When Affirmations DON’T Work

A little disclaimer up front. 

If affirmations ARE getting you to what you want, skip this podcast episode.

But if affirmations don’t work for you, there is a better way.



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HABIT STACKER: When Affirmations DON’T Work

Depending on the input we provide the brain with, it will respond by sending us into an unconscious pattern of internal conflict OR it will find exactly what we need.

Affirmations are obviously a statement to confirm something, but if you’re like me, more often an affirmation serves to bring me pessimistic, internal conflict.

A while back, when I looked toward what I really wanted in the areas of whole life, there was this thing, this trait, that always seemed to limit that, and get in the way of what I really wanted.

That thing was Self-Confidence.

“Affirmations”, I thought. “Maybe they will be helpful”.

So I stood in the mirror, day after day, looked into my eyes, present and grounded.

“I’m a confident woman”, I’d say.

Out came the words. Affirmed.

But, The loudest words I heard in the prompt response to that affirmation were…..

“No you’re not! And whilst I have your attention, let me share with you 101 reasons why you’re not”

So, I’d end up focusing my energy and attention on that list of evidence to support the contrary of my affirmation.

And let me tell you, we all have a solid list to defy the affirmation. Because if we go through our days, like the majority of the population, without a system to pattern interrupt, we are making that list of short-fallings constantly.

Apparently, we confirm our short-fallings at around the level of 70% negative to 30% positive. This list to the contrary of what you want to affirm, is pretty quick to be delivered.

There is a better way than affirmations. If they’re not useful to you either. One that stops the natural brain’s anterior cingulate cortex response of finding the conflict between what you intend and what you believe true. One that stops us diving back in to frustrating patterns of autopilot and self-criticism. A better way that instead drives the brain toward what it does so powerfully.

Problem solving.

The brain is the very best problem solver if we direct it intentionally rather than letting it loose.

And that direction would sound like this: ‘Share with me, the evidence that I am confident?

Now the brain only has one job to do. Solve the mystery. Find the evidence.

It changes from an instruction of ‘find the conflict’ to ‘find the evidence’. 

It creates a mental image that is 300-400 x more effective than it would in affirming something not yet part of who we believe ourselves to be. 

In doing so, this mental image of the time when you acted confidently, has also highlighted a behaviour that you have taken. You now have an image in your powerful mind of what you can do again. It’s a small win toward self-confidence.

It doesn’t matter if it’s confidence you’re working on developing obviously, or any other virtue or character trait, for most people, affirmations aren’t superbly helpful unless you already identify with the things you’re seeking as being part of who you are; your identity.

But if self-confidence is something you’d love to develop, you can, even if you’re introverted, and in the next episode of The Next Generation Wellness Podcast I am going to share with you the steps to do just that.

So, try this on, and let me know how you go. But before you run, if you ask the question, and you try to tell yourself there is no evidence, then stop being stubborn. Pause two beats longer, and ask the question again.

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