January always tends to be a time for setting goals – but 2023 feels a bit different, with prices rocketing and the cost-of-living crisis biting.

It might feel a bit pointless setting yourself lofty self-improvement targets when it’s getting harder to pay the bills – but for manifesting guru and self-development coach Roxie Nafousi, setting intentions has even more of a place during tough times.

Nafousi – often referred to as the ‘queen of manifesting’ – brought her way of thinking to the masses in her bestselling 2022 book, and has now released a follow-up called Manifest: Dive Deeper.

“It’s a practice of empowerment, it’s about healing, it’s about growth,” the 32-year-old explains. “I think it helps everybody live a better life.”

The outlook of 2023 might look grim, but Nafousi still believes manifesting has its place. “I think it’s almost more important, because there’s so much uncertainty and there is so much that is making us full of fear,” she reflects. “So we watch the news and we feel like s**t afterwards – and rightly so, things are really hard right now, and we’re all feeling it to different extents.

“If we can find a practice that is going to encourage us to feel better within ourselves [and] about ourselves to change the things we can, to feel more empowered – now more than ever, we should be doing that.

“I always say there are things in life we cannot change, but the things we can, we should,” Nafousi adds. “Manifesting gives people a sense of hope, and it gives people back a feeling of some control in a world where things feel so out of control.”

For Nafousi, manifesting can empower you to lead a better life. On a smaller scale, it might also help you through a bad day – but that doesn’t mean wishing away any ‘negative’ feelings that may arise.

“I [often] talk about toxic positivity, because people kept saying to me, ‘I have to be happy all the time’, or, ‘What if I’m having a bad day, is that going to ruin my manifesting?'” she says.

“This is life – nobody feels good all the time. [Yesterday] I felt so grumpy, I was in such a bad mood. I think on those days, we get really focused on finding the reason and attaching lots of meaning to it. Plenty of times there is a reason, but plenty of times there’s no reason – we’re just feeling down and flat and frustrated,” she adds.

On these days, Nafousi suggests “accepting today isn’t my favourite day, I’m not going to let it spiral into more than it is. I’m going to give myself space so I can rest, recover, take a step back and know tomorrow’s a new day, rather than allowing yourself to attach meaning to it.”

Credits: PA; Author: PA;

Better days are coming

For Nafousi, manifesting assures her that “better days are coming,” she says. “I know this challenge is tough – is there anything I’m learning from it? How is it helping me grow? Just knowing that this too shall pass – and it really always does – has meant that when I go through low points, they’re never as low as they used to be, because they’re not associated with that sense of helplessness or hopelessness.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean manifesting will fix everything in your life. This is what people tend to get wrong about the practice, with Nafousi saying: “They think it’s magic, they think it’s about luck – it’s not. You can’t manifest winning the lottery. People also think it’s just about visualising what you want – do a vision board, have a positive mindset, and that will be enough – and it’s just not.

“There’s no substitute for hard work – hard work on yourself, hard work on your dreams. Committing to yourself, committing to your growth, committing to your journey, being proactive, taking risks, stepping outside your comfort zone, persisting through challenges. It’s a very full practice – visualising what you want is the very first step, and it’s the easiest bit to do.”

The key to success is “being clear on your ‘why’,” she adds. “We need to understand why we’re doing something on the days it feels hard. That’s where thinking about your future self, or really visualising who you want to be at the end of the year, or where you want to be, is helpful, because that will be the driving force that pulls us through on the days where we don’t want to do it, or we feel like going back to old ways.”

Nafousi – who is open about her past struggles with addiction – is clear on her why. “I gave up drugs and binge drinking,” she says candidly. “It’s never an effort now. I always have one drink – I love having a drink. Sometimes I have two, but I never have more than two – and people will go, ‘How do you do that? Isn’t it such a battle?’ It’s not a battle, because the change is so within me, and I’m so clear on my ‘why’ that it’s a new way of living.

“I’m not trying to battle my old ways every day, which is the best place to be when you’re not having to battle your past – actually, you just stepped into a whole new way of doing things.”

That’s why she wants people to see manifesting as a way of living – not just a passing fad. “I think it’s a real way to make lasting change, rather than having a New Year’s resolution – then reaching the end of January and falling back into habits that aren’t serving you.”