Affirmations Not Working

No matter how hard you try, do you feel that your “positive pep talks” just aren’t working?

Well, you certainly aren’t alone, and I will tell you what to do about it.

Many of us have been told by a coach, a friend or other well-meaning individual, that we should stand in front of the mirror each morning before we start our day and say something very affirming out loud.  This will give us the courage to reach our goals and achieve many wonderful successes. 

And many of us start out, trying to do just that.  But somehow it just never seems to help much.  Why is that?

What is the Main Problem With Your Daily Affirmations?

With your daily affirmations?  Probably nothing.  With the person delivering them?  Huge problem.  Why?  Because the person delivering the affirmations is probably you.  You, who really doesn’t believe in yourself in the first place.  You, who is tormented with self-doubts.  You, who would rather believe in anyone but you.  Do you see why this isn’t working?

When the person you least believe in—yourself—is the person staring back at you in the mirror making these declarations, it’s hard to really believe anything.  In his book, The Secret Code of Success, Noah St. John pointed this out.

So, What Can You Do About Your Daily Affirmations?

You can make them believable.  How?  By finding other people to say these things about you and then repeat what they have said. 

So, if you can’t believe what comes out of your mouth, then maybe you can believe what comes out of someone else’s mouth.  How do you do this?  I will explain this as we continue here.

Let Someone Else Endorse Your Daily Affirmations

What I normally tell coaching clients to do is to go to and find a quote they could use.  There are famous quotes on encouragement, endurance, letting go, fear, and just about anything else. 

Be selective.  Choose a quote that you can connect with from someone you admire.  Then recite the quote to yourself each morning, giving the quotation’s originator with his/her credentials.  After you recite the quote with its originator and his/her credentials, follow it up with a paraphrase of your affirmation. 

Let me give you an example of how this should work. 

Say for example that you go to the Thoughtful Mind link above and find a quote on fear by none other than Franklin D. Roosevelt.  You connect with the quote and think it would be a good one for what you are going through.  For simplicity’s sake, we’ll choose the famous fear quote by FDR.

So the next morning you will stand in front of the mirror and do this.  You’ll say out loud, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Pause.

Now, say “This came from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States from 1933 to 1945, who led the United States through the Great Depression and World War II.”  Pause briefly again.

Now the last step is to add your own affirmation to former President Roosevelt’s.  It should sound something like the following:

“Because Roosevelt himself told all of us Americans that we have nothing to fear, that includes me.  I can believe it.  I am not going to fear my next job interview, but courageously do my best to answer the interview questions with confidence and truth.”  (Definitely add your own wording here.)

Now, coming from the former Commander in Chief, I think you get the picture here. 

The Reason This New Way of Stating Affirmations Works

Again, the reason that this new way works, is because you are not listening to the person that you don’t believe—you.  You are listening to someone else and affirming what they are saying.

We’ve all hear the legal term guilty by association.  Now, you can be affirmed by association.  At least, that is how I like to refer to it.    

I know people who take scriptures out of The Bible and do the same exercise we’ve just discussed. 

Need Affirmations A “Little Closer to Home”?

Ask friends, family, co-workers or colleagues to help you compile a list of positive things that they can say about you or your work.  Maybe you are struggling to be an organized person; however, a member of your local PTA commented on how well you organized the school bake sale.

You may take this individual’s quote and credentials and add your own affirmation exactly like you did in the job interview/FDR example.  If you aren’t sure of the person’s credentials, you can always just describe them as something like “a friendly, caring neighbor who I’ve known for 11 years.”

In Conclusion

If others can believe in you, then it’s time you believe in YOU.  You are welcome to make their beliefs your own.  One day, you can believe in you.

 How are you going to up your game this week?  I’d love to hear from you.


PFYP Certified Career Coach
Leisa Bain Good is a certified PFYP™ career coach and the owner of Powerfully Purposed for Success. She offers a unique style of career coaching tailored to freelancers, artists, solo-preneurs, entrepreneurs, and those with non-traditional jobs. She also helps those who'd like to go freelance figure out what they really want out of life and finally get there!


Leisa Bain Good is a certified PFYP™ career coach and the owner of Powerfully Purposed for Success. She offers a unique style of career coaching tailored to freelancers, artists, solo-preneurs, entrepreneurs, and those with non-traditional jobs. She also helps those who'd like to go freelance figure out what they really want out of life and finally get there!

10 thoughts on “Why Your Daily Affirmations May Be Holding You Back

  1. I also use a similar system with my baseball buddies that I play ball with on Saturdays. We like go back and forth commenting on each others’ past game experiences by mentioning all of the positive things each of us did and affirm it. Hearing many positive things from many people raises everyone’s confidence.

    1. I try to every morning, get me my coffeethen go to my mirror and sort of talk to myself
      I guess to hype myself up for the day… and say first Thank you dear lord for blessing me with
      another day. I will handle anything that comes my way,as I can do this, I am a good person.

      1. That’s a great idea. You are acknowledging that you are a good person (no ego present, sounds humble), and thanking God for the day. There are many people who will never see another day, so just to have the day and thank God for it, creates an “attitude of gratitude”. Great points.

  2. I have a favorite quote by Mother Teresa. I’ve always loved it, having grown up with a social phobia which turned into depression by high school, and which I did not completely overcome until after my salvation at age 33. But ever since overcoming it, I still struggle with self-doubt occasionally, and this quote helps me:

    “People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
    Forgive them anyway.
    If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
    Be kind anyway.
    If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
    Succeed anyway.
    If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
    Be honest and frank anyway.
    What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
    Build anyway.
    If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
    Be happy anyway.
    The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
    Do good anyway.
    Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
    Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
    You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
    It was never between you and them anyway.”

    Now, I’ve never considered putting it on my mirror and using it as motivation every day. However, I love this quote so much that I’m going to do this at your suggestion! What a great idea, and I know it will help me start my days with a positive affirmation.

  3. Affirmations might not working for someone just because they have double affirmations going on at the same time….one positive and one negative. For example: If you say: “I want to win the lottery!!!!” But then, you think “the lotto is hard to win!” Guess what? You will not win because the negative affirmation turned off the positive affirmation and desire. I invite everyone to watch or read The Secret. It is fabulous and very useful!

  4. This post brought up a great point. I can’t motivate myself because I’m too focused on negatives. I tend to rely on my husband to tell me the affirmations that I need to hear but I really love the idea of finding a quote to apply to my situation as it allows me to be a little more independent.

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