Why Affirmations Don’t Work

Why Affirmations Don’t Work

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to explain why affirmations don’t work and what to do about it.

First a quick update:

For the Spanish speaking people, watch the interview I gave on America TeVe in Spanish: “Puede el fisico de Sarah Palin influenciar el voto?”  Como el experto en comportamiento humano yo explico las razones por la popularidad de Sarah Palin y hago una prediccion acerca de ella.

Thank you to the overwhelming responses from readers around the world with comments, praise and questions. I am not able to respond to all of your emails, so please post your questions and comments on my blog as there is a better chance that I will answer your question on my blog knowing that others can also receive help from my answers.

Now let’s talk about why affirmations don’t work and what to do about it.

An affirmation is the assertion that something exists or is true and it is always stated as positive, in the present tense and first person e.g. “I live in a house.” It is never stated in the negative “I am not fat” or in the future tense “I will be thin.”

The concept of an affirmation is to state something you want to be true with the intention of making it your truth and reality by changing your beliefs.

So why would I as a Celebrity Life Coach & Clinical Hypnotherapist teach or claim that affirmations don’t work?

As I explain in my audio book, “Get What You Want”, we learn one of two ways:

1. A highly emotional experience or event 

Example: As a child you go swimming in the ocean and you almost drown. The shock and intense emotion of almost drowning bypasses the logical conscious mind and the subconscious now believes that swimming in the ocean equals danger or pain. Accordingly, as an adult you are still frightened of swimming in the ocean –even in shallow water.

2. Repetition 

Example: If your parents consistently told you that you will amount to nothing and are worthless, then you end up believing it. The mere constant repetition of those words bypasses the conscious mind and is accepted as truth by the subconscious. Accordingly, as an adult, you still believe that you are worthless.

The theory proposed by many is that if we repeat sufficiently what we want or desire, we will change our beliefs and it will become our truth and reality. The reason we learn so easily as children via repetition is because we are like sponges, absorbing whatever we are told with little ability to analyze the implications and consequences of those things repeatedly told to us. We also easily accept what our parents told us because as children we idolize our parents and they stand over us like an eight-story building and we depend on them for survival as well as for love. In other words, our parents easily program us. As adults, for us to change those original beliefs requires either an intense emotional experience or a lot of repetition which, leads us to my second point.

Affirmations don’t work because there isn’t sufficient repetition and they are in constant battle with deeper long-standing beliefs.

For example, you might affirm one hundred times in the morning and one-hundred times at night that “I am a good person” but did you know that you have 65,000 thoughts a day – most of them unconscious thoughts? How many of those 65,000 thoughts support your affirmation that you are a good person? How many of those thoughts state the opposite – “I am stupid…lazy…fat…ugly…bad, etc.”?

The problem here is that affirmations do not take into account deeper beliefs and feelings.

How do you feel when you affirm “I am a good person” or “I make X dollars”?

I also teach in my audio book, “Get what you want” that you cannot succeed with affirmations by simply trying to force them down or using will power because that approach only triggers more resistance from the conscious and/or subconscious mind. The more you push and push, saying “I am thin” when you feel fat, the more resistance you will feel and get from the conscious mind which says “no, you’re not thin” and the subconscious mind which might say, “I don’t deserve to be thin” or “It’s not safe to be thin.”  I will expand on this point in a moment.

My key point here is that your affirmations must be in alignment with your deeper beliefs and they must become part of your everyday language. For example, you don’t need to affirm “I am John Smith (or whatever your name is)” because you know that to be true, you feel it and you believe it and, it is part of your everyday language.

So what is the answer to successfully using affirmations?

  1. Repeat your affirmation
  2. Spend a few moments visualizing the desired result and emotionalize it; feel it
  3. Ask yourself if you deserve the desired result or not

Let’s take the example of “I am thin.” You repeat it as normal and then you imagine what it would be and feel like to be thin. And finally, you ask, “Do I deserve to be thin? Is it OK for me to be thin? Am I afraid of being thin?”

The answers could be quite revealing and if you suddenly realize that you don’t feel good enough to be thin (guilt or self-punishment) or you are afraid of being thin because you might get too much attention, then you can work on those issues and beliefs; you can create a new affirmation to change the secondary beliefs e.g. “I forgive myself” or “It is OK and safe to get attention.”

You can also learn to incorporate your affirmations as part of your everyday language and begin throughout the day to imagine the desired result and act and feel as if you have the desired result.

In all cases, always, please, look at your deeper beliefs and work on changing them at a subconscious level. The fastest way to change your beliefs is to access your subconscious mind and for that, hypnosis is the fastest way. 

Check out my Blog and read my past Success Newsletters, post your comments and take a few exciting quizzes. If you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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3 replies
  1. Avatar
    Patrick says:

    Dear Doris,

    I am not sure to which one you are referring – the Ebook or the new audio book. The latter, “Secrets to Getting Over it” might be my best recommendation to you. If you email via the contact page, someone in my team will organize it so you can purchase it on its own.
    All the best,

  2. Avatar
    Doris Renison says:

    I would like to order the book about breakups, and betrayals…I do not want the set. Do you sell the book only?

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