Why your affirmations aren’t working!
Do you feel like you’re saying all your affirmations and they just aren’t working for you?
You’ve decided to give them a go because you’re CONSTANTLY reading about how amazing and life changing they are for other people and for some of the most successful people in the world…buuut something’s just not clicking for you.
It’s leaving you feeling annoyed, frustrated, and let’s be honest, a little bit ‘silly’ and wondering why you’re bothering with this ridiculousness and thinking everyone else is actually crazy pants.
You’re NOT alone.
It may just be a few key tweaks that could make all the difference for you. A little troubleshooting if you will. There is SO much science behind self affirmations (check out anything on self-affirmation theory from Claude Steele from 1988)
So what are they anyway?
Affirmations are essentially where you’re working with the subconscious mind and your unconscious beliefs to drive your conscious behaviour and create new, more helpful beliefs.
Affirmations can help you overcome those annoying self sabotaging thoughts that cause the self sabotaging behaviours that stop you getting what you want in life!
There are some key fundamentals as to why they might not be ‘working’ for you right now so lets see if we can sort a few of those out for you.
Back to basics
First of all there are the basics. Make sure your affirmation is in the present tense, so not ‘I will be’ but ‘I am.’ Next make sure it’s not including the word ‘don’t’. For example instead of ‘I don’t eat unhealthy foods’ use something like ‘I enjoy eating healthy food and how it gives me more energy’.
The reason for this is the brain doesn’t compute the word ‘don’t’, It will ignore it. So when you use don’t in an affirmation it’s affirming the opposite of what you want!
For example, ‘I don’t want to be a failure’ you’re just affirming that you want to be a failure. Try ‘I am taking positive steps towards my success every day.’ So those are the CORE basics.
Next up we have a few common things that people do that can get in the way of their affirmations working.
Magical unicorn affirmations?
You think they’re magic, rather than science.
SOoooooooo many people that teach them don’t give you the WHY or the basic background of why they work on a psychological and neurological level.
They give you fluffy stuff!
All that leads to is lack of motivation because really you don’t believe they’re going to work anyway.
Both won’t work!
All talk, no action!
Another thing that I see often is you’re not taking any actual action to make them true!
The affirmation itself is only HALF of the thing…you’ve gotta do the other half of the thing!!
The whole point of affirmations is to get your unconscious into a place where it lets you take the action towards your conscious desires so you can actually have them.
With ANYTHING there is always some sort of action required, even if it’s a baby step. It drives me mad that this seems to be the key thing that so many people leave out when it’s absolutely fundamental.
It’s all too conscious
It’s too…CONSCIOUS. Affirmations work with your UNCONSCIOUS mind.
You create cognitive dissonance when what you consciously affirm completely contradicts your unconscious beliefs. It’s almost like you’re actually just re-affirming the negative belief.
The little negative committee voice in your head says ‘err…don’t think so’ You’re essentially completely lying to yourself. You’re trying to affirm something that you 100% believe isn’t true.
For example when you’re told to use something like ‘I am financially free, money flows to me easily and effortlessly’. You KNOW this isn’t true right now so it does nothing but affirm your negative belief.
So flip it on it’s head, what COULD be true right now?
How about something like ‘I always find the money I need for the things I prioritise.’ That’s something you can likely get on board with and level up over time.
It takes you out of scarcity mode which is the important thing. Saying something you feel in your heart to be an outright lie can actually make you feel WORSE, which is backed up by various scientific studies!
They don’t feel good!
So not only are your affirmations not working, they’re making you feel WORSE!
They have to FEEL good, emotion is key, so it activates the reward centre of the brain which will help form the habit and for the new belief to be accepted as truth.
Make them more powerful by allowing yourself to visualise your life if they were all 100% true right now.
Your brain will do the rest of the work for you…it’s always trying to make you right and doesn’t distinguish between what’s real and imagined, positive or negative, so show it your ‘truth’ and let it get to work.
Make them even MORE powerful by saying them while you’re in the alpha brainwave state.
So that’s when you’re in a meditative state and also good first thing in the morning and just before you go to sleep.
You said them once
Another thing I see is a lack of consistency. You’re flippant with saying your affirmations and only say them ‘every now and again’ rather than making it part of your routine.
You want to be saying them or FEELING them as often as you can throughout the day. Pop ups in your phone, post it notes around your house, in your journal, whatever you need to do.
Particularly focus on first thing in the morning, around meditating and before you go to sleep like I mentioned. “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” – Zig Ziglar
Or here’s another for you, “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Earl Nightingale
Watch your words
Watch the language you’re using.
As I mentioned before, make sure the language is in the present tense and there are no negative words such as don’t. You’re saying affirmations to yourself all the time unconsciously.
That negative committee is having a field day in your head with them. ‘I’m not confident’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not good at X, Y, Z’. So you’ve got to make sure you turn the positive ones into habits so you stop believing and are able to challenge the negative ones more quickly. Watch out for using someone else’s affirmations too.
It’s SO important you write them for yourself, sure take inspiration from other people but it has to be your language, how you speak. It needs to be believable for YOU.
So sure take the ones that resonate but how would you say the same thing conversationally?
You’re just trying to get it off the to do list
If you spend a little bit of time reading the HUGE list of affirmations created ONCE like you’re just ticking something off the to do list and then spend the remaining part of your day telling yourself the opposite and how useless and ugly, fat, stupid, unlikeable and how you’ll never be successful.
Can you potentially see how that might be counter intuitive?
Back to action
Back to the actually taking action piece.
You may not have tried to fit your affirmations in with your goals…or set any at all! How do you expect to get what you want when you’re not 100% clear on what that is?!
What’s the motivation behind the affirmation, what does it get you in the long run? Try to create as much emotion as you can with it.
You don’t actually want it
Oooooh this is a biggie! If your affirmations are linked to something you think you SHOULD want, not what you actually want, you’re going to struggle.
They need to be in line with your core values, what YOU really want.
You’re trying to train your brain and your subconscious mind here, rewire it, create new neural pathways, train your reticular activating system.
That’s a LOT to ask if you’re sending such mixed messages.
In fact you’re not sending mixed messages you’re reading something and your subconscious will just go ‘that was weird, don’t know what that’s about’ and set back to sending you all the evidence and behaviours of the messages you’re sending it the rest of the time…DOH!
A couple of extra tips for you.
When you catch yourself in a negative nelly moment re-read them or say them to yourself…but FEEL them as if they were already true.
Writing affirmations by hand or saying them in front of a mirror, or even including your name can really turbocharge your affirmations.
Even doing them with somatic movement can be incredibly powerful! Revisit them regularly, they have to have some sort of emotional charge to them and often that changes over time. For example, you might need to actually up level some of them because your subconscious has caught up, so what would the next level version of it be?
I mean, at the end of the day, if 5 minutes of your time every day to say some words out loud with a little feeling can help you get everything you want…is it not worth giving a go? Hopefully a few of these tips will help you turbo charge those affirmations and start you seeing those all important results.
Make sure you tag me in on Instagram @imfranexcell.
If you got value from this and you know in your gut that now is the time to step up and start rewiring your thinking and changing things for yourself then book in a free discovery call so we can work out what needs to happen to get you from where you’re at right now, to the action taking success you know you can be!! If you want my eyes and ears on YOUR problems I work with people 1:1, through the Proactive Pants Programme and 1:1 full day intensives, stop waiting for if and when and decide to change things now!
Fran Excell, Subconscious Success Mentor & Host Of The Positive Pants Podcast – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at www.franexcell.com
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