’ve put a list of my “visions” (I find “goals” too stressful!) on the wall by my bed, and read them each morning and night, then feel what it would be like to have them fulfilled for a few minutes.
    Things in my life have moved fast since I’ve first started doing that!

  • Dorothy

    Thanks for the great blog. I really needed that reminder. It is so easy to get into the ‘beating yourself up” dialog for all the negative thoughts you notice you have…again. Thank you!

  • Wonderful blog post Kate, you brought a smile to my face.

    I have several manifesting practices that I play with, I feel inspired to do certain ones daily, and other’s periodically. I know not why and I just go with the flow. Goal setting plays a part in my manifesting, I set a goal and commit a date to it. Then I visualize what I will see / hear / feel 15 minutes after I have it. Whatever it is. I form a picture, hear the sounds, imagine who my first phone call will be to and what I’ll see. Then I leave it alone.

    I write a gratitude list daily, sometimes mentally, sometimes verbally, sometimes digitally, sometimes with pen and paper. No matter which, there is daily gratitude.

    I use a form of energy EFT and a mantra morning and evening ( for whatever it is I want to manifest. I say what I want and follow it up with energy. For instance, “money energy”, “creativity energy”, and so on. I’ll focus on one mantra for the month :) so things aren’t too muddled.

    I also write down lists of what I want, like you, and I have lists all over the place. I really love crossing things off the list as they become manifest.

    And the last thing is I tap the FasterEFT way to eliminate the emotional charge around things I DON’T want because what we resist persists, and letting go of the negative emotions creates space for attracting the good :)

  • This is so timely for me. I was just thinking this week what is going on? why have I been writing loads of six figure type goals for so many years but I’m still not where I want to be. I’ve just started reading your book to & doing my exercises in it. Am also long Sarah’s Live More challenge ?

  • Bronwyn Szabo

    Simple brilliance. Thank you Kate! How we do it is what we get. Totally exactly what I needed to read. Also just read Total Law of Attraction by Dr. David Che, he says the same thing: Feeling good is the single most important thing. Such a refreshing change from “positive thinking” to “positive feeling”. I work on just tasting my coffee more, and sometimes just making a choice to feel happy. Surprisingly works well. Love your site!

  • Liza

    Thanks for posting this Kate. I am trying this today. Having trouble manifesting, especially financially, and career wise

  • Jenn

    Thank you for the post, but can you give me some clarification? We are told to visualize what we want and have a vision board to remind us everyday to visualize what we want. This seem like the exact opposite of the “God box”. So which is the most effective way to manifest, daily visualization practice, or asking once and forgetting about it?

    • Kate Northrup

      I think it’s whichever one feels better to you. The idea with manifesting is to get your vibration as high as possible through feeling good. So whatever you need to do to feel good is what’s going to work for you!

  • Thanks for sharing. I’m not a strong believer in manifesting but I do believe in working through the things that hold us back so we can move toward our vision. Great read.

  • amber

    this was exactly what i needed to hear. thank you so so much , greatly ❤️

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