8 Reasons Your Affirmations Aren’t Working and How to Fix Them

How to Make Affirmations Work for You

If you’ve been saying affirmations to yourself for a while, but haven’t seen any results, here are 8 possible reasons why – and the ways you can fix them. 

You Aren’t Convinced Affirmations Actually Work

Did you decide to give affirmations a try after reading about how powerful they can be in helping a person become happier?  That’s great.

The problem with this, though, is that you might feel like the only person around saying these corny, awkward statements to yourself.

Your family members have most likely never talked about them.  Even most of your friends haven’t either.

On top of this, affirmations have been poked fun of through the years.  So, the thought of ever getting caught saying affirmations to yourself is just so embarrassing.

Feeling like you’re the only one trying something new like affirmations is challenging.  

And affirmations are like a lot of things that are good for us – it takes a while to start feeling their effects.  They can be likened to new habits like eating healthier and working on a new exercise routine.  It doesn’t always feel like a new habit is making a difference.  It just takes time.  

But, just know that affirmations have been around for a very long time.  How long?  Just think of this Bible verse, “In the beginning there was the word.” Or this one:

“What we think, we become.”

Know that they do work.  They are an amazing, misunderstood, and overlooked tool to help us become happier.  And they can help us in any area of our lives.

The solution:  Keep learning all you can about affirmations.  And keep learning all you can about reprogramming your subconscious mind.

You’ve Been Given the Wrong Advice About Them

I saw an Instagram post recently that was titled, “50 Ways to Beat Anxiety”.  There were suggestions for all kinds of things on that list.

Out of all 50, there was one little suggestion about affirmations.  And do you know what it said?  It said, “Try affirmations.”

My jaw couldn’t have indignantly dropped open any closer to the ground.  Try?  Try?  What do they mean try?  You try a new smoothie recipe.  You try a new pair of skinny jeans.  You don’t try something that is at the core of how we operate.  Ok, pompous rant over.

There are many people online like this who, don’t get me wrong – are teaching others a lot – but who most likely have no idea how powerful affirmations are and how to really use them. 

A lot of the advice out there is just generic, rehashed advice that’s been given out for years. Which leads me to believe that there are many experts who have no clue about the power of our subconscious minds and how to change our programming.  

Affirmations are one of the innate tools we have to reach in and start replacing the negative beliefs that are blocking our happiness.  Beliefs like, “I am unworthy.”  “I am lacking.”  are running our lives. 

This is how we talk to ourselves inside every day. So changing negative, critical, unhealthy self talk with repetition over time with affirmations is life-changing. It’s one important part of changing our programming.

And then there’s the bad advice out there that tells people to use affirmations today to ‘have a great day!’  This really gets my goat.  Affirmations aren’t meant to sugar coat your days and glaze over the parts you don’t like, so you can wear a smile on your face.

They are one of the amazing tools we all have at our disposal to help us change our programming deep inside, little by little, over time.

You’ve just got to learn the simple basics of using them.  Affirmations are so simple, even kids can learn to use them.  

The solution:  Here’s a great guide to get you started:  The Best Beginner’s Guide to Affirmations

More False Information You’ve Been Given

This false information is actually a misconception that most people unfortunately learn when they are young.  And I believe it’s one of the main reasons why people aren’t as happy as they wish they were.

It’s the misconception that our imaginations are sort of childs’ play.  Like once we ‘grow up’, it’s time to hang up our imaginations, so to speak.  Sure, we can use them for creative projects.  And people like artists, writers, inventors and actors use their imaginations.

But, there’s way more emphasis placed on seriousness and logic and knowledge.  And don’t get me wrong, these all have their place.  (Except for seriousness, in my opinion. There’s way too much of that going around.)

The thing is logic and knowledge are not running your life.  Your beliefs deep inside are.  And many of our beliefs were formed when we were very young.  They’re not logical.

Do you think the beliefs that you are not good enough or worthy enough is a logical estimate of your self worth?  Absolutely not.  So, going at bogus beliefs like this with logic is not going to do much.

Our conscious minds think logically. But, our beliefs are stored in our subconscious mind, which has no logic.

If you want to start becoming happier, don’t be afraid to use your imagination in ways you might never have done before.  This includes using affirmations to help change your programming.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein

The solution:  Don’t be afraid to get creative with your affirmations.  The good thing is no one has to know you’re even saying them to yourself.  

You are Not Believing Them

Affirmations are used to replace negative beliefs we have about ourselves with empowering new ones.  But, one of the main caveat’s to affirmations is that you have to actually believe them.

For example, say you want to replace the belief that you are not good enough with the affirmation, “I am good enough!”  So you start repeating this new affirmation to yourself.

But if as you’re saying it, you don’t believe it, then the affirmation won’t work.

The solution:  Customize your affirmations so that they are believable to you.  If saying, “I am good enough.” or “I have amazing confidence.”  isn’t authentic to you, then change them to ones like:

  • “I am becoming more confident, little by little, everyday.”
  • “I am learning that I am good enough.”
  • “I am growing in confidence in self worth.”

These will feel more authentic and believable to you, so they’ll work.  Then just add new ones as you grow out of them.  

You Haven’t Given Yourself Pep Talks

I know this one sounds so corny and even strange. But, one thing you’ve got to realize is that we talk to ourselves all day long inside. And if you’ve been trying to change something about yourself for some time now without much success, your self talk around that subject has been awful.

And by pep talk, it’s not like you have to look at yourself in the mirror and have a full blown conversation with the person looking back at you. Unless you’re comfortable with that. Then go for it. That can be really weird for most people.

But, just think about how we talk to young children.  We are always supporting and encouraging them – and teaching them new things about themselves and about the world.  And they thrive with this.

Unfortunately, this love and encouragement doesn’t always get transferred to ourselves.  Instead, we often become our own worst critics.  And since this is usually going on silently inside, we don’t even realize it.

One of the best things you could ever do for yourself – not only to make affirmations work – but to become a happier person, is to turn this self criticism around to self love!

Start treating yourself with as much acceptance and kindness as you do a young child.  Become your own best friend, your personal mentor and coach.  

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”  Buddha

The solution:  When you decide to start saying a new affirmation to yourself, first uncover the critical way you’ve been speaking to yourself around this subject.  Then give yourself a pep talk.  And continue this new habit of supporting and encouraging yourself with pep talks. 

You Are Not Feeling Them Strong Enough

Feelings are so important to our happiness.  We usually think of feelings as just reactions.  But, feelings are so much more than this.  We are creating our lives with our feelings.  And our affirmations need feelings to make them work.

The solution:  Say your affirmations with strong, empowering feelings at times to help them get cemented into your subconscious mind.

A good visual for this one is to think of successful athletes and celebrities. Picture the passion on their faces when they’re sharing their personal stories in interviews, for example. Picture the scenes we see sometimes of athletes working out day in and day out. The intense look on their faces. It’s all feelings.

You Are Not Repeating Them Often Enough

We have over 60,000 thoughts a day.  In an average person, 70% of their thoughts are negative.  

Just think about a belief you’ve been telling yourself.  Like, “I’m not good enough.”  Think of when you created that belief. A long time ago when you were a young child most likely.

With 60,000 thoughts a day, think of how many times you’ve silently said that statement to yourself through the years. 

If we were to do a little math right now to try and calculate how many times you’ve repeated a negative belief to yourself, it would be a lot!

That’s why you’ve got to keep repeating your new affirmations.  It’s a numbers game.

The solution:  Keep repeating your affirmation to yourself often throughout your days.  One trick is to make them short, catchy phrases, so they’re fast and easy to repeat.

You Are Not Giving Them Enough Time

Like we talked about in the last section, the negative beliefs about ourselves didn’t form overnight.  They built up over years and years.  That’s why it’s going to take lots of time to turn them around.

Think of it like dieting. We all know that quick diets don’t work. Instead, losing weight, for instance, is about changing your eating and exercising habits slowly and steadily over time – for good.

It’s the same with using affirmations. They are a new habit that takes time. You’ll see changes in the months ahead. But, they are really a new lifelong mindset for you to adopt.

The solution:  Just make saying affirmations a new way of life from now on.  Let them sink into your subconscious mind to change your negative beliefs over time.  Just have patience and, in time, you’ll be amazed at the progress you’ll begin seeing.

If you want to get more ways to begin reprogramming your mind, there are lots of blog posts here at finallyworryfree.org and here’s the link to my Youtube channel.

Thanks for reading!


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