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Why Affirmations, Goal Setting, and Positive Thinking Do NOT Work?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I will be doing a radio interview tomorrow morning with “The Coaching Show with Christopher McAuliffe.” Find out more and listen to archives from the show.

As I think about the interview, I think about the most often asked question I get these days – about why I claim that affirmations, goal setting and positive thinking do not work?
I often get heat from clients when I say that repeating affirmations is a self-improvement tool that doesn’t work!   This is NOT because I believe affirmations and positive thinking can not be powerful tools in manifesting our dreams.  It is because I know that unless we acknowledge and release our underlying negative thought or belief that is currently directing our entire system – brain, heart-rate, perceptions, behavioral reactions, blood pressure, breathing, etc… -- we will continue fighting ourselves:  “I have all that it takes to be successful” vs. “I’m doomed to fail!”

There are ways, however, to make affirmative statements effective. But just plopping a happy, fluffy, shiny thought over grimy, nasty, negative one does not work.  The way to make affirmations effective is to unearth the negative belief that’s fighting it before attempting to rewire yourself with a new truth that you want to start living by.

Here is the way to make those affirmations start working for you!  

1) Acknowledge the negative thought
2) Breathe with attention directed toward the feeling.  Experience how that thought makes you feel—whether the feeling is physical (tight neck, jittery stomach) or emotional (frustrated, angry, panicy),
3) Cleanse that negative thought and it’s associated feeling from your brain and physiology. Breathe in – acknowledge the thought and its associated feeling.  Breathe out – release it from your system.
4) Rewire in a new truth that you want to start living your life by. 
Using these 4 steps you are paving the way for your affirmation to take root and start supporting all you want to have, do, or be.

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