The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, experienced, loved and let go of in the year that’s passed. I also love to do a reflection exercise that helps me know where to place my focus and attention in the year to come!
It’s a powerful exercise because it’s really key to manifesting change and transformation around really important areas in our lives.

If you’re like me, you probably have a hundred and one visions, dreams and desires for things you wish to achieve and do and be and feel in the future, but your struggle is with narrowing it down! And, you may find that you ‘fritter’ away your time and focus when you don’t have a clear understanding of what’s a priority and why it’s a priority for you.

The Life Focus Exercise for Manifestation

This is an exercise I do to find exactly where to place my attention when I have a lot of different dreams and desires.
It ties in with a couple of storytelling techniques such as the Focus Sentence Formula and the Two Desires that I teach inside Map Your Memoir and The Art of Memoir, and that’s because psychology, motivation and personal narrative are inextricably linked! Our physical and material experiences are just a reflection of the stories we are telling ourselves (and choosing to focus on).

 Motivation and Manifestation

Psychology principles show that all human motivation boils down to one of two options:

  • The immediate threat of pain or danger Vs
  • The future experience of pleasure

Guess which one wins out? Any and all immediate threats of pain.

Think about it – you might like to receive a million dollars tomorrow, so you think you’ll go buy a lottery ticket after your work finishes for the day, but then if the Tax Department calls you, saying you need to pay them an immediate sum of money (or you risk jail time or a hefty fine), you’ll forget that lottery ticket and go prioritise the tax payment.
It makes sense!

We’re human and we’re built for survival. And our primal brains know that survival boils down to 4 key areas (more on these below).

So, knowing this is how we are motivated most strongly can help us to achieve our biggest dreams and desires for the year ahead.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the exercise to find your focus (and anchor in your motivation) in one of 4 key life areas for the year to come.

Step One

First, you’re going to write the following headings each on a clean sheet of paper:


Then, under each area, assess what you’re proud of, happy with, and desire around this area. If you’re unclear on what the four areas actually involve, take a look at the blog I wrote on the 4 memoir topics that sell. Each of these areas is fundamental to survival and self-actualisation.

Step Two


Now, you want to write about any issues, problems, risks, or direct threats that exist in each area. Make sure you go through each quadrant in detail, and be honest. Have you done your tax this year? Have you had necessary blood tests? How is your mental health? Do you wish you had a different status in society (ie. a business owner, not an employee)… is one of these issues directly affecting or causing risk and displeasure in the others?

Step Three


Now, you want to find the most immediate problem – the BIGGEST problem – of which the resolution would amplify your pleasure in all other areas. For example – you may have dreams and desires around your family relationships, but these rest on you getting out of jail (which is a status goal).

So, the most immediate problem there is that you get out of jail.
Obviously, this is an extreme example but yours might be less extreme. For example, you changing your identity to a business owner (from being an employee, which is making you miserable) will directly affect your mental health. Or, if you have a business goal such as launching your book successfully – and reaching bestseller status and successfully becoming an author – will also change your status and then in turn affect your ability to make income, to feel mentally and emotionally fulfilled and stimulated in your work, and move in community with peers and professionals in the publishing world. So, in that case, a DESIRE – to reach bestseller status and successfully become an author  – is the most direct and necessary goal to focus on.

Where are you experiencing pain right now? Stress? Worry? Uncertainty? Ask yourself these sorts of questions to find the most IMPORTANT problem, of which resolution will directly affect all your other wishes and desires (and survival!).

Step Four


Write about the problem and all the risks, pain, problems, worries you currently face around it. Really don’t be afraid to go deep here, because it’s key to anchoring your motivation. What experiences has it led to that you’d rather not have in your future? What does it look like as an unresolved problem? What will continue to happen (or definitely happen) if you don’t master this problem?

Write about this and be really honest with yourself. Don’t worry, the good stuff comes next!


Step Five


Now, write about who you are and what you’re seeing, feeling, tasting, touching… WITHOUT this problem. Really ‘furnish the room’ here. Who are you now? What have you mastered? What systems and habits do you now automatically understand and embody? Who have you become? What is no longer an issue for you? What are you free to move into now? This is a really powerful exercise, because when you write from that embodiment point it shifts your frequency and you unlock a grander vision than you can currently see when you’re in the thick of the problem!
So, for example, if you desire to get out of jail, you’d be writing about how wonderful it is to go where you want, when you want, and you really want to get specific here. Where DO you go? What pleasurable activities are now available for you?

Then, start to consider all that you’ve let go of, all the habits and thoughts and beliefs you’ve shifted along the way. How does the future you – who embodies this attainment of the desire – how do you think, feel, behave? What do you no longer believe about yourself? How do you feel and think? What do you prioritise?


Step Six

Now, create your plan of action from THAT place. Plan your life and the priorities you’ll follow as the person who has ACHIEVED the desire and let go of the problem. For example, the person who has paid all their taxes and never has any trouble with the Tax department most likely now has a great financial adviser, sets aside a day each month to log their expenses and income, has a bookkeeper helping them out, and understands their responsibilities to the letter.

Step Seven

Take a look at your plan of action around this current problem and future desire (they’re one and the same).
What’s the logical first step you need to take, without which the next step and the next cannot unfold? What’s the most immediate need here?
Take the first step on your plan of action around this problem or desire.
You don’t need to know how to do it all – you just need to take the first step. Put your plan of action somewhere you can see it every day and start every day with 15 minutes of thought and meditation on how it’s going to feel when you ARE that person.

And remember, consistency is WAY more important than perfection. Just do one thing on your plan of action every day, and you’ll soon gather momentum and by this time next year, you’ll look back at who you’ve become and what you’ve mastered in this area and the transformation will astound you.


This is how you change your life.


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