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The 5-Step Manifestation Guide

New Years is my favorite holiday. And no, it's not the overindulgence of alcohol or the sparkly outfits that do it for me (though neither of those hurt). It's more so the collective, even opportunity for everyone to begin anew. This time of year is really one of the only collective points where we have a moment to breathe, to extend our bandwidth, to take stock of our lives - what we're doing, who we're around, where we live - and ask ourselves if it is in fact what we want.


The origin

I developed this Manifestation practice back on New Years Eve in 2017. I had just moved to New York a couple months prior and didn't really know anyone. I was in a job I didn't like, living in an apartment that I didn't feel comfortable in, and my five year relationship had just abruptly ended. I stayed in on New Years Eve, popped a bottle of prosecco, and made a list of all the things I wished I had: an apartment of my own, deep friendships that I knew I could rely on, a job I was passionate about, (etc). At that point in my life (which I will lovingly refer to as the bottom of rock bottom), it felt like the wants and desires stretched as wide as the world. I yearned for such basic, general things. Anything and everything was better than what was happening now. I was just so devastatingly unhappy.


The good news is, I got all those things. And those things led to other opportunities that further propelled my life onward and upward. And new year after new year, I asked the universe for more. And so began this annual practice of manifestation.


I think intentional living is the secret to life. It's a perfect little concoction of making your wants and desires known to the universe, doing something every day or every week to practically get you closer to achieving or acquiring said want, and WHOLEHEARTEDLY BELIEVING THAT IT ALREADY BELONGS TO YOU.


I've talked about this on my Instagram ad nauseam, and have received countless requests to detail the specifics of the practice, so I am FINALLY laying it all out for you. If you'd prefer to watch a video detailing all of the below points, you can find that on my IGTV.


Grab a notebook or your phone and SETTLE IN, because we are about to have a WORKING SESSION.


the rules

  • Be specific in your desires, but try not to tie them to a specific date or age. Surrendering to timing is a big part of this exercise, and in the grand scheme of things, it's quite trivial anyway. We are working WITH the Universe in this process, not demanding it abide by a timeline.

  • You have to believe it. Here's the thing, if you do this process from a distance cerebrally, I promise it won't work. You have to gutturally believe that these things already belong to you and are just en route into your life. You have to believe in yourself earnestly.

  • Start fresh each year. If you had goals or resolutions last year, it can be really easy to reference that as a starting point - do not do this. You want to see what organically surfaces for you in this present moment, and using bullet points or imagery from the past may not have the same meaning to you now as it did then.

the practice

Step 1: The Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a practice that's most successful without pressure. Therefore, I will usually create this list in November and add it it as things come to mind, usually in a note on my phone (for accessibility). For example, I was traveling to CT for a friend's birthday and really liked it. "Move to CT eventually?" goes on the list. I'm at a dinner party at someone's apartment and love what they've prepared. "Learn to cook/make meals at home" goes on the list. I find that when I wear a blazer to work and immediately feel more productive and efficient. "Be intentional with work outfits" goes on the list.


After Christmas and before the new year is what can be considered "crunch time." By this point, you should have a decent amount of bullet points that you've contributed to over the past 6 weeks or so. Do one final brain dump of anything else that comes to mind - nothing is too big, too small, too materialistic, too noble.


Step 2: Curating the List

I know what you're thinking, "Kelli, I just made the list..." Yes you did, but now we're going to format it. Group your bullet points into categories and give it a heading. You obviously can come up with your own, but these are the categories I've ended up with this year (providing some descriptions as well as a couple examples). Just to give you some inspo.

  • Home / Living (My home/curated space is super important to me, so that falls under this category. This group is also good for any amenities/home projects you want to start integrating, etc)

  • ex: Install wallpaper on back wall.

  • ex: Furnish patio in time for spring/summer.

  • Personal / Self (This is where all things self live; habits, routines, etc. I also like including health & fitness in this category because it's less daunting/problematic when it's integrated with other things)

  • ex: Try one new recipe/meal a week.

  • ex: Resume morning walks on WFH days.

  • Work (People always assume resolutions and goals are mostly personal/self-related, but you SHOULD ABSOLUTELY INCLUDE WORK IN THIS LIST! Work is where you spend most of your waking hours and it's what funds your means to live. You should absolutely be manifesting in this category.)

  • ex: Travel for work.

  • ex: Open at least 5 shows in 2022.

  • Finances (This one is tricky because it's the most practical. This category for me is all numbers. I want to pay off this credit card, I want to contribute x amount to whatever account. Everyone's situation is different, but put your money goals in zis category!)

  • ex: Continue student loan payments during deferment period

  • ex: Contribute max % to 401k by EOY

  • School / Education (If you aren't enrolled in a formal institution, this could just be an area that you want to learn more about: learn another language, take dance lessons, get a certification etc.)

  • ex: finish Harvard Certificate by end of summer.

  • ex: take and pass PMP exam.

  • Kelgurk Blog (This could be any side hustle or hobby you have - your podcast, your Etsy shop, the book you're writing. Even if you don't have anything currently active in your life for this category, I would recommend coming up with something to start. Hobbies help us stay well-rounded and it enables you to invest your skills in something that enriches you directly.)

  • ex: Publish blog posts consistently every other weekend.

  • ex: Earn x% of income through blog & LTK commission.

  • Social (This category for me is mostly social goals I have for myself and my friends. If you're an introvert, your version of this might look very different, or may be omitted entirely!)

  • ex: Host housewarming party in the spring.

  • ex: Plan summer weekend away with close friends out of the city.

  • Travel (Self-explanatory. Put all the places you'd like to go, either in the new year or beyond!)

  • ex: Upstate/Berkshires/CT in the fall.

  • ex: Utah trip with my best friend as part of the 50 states quest (2 of 50).

  • Holidays (I love celebrating and creating traditions, so I usually will make high-level plans/hopes here so I know to budget time-wise and money-wise when they arrive!)

  • ex: See the NYC Ballet Nutcracker at Christmastime.

  • ex: See family for one of the minor holidays. (Easter? July 4th?)

  • Relationships (This is where you can put your goals or things you want improved with the people in your life: friends, parents, your S/O. I tend to be slightly more specific with these because weekly practices and intention help strengthen relationships more than just quietly wishing they would go a certain direction.)

  • ex: Make a big fuss over people's birthdays.

  • ex: Write a letter to my grandparents each month.

  • Future (30 & beyond) (This is a category for the general future or the next chapter of life. For me that feels like age 30 and beyond, though as the years progress it's feeling much and much closer... The contents of this subheading should be high-concept and not too specific, but definitely shoot for the moon.)

  • ex: House in Westport, CT?

  • ex: Develop new traditions with friends' families

Step 3: flesh it out

Now that you have this meticulously-organized list, this is the fun (and incredibly time-consuming) part. We are going to go line item by line item and find images to accompany each bullet point. You'll definitely need to take to a word doc of sorts to accomplish this.


I pull my images from all over: the general internet, Pinterest, other peoples' Instagrams (listen, it's not creepy...some interior designers have some really nice content...). You'll want to drop in at least one photo for each bullet point, but I encourage you to add in as many as you want! The biggest thing with these images is you want to select ones that stir something in you. Looking at these should feel accessible, exciting, motivating, and inspiriting. It should spark joy. I usually break these up in segments and do them in batches so as to not get overstimulated in plowing through them all at once.


Once this process is finished, your little word doc will likely be quite long. You are then going to print this out (yes, I know... sorry.. haul your ass to Staples and spend the big bucks on the color pages, girlie). We are essentially making a magazine of your best life. In the past I have used a binder clip to keep the pages together and in order, but this year I may get it spiral-bound because I'm an actual psycho.

Snapshot of some pages from 2019's manifestation sesh.


Step 4: the retreat

Now that you have your little booklet at the ready, your next mission is to get the f outta town. Book an Airbnb, get a condo on the beach, camp in the woods, OR just do a day-trip to a cafe you've never been to, go to a library on the campus of a college you don't attend. The idea is to get away from your usual habitat. Why? I'm a big advocate for the idea that you can't see the picture from inside the frame. Whenever I travel, especially to a place I'm not familiar with, I am so much more in touch with myself and my environment, and we want you in that headspace to set your intentions for the new year.


This is a massive working/manifestation session, so to limit distractions, turn your phone off. Yes that's right. You're going off the grid voluntarily for a whole day. You can do it I promise, and the Universe will thank you for it.


This is the first time you are going to read through your little booklet as a finished product. Grab a pen or pencil. Be mindful. Be present. Connect with your words and images. As you read/flip through, annotate the pages. Make teeny, handwritten notes in the margins that further emphasize why you chose the images. Maybe you have a picture of a house, but you love the color of it most. You'll write "COLOR OF MY DREAMS!" with an arrow. Maybe you have a photo of people at a concert, list all the bands you'd LOVE to see. When you annotate, you further energize the pages and the thoughts associated with them, and make the already-personal even MORE so. Go through the entire booklet with thought and intention. Focus on the details of the photos. Allow your mind to wander. Let yourself daydream. Take your time.


Once that part is done, we're now going to move into the practical application. Goal achievement is 50% intention, 50% effort and application. If you want to get published, you should be doing something each week (sending emails, making connections, posting about your writing) that inches you closer and closer to that goal. This is the part where you look at the vision you have laid out for yourself, and figure out where in your week to week you're going to fit it in. You want to cook at home more often? When will you have time to do that in your evenings? When will you go to the store? Schedule all of that in so once you're dropped back into the day-to-day of the new year, you have the time blocks laid out and don't have to think about it.


The rest of the afternoon/evening/overnight/weekend (whatever length your retreat is) spend it in gratitude for all that this past year gave you. Thank the Universe for the experiences, the memories, the lessons, and for the same that is surely to come in this new year.


The tiny house where I spend my retreat in 2020.


Step 5: the continued practice

You return from your retreat to begin the new year feeling refreshed, aligned, and grounded. So how do we keep up this practice of manifesting and setting intentions? It's actually quite easy! At least once a week (every day if you have the time/desire), just read through your booklet. Spend time on each word, look at each photo, continue writing notes in the margins if they come up. Eliminate all distractions during this time. Let yourself get excited at this fabulous life that's en route to you. At the end, think of at least 3 things that happened in the past week that you're grateful for, and thank the universe (or message the actual people involved). Gratitude begets more to be grateful for. It's contagious, I swear.



And there you have it! The method to my madness. I hope you're able to adopt this practice (or find a different one that works for you), and successfully implement it. Intentionality is truly what keeps us living mindfully in the moment and keeps the years from blurring together.


If you have any questions at all, you know where to find me!!


Wishing you a safe, happy, and HEALTHY new year!!!


xoxo,































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