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02 · 05 · 19

3 Steps to Releasing Your Attachment to an Outcome

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What does it mean to get attached to an outcome and how do we release it and manifest our goals?  How do we go from pushing and clinging to the peace of letting go?

Let’s look at a quick example.

“The One”

Angela wanted a new job more than anything.  She graduated from college a few years ago and had been “surviving in a soul-sucking job” ever since.  Feeling increasingly joyless and frustrated, she dragged herself to work during the day and searched for jobs at night.  She’d been on several job interviews, but never made it past the second round.

Every time she got an interview, Angela started to believe that this job was “the one.”  She began to fantasize about the job and how it would give her a new life.  Although she tried to ignore it, she was soon overcome by a creeping sense of urgency to make this fantasy come true.

Before she knew it, Angela was attached to the outcome.  She didn’t just want it to happen, she felt as though she needed it to happen.  “I’m probably making too big a deal out of it, but I can’t help it.  I just want it so badly,” she told me.

Angela described herself as “super woo-woo, but in a good way” and it was hard to argue.  Before her current job dissatisfaction, Angela’s strong connection to spirituality gave her a sense of security and optimism that others gravitated towards.  She began to wonder if she had lost the connection during her job search.  “Maybe I’m blocking my blessings,” she said.

Realizing that her neediness was probably turning people off and sabotaging her efforts, Angela knew that she had to change her approach.  She wasn’t sure how, but she was willing to try.  Something about the new softness in her eyes suggested that she was finally ready to start releasing her attachment to the outcome.  Rather than a specific outcome, Angela was now making herself emotionally available for the best outcome.

As she began taking the idea of letting go more seriously, a small space suddenly opened up for something new.

Emotional Release

Whether your approach to manifesting goals is strictly practical, completely woo-woo, or something in between, it’s fair to say that most people struggle with getting attached to outcomes.  It’s not that we’re masochists—opting to set goals and then torture ourselves as we await their hoped-for arrival.  It’s just that we’re human.  We are emotional beings.  We might have an easy time convincing ourselves to detach intellectually from how we want things to go, but letting go emotionally is a different story all together.

So, how do we let go emotionally?

How do we release our grip and give our goals the freedom they need to flourish?

Here are 3 Steps to Releasing Your Attachment to an Outcome

Step 1: Have Compassion for the Part of You That is Attached to an Outcome

While it’s tempting to imagine that all of you is attached to an outcome, the truth is that there is only a part of you that is attached to an outcome.  It may seem like a big part, but that’s because you’ve probably been focusing a lot of your energy on either resisting it or trying to get rid of it.  Unfortunately, the more aggressively you approach this part of you, the more entrenched it gets in its position.  Rather than trying to get rid of it, give it the loving care that it really needs.  After all, it’s attached to an outcome because it’s scared.  It needs your compassion more than anything.

See the part of you that is attached to an outcome as a small child and imagine treating it with kindness.  Comfort and reassure it.  Allow it to soften as it feels soothed and supported.  Whenever it gets scared again in the future—and it will—just continue to provide it with compassion and care.

If this part feels overwhelming at times, try to remember that there are other parts of you that are much more patient and confident.  There is also a core part of who you are, what some people call a Higher Self, Divine Self, or Inner Being that knows that all is well.  According to a therapy approach I like to use in my private practice called Internal Family Systems (IFS), this core part—referred to as the Self in IFS—is a source of infinite compassion and calm.  It is fully capable of providing your many other parts with compassion and soothing.  Allow this core part of who you are to take the lead in your life and to comfort the part that is attached to the outcome

Step 2: Keep All Options on the Table

Nothing triggers attachment to an outcome like the feeling of scarcity.  Whether you’re worried about running out of opportunities or time, scarcity is a fear-based mindset that can wreak havoc on your goals.  Feelings of scarcity can lead to impulsive actions and an unhealthy preoccupation with things you don’t have.  Studies show that this effect is true in a variety of situations including financial scarcity and social scarcity due to feelings of loneliness.

In order to reduce feelings of scarcity, keep all options on the table—even the options that aren’t exactly your favorites right now.  Don’t discard possible solutions too soon and, most importantly, don’t fall in love with an option prematurely.  Don’t fantasize about how your life will look once you obtain that one option. Be as neutral as you can.  Stay open to unexpected opportunities and try not to idealize or force any particular solution.

When we’re attached to an outcome, we tend to fixate on or only accept one solution—excluding any new information, ideas, or opportunities.

It’s usually only in retrospect that we realize just how much clinging to one solution prevented us from seeing the best path to what we truly want.


Ask yourself, Am I limiting my vision of what’s available?  Am I closing my mind and heart to new solutions that I might not even know about yet?  If your answer to either question is yes, try to open up and make room for new options.  Often the real solution to a goal is either something that isn’t ready or available yet (and requires some patience) or something that was right in front of you all along—you just couldn’t see it because you decided prematurely to give 100% to a solution that isn’t working.    

Step 3: Ask for More

While it may sound counterintuitive to ask for more when you’re concerned about manifesting just one thing, it’s a surprisingly effective strategy.  Here’s what it looks like:

  • If you want to have one new job, picture having three good offers to choose from.
  • If you’re looking for a romantic partner, imagine having two amazing people who are interested in you.
  • If you want to have a baby, imagine taking care of a toddler and a baby (or two babies!)
  • If you want to buy a dream house, picture yourself with a dream house and a vacation home.

The only word of caution here is that if you imagine having more, you need to be ready to for the possibility of having multiple manifestations at the same time.  It might just happen exactly how you imagine it will.

Our minds like to have problems to work on and they’ll happily work on whatever problems we give them.  If your mind is focused on solving the problem of trying to come up with just one viable option, it will work under the premise that one is difficult for you.

If your mind is focused on solving the problem of choosing between or managing multiple good options, however, it will assume that the task is easy for you and it will redirect its efforts to something much more useful: getting really creative.  It will be less fear-oriented and more opportunity-oriented.  It will relax because its new problem is an embarrassment of riches.

As a result, your behavior will demonstrate a new level of confidence that is far more attractive to new opportunities.  Before you know it, you’ll start acting as if what you desire is already a present fact—and that will feel really good.

What it Really Means to Release Your Attachment to an Outcome

Once we release our attachment to an outcome, it doesn’t mean that we’re any less interested in manifesting the goal.  It simply means that we’re less interested in the fear of not achieving it.  We’ve shifted our attention away from fear because we feel safe.

The problem with important goals is that waiting for them to manifest can fill us with fear that triggers our hearts and minds to close.  We need to feel safe in order to open them back up again.


That’s why a compassionate approach is so vital.  It helps us take a breath, open up, and release our grip on trying to control when and how our goal manifests.  The key is gentle but persistent nurturing.

That’s how we release our attachment to an outcome—by making ourselves feel safe enough to release it.

I’d love to hear from you.  How do you feel about letting go? Let me know!

If you want more guidance, get my free download.  I created a checklist to help you successfully release your attachment to outcomes.  Download it HERE.

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I loved this article. It shed some light on how I can manage profound anxiety while I navigate some big life changes. I love the idea of “Seeing the part of me attached to an outcome as a small child and imagining treating it with kindness.” That really resonated with me. Thank you.

You’re welcome, Kelly! Thanks for commenting. My upcoming book will provide many strategies for reparenting your inner child during the manifestation process. It will be out in this summer!

This has been super helpful! I’m beginning to embrace the Law of Attraction, and I’m investigating more into manifestation. Releasing my attachment to specific outcomes is key to achieving them, so I’m grateful for this post!

I am so thankful for this very important lesson I was missing. However, just want to ask you one thing. Why it is said that the law of attraction states that thinking about something so deliberately and desperately will lead us to it?

Hi Tarun. Law of attraction teachings often emphasize focusing on something we want deliberately so that our energy isn’t scattered among too many different goals. While some level of focus can be helpful, getting attached to outcomes generally leads to a focus that doesn’t feel good. That’s when it’s good to try to back off from focusing on the goal for a while or to find ways to release our attachment to the outcome. I hope that helps clarify things!

I’m on a spiritual journey and this article was divinely located to me just when I needed it. A mind blowing eye opener! It reminded me that there’s so much beauty in letting go and letting things fall into place as they should.

So glad you found the article Renee! Getting to a place where we can let go and let things fall into place is definitely beautiful. Even moments of letting go can make all the difference. Thanks for commenting!


I loved this blog. I just got confused with the line that I should not fantasize how my life will look like once I obtain what I want. Does it mean I should not visualize?

Thanks xoxo

Hi Pony. Thank you! Great question. I’m a big believer in visualization and have seen it work in my own life and in the lives of countless clients. The line you mentioned refers to fantasizing about how our life will look when we obtain the one potential option/solution that we’ve prematurely decided is the answer to what we’re looking for. The most common examples I see is when we’re trying to manifest a new job or a new romantic relationship.

All too often, we get hooked into seeing the first (or first few) job interviews or romantic prospects as the answer even if the reality is that the real job or romantic relationship that’s a great fit for us might be the 10th one. That’s why it’s important not to get too attached too early. We might lose time and energy trying to force something that’s not a good fit because we prematurely decided that it’s “the one.” We start imagining how amazing our lives will look when we get that particular job or relationship and often start planning out the details. Then we become afraid that we won’t actually get it and we start to believe that it’s our only option.

A more helpful way to visualize is to keep things open. Imagine the essence of how you want to feel in a job or relationship. You don’t have to start imagining what it will be like to move to a new state just because you met someone you like from there. You can continue to visualize a scene in which you are in a satisfying relationship without adding details related to that person. Again, it’s about staying open while you take the time to see if the potential job or romantic partner are truly a good fit. I hope that’s helpful! Visualization is a great tool as long as we stay open enough to allow the right fit.

Good luck to you!

I loved this post, thank you so much for your gentle and powerful unpacking of such a difficult subject. I appreciate your words, they spoke to my mind and heart.
in kindness

Hi Chevy. You’re welcome. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words! It’s a challenging subject and it deserves compassion and care. I’m so glad that you found it helpful. Best wishes to you! Dr. Kress

Thank you for your comment, Cheryl! I’m so happy to hear that you found the article helpful!

I am in a toxic but irresistible relationship. I married my high school sweetheart after 30 years apart. So much of our life is wrapped up in her history (children. Where she moved from) that I keep expecting her to “get wise”, change her mind, & abandon our relationship. She exhibits symptoms of bipolar & I am cyclothymic. We both have trauma histories. We express our love for each other, but outside of direct contact, I begin to doubt & build fear. Thoughts? Suggested articles?

Thanks for commenting Ron! When it comes to attachment to outcomes in relationships, books on attachment styles are extremely helpful. Two of my favorites are The Power of Attachment: How to Create Deep and Lasting Intimate Relationships by Diane Poole Heller, Ph.D. and Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A. Hope that helps!

So I think this article crystallizes a ton of stuff in my current life right now especially considered that subconsciously I had this feeling tonight around having zero attachment to an outcome so I threw it in Google and I found your article and I looked at your about your services and I am thinking that I should be on your email list ASAP as I am a first time entrepreneur starting over in life at 45 and a world of possibility and creative flow just waiting to be unlocked inside a recovery from C-PTSD from various trauma bonds with a strong feeling I have Dependent Personality traits at a minimum that caused me to freeze up in life the last several years and likely cost me my 11 year marriage.

So glad that you found the information helpful Tim! Thank you for sharing your story. I love the idea of unlocking “a world of possibility and creative flow” inside recovery from trauma. That’s where the treasure is. I wish you the best of luck with continued healing and entrepreneurship.

This is really great info and spot on. It’s the first time I’ve come across ask for more than what u want im going to give this a go and come back for an update. I feel super attached to an outcome especially because there is soooooooo much fear of scarcity attached. Makes me feel less crazy to read this, thanks again be back soon

So glad you found the “ask for more” tip helpful! It can really open things up. Good luck and please report back ;)

Dr. Kress,

After reading this blog post and “3 Signs You Should Take a Break From Manifesting”, I feel much, much better and have a deeper understanding of the feelings I’ve been feeling towards the ONE thing I’ve been trying to manifest.I know when I’ve manifested before, when I got the thing, it felt like the natural next step. This thing I was trying to manifest?? Felt like a huge LEAP!! Even in my mind, it was still me trying to impress the person and get them to like me versus it already happen. Once I let go, felt more into the realities of it in a neutral way, and released my attachment to the outcome–still working on it–feeling much better. Thank you so much. These blog posts have been extremely helpful. They’ve helped me crack the manifestation code. I’ve been very much out of the present and this was a gentle reminder. Thank you!

Hi Ash. So happy that you found the manifestation posts helpful! Manifestation can be a stressful process. Glad that you were able to experience some relief! I wish you the best with the process.

Technology can be wonderful. I asked my phone, “How can I make goals while not getting attached to outcomes?” Yours was the third article that came up and exactly what I needed to see. Step 3 was something that had never occurred to me. I tend to feel overwhelmed easily and Step 3 seems like a great way to get over that. And then, “The key is gentle but persistent nurturing.” OF COURSE!

I am, or have the potential to be, a highly creative person. But I’ve never attempted to create anything when my entire future and value as a human being wasn’t riding on the outcome. Working toward goals has never made me anything but miserable. This article will be very helpful moving forward. Many thanks.

So glad you found it helpful, Kirk! Yes, Step 3 can be a game-changer. Good luck to you!

Thank you so much for this wonderful article! I really needed it I’ve been looking for a job for quite some time and have had a lot of anxiety with it- I feel confident now that I can go forward and feel more relaxed. Thanks again

Hi Debbie. I’m so glad that you found the tips helpful! Good luck with the job search!

Thank you so much I’m going to start practicing and incorporating this now. I really feel like this is exactly what’s been blocking me from achieving my true purpose. thank you thank you!

Thank you for sharing! I’m found this to be very insightful and helpful. I will share with others❤️

So happy to hear that you found this post helpful, Leah! Thank you for sharing it!

Beautifully said! I’ve experienced this first hand in just the last few weeks! There is a beautiful moment of suspension where our hearts open, expand, and surrender… that’s when the magic happens. That’s where the particles align and creation exists.

Thanks, Crystal! So happy to hear that you experienced the expansion that comes from emotional surrender first hand! Like you said, the magic is in opening the heart!

Great read! I especially connected with the idea that only a part of you is attached to the outcome. This makes it seem more freeing to let go.

Also, step 3 was a wonderful suggestion! I will definitely be asking for more.

Hi Karolina! I’m so glad that you found the post helpful. Yes! It can really be freeing to think of the attached part as just a part that you can work with and reassure. And definitely keep asking for more!

Beautiful advice. I’m trying to find a new job and a boyfriend and I try to control everything. I like your post because it makes me feel like I can be gentler with myself. My mind and heart are closed and I’d like them to open again. I’ll try focusing on compassion to release my grip. Thank you.

So glad that you found it helpful Miranda. So many shifts can start to happen when we open our hearts and minds. Compassion makes it so much easier!

I love the idea of asking for more. I never understood this concept before. It makes a lot more sense to me now and I can start applying it immediately. Thank you!

Glad you found the post helpful, Abby. I’ve seen this one strategy work so many times, including with clients having multiples (hence the word of caution)! It’s just such an immediate relief for most people.

This happens to me all of the time!!! Thank you for sharing this post. It’s a totally different way to think about getting attached to outcomes. Such a relief.

It happens to all of us Carrie! Glad you found the post helpful. It’s so much easier to let go when we have self-compassion. Good luck!