The Top 5 Mistakes People Make with EFT Tapping

Written by: Nick Ortner

I often give radio interviews talking about “The Tapping Solution” documentary film and EFT in general, and one of the ideas I share is how Tapping takes 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. (This principle can be applied to most things in life!)

Tapping is surprisingly simple to learn. Even kids can pick it up quickly. But to get the best results, to be able to use it effectively for yourself and the ones you love, you have to keep studying, exploring, and using it.

That being said, here are the top 5 mistakes I see people make regarding Tapping.

Mistake #1 – Not Using It!

Ok, ok, I know this seems a little obvious… haha. But it’s a serious issue and one I’m sure you’ve faced. How often have you looked back on an event, or a day, or a physical problem you had for a while and thought, “Why didn’t I tap on that?”

I know I’ve spent half a day with a sore neck from sleeping wrong before I thought, “Duh! Tap on it!” And I’m supposed to be The Tapping Guy – how could I forget? 🙂

If you are unsure about what Tapping can help with, here’s a short list.

The reality is that this Tapping thing is relatively new for all of us. I’ve been using it, studying it, teaching about it for the past 10 years or so. But for the previous 25 years, I didn’t know about it, didn’t use it, had no experience of it. That’s A LOT of years of conditioning without having this tool, especially in the most formative years of childhood.

We simply haven’t had it as part of our lives, so we’ve developed habits that don’t include it. If you were taught how to tap as a child, and were instructed that it was just as important (or more!) as brushing your teeth, you’d have a different experience now.

So the most basic reason most of us don’t use it is that we simply forget. Now, there can also be deeper issues for not using it, such as self-sabotage, reversals, fear of change, and so forth. I’ll be covering those separately in future posts. But for now, it’s important to just recognize that when you don’t use it, it’s often simply because you don’t think of it – and to gently, and kindly remind yourself to USE IT! 🙂

Here’s a little Tapping script to clear some of that resistance and those old habits. Try it now and see how it affects your week.

Karate Chop: Even though I haven’t been using Tapping as much as I could, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Karate Chop: Even though I could have made my life easier by using Tapping on (fill in the blank of a recent time when you might have used it), I choose to relax and forgive myself now.
Karate Chop: Even though I’m not used to turning to Tapping to solve my problems, I choose to start using it. I choose to become more resourceful, and to remember to use this powerful tool!

Eyebrow: I haven’t been tapping
Side of the Eye: Why not?
Under the Eye: Am I sabotaging myself?
Under the Nose: Maybe…
Under the Mouth: Or maybe I just forgot
Collarbone: Maybe I’m just not used to doing this
Under the Arm: But I can start using it now
Top of the Head: I’m tapping now!

Eyebrow: And that’s great
Side of the Eye: I choose to remember
Under the Eye: To tap!
Under the Nose: I choose to develop this positive habit
Under the Mouth: That can help me so much
Collarbone: It will make my life easier
Under the Arm: And that’s a choice I want to make
Top of the Head: I choose to tap when I most need it

Take a deep breath…

And let it go… Repeat a few times, or focus in on anything that came up while doing those short rounds.

Ok, now on to…

Mistake #2 – Not Being Specific Enough

I always encourage people to start with global statements because it’s usually the easiest language to start with, and it can get things going in the right direction. What do I mean by a global statement? Something general like:

“Even though I’m not happy right now… I deeply and completely accept myself.”

That statement is global because it’s broad, and doesn’t focus on specifics.

From there, though, after a round or two of the global statement, it’s important to hone in on the specifics.

So in this case, you might go from, “Even though I’m not happy right now…” as the first statement, to “Even though I’m not happy right now because my boss was such a jerk today…”

Now you’ve focused on a specific event, which will get you better results. The more specific you can get, the better. Which leads us to Mistake #3…

Mistake #3 – Not Addressing All “Aspects” of the Problem

Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, was a genius at identifying the importance of “aspects” to getting great results. What’s meant by aspects? An aspect is a specific “part” of the issue.

So in the case above, “Not being happy” – we go from the general to the specific, “I’m not happy because my boss was such a jerk”, to even more specific “aspects”.

So here are some potential aspects in this example:

“I’m not happy because my boss yelled at me.” (This is an “audible” aspect of the event)

“I don’t like the way he looked at me.” (This is an aspect of the experience, the “visual cue”)

“I felt his words hit me in the pit of my stomach.” (Here’s a “body sensation” to address)

“I’m worried he’s going to fire me.” (A “future fear” to address)

“It reminds me of the way my father used to talk to me.” (A “childhood trauma” to address)

“I never have good relationships with my bosses.” (A “limiting belief/past experience” to address)

And we could go on and on!

Now, sometimes issues can be handled with global tapping, but the great thing about working through aspects is that you’ll likely uncover so much more stuff that’s going on in your life. And clearing this particular experience with your boss can have massive repercussions on a bunch of other things!

For example, you start with the experience with your boss. But then you tap on how your father used to talk to you, and you heal that relationship problem and have a better (and less reactive) experience with your boss.

If you take the time to do it right, it can have profound effects that last a lifetime.

Which leads perfectly into Mistake #4…

Mistake #4 – Not Tapping for Long Enough

This is a mistake I see A LOT of people make. They’ll say, “Yeah, I tried tapping on that, didn’t work.” And when I ask them how long they tapped on the issue, they say a couple of minutes, or a round or two! That’s rarely enough.

I see this in particular with physical pain. “Oh, my neck hurt so I tapped on it but it didn’t go away…”

“How long did you tap?”

“Two or three minutes.”


The 1-minute miracles DO happen, but more often than not, it takes some more sustained tapping.

I’m not saying that you have to spend hours doing it, but you really want to give it at least 15 minutes of sustained tapping to work through an issue properly.

My trick when I go to tap on something, is to set a timer or some sort of alarm, and I promise myself I won’t stop until the 15 minutes are up. This prevents me from giving up quickly, being distracted, and so forth.

Or can also download The Tapping Solution App and explore the many guided meditations in there. Then you won’t have to time yourself at all – simply listen and tap along!

And finally…

Mistake #5 – Not Writing Down What You’re Working On

If you’re working by yourself, I find it really helpful to have a pen and paper (or the computer) handy to take notes on what you want to work on, or to write down your progress on the 1-10 scale, or to record other things that come up while tapping.

The last item might be the most important – writing down other things that come up.

So here’s what this might look like. You write down:

“I’m frustrated with all the bills I got in the mail today. It’s a 7 on the 0-10 scale.”

You start tapping, the frustration goes down. But all of a sudden, some anger comes up. You write that down.

“I’m angry at myself for not working harder this month. It’s an 8.”

You tap on that. That eases, and turns to sadness.

“I’m sad that this keeps happening. It’s a 5.”

You tap on that.

You check back in on the frustration you wrote about above. That’s a 1, you barely feel it.

The anger moved to a 4. There’s still something there, you tap on that further.

While doing that tapping, you think of two events from your childhood.

“That time that my father said I’d never amount to anything.”

“My mother crying because we didn’t have enough money.”

You write down both events, because you know that you want to address each separately.

And so forth…

It is truly like peeling an onion. And while it might seem complicated at first, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. And it becomes even easier when you write stuff down and stay on track.

The other nice thing about writing things down is that if you’re not ready to tackle something right then, or don’t have the time to, you have it written down to go back to later.

Well, there you have it! The top 5 mistakes I see people make with EFT – and how to solve them!

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

Download The Tapping Solution App today!

What mistakes were you making? Share your results in the comment section below. I’d love to read them!

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407 Comments on this post

  1. Kari says:

    Thanks so much for these tips… Just wanted to say a great big THANKS! 🙂

  2. Cheryl B says:

    I have been tapping off and on for about 6 months now and I find it’s really
    helpful for physical pain because of the work I do.
    I work in a factory and use my fingers, hands, arms, and shoulders in
    unnatural ways, developing arthritis.
    But I use tapping for 5-10 minutes or before I go to bed at night and even
    if all the pain didn’t go away, I wake up with no pain.
    Also, since learning about tapping I tend to run out of things to say on the
    emotional level in other areas of life, but tapping still helps me be a little
    more grounded. You say to write things down while tapping – I didn’t know
    about this until now. Thank You.

  3. Fatima says:

    Thank-you! I really think that I need more time, and that others do too. Great input and it really has worked when I use it! Thanks again.

  4. vimal says:

    i have been trying surrogate EFT for my son who is suffering from a chronic is over a year now but without any success. i read all the e-mai ls to improve but no i wonder how and why people speak so high of it

  5. rod says:

    Thank you for sharing all these information about tapping. but could you give more info and touch on the more serious problems like cancer and how tapping can help or even heal it? any testimonials on tapping for cancer cure?
    I use the short tapping for dep sleep and that really works for me. now i do the tapping every night before sleeping. Again, thank youso much and keep it up.

  6. Miriam says:

    This topic really made me come face to face with the realities and reasons why I am interested in TAPPING and the reasons I do not TAP continuously.
    1. First and foremost; there is this nagging guilt that I am betraying my spiritual beliefs.
    2. Procrastination; probably due to not feeling creative enough to put together a Tapping script for the issues I would like to change.
    3. I realized I developed a typical after work day habit of sitting in front of the TV to watch the usual reruns because they do not require me thinking about what happens next therefore my learned way of relaxing.
    4. My husband and I are almost total opposites. I feel uncomfortable Tapping in my his presence. There is no where I can go for complete privacy.
    5. Lack of motivation and then of course, for all of the reasons you mentioned.
    Thank you for bringing up the hard facts that force us to see the truth of what may be holding us back from making positive changes. I believe there are things we can do to enjoy our life and if we do what we can do, God will do what we can’t do. I am hoping to break out of all of my bad habits and move forward. I need to give Tapping a real chance to work in me. It appears I have a lot of work to do. I thank you for reminding me and giving me the tools to succeed. Blessed be.

  7. Joann says:

    Thanks a lot for this! I especially appreciate the clear directions on the setup statements and when to tap with what. (I’m still learning – and unfortunately – forgetting to Tap!).

  8. Val says:

    Great timing and so so true, I will focus more and give myself the time thanks

  9. Jan says:

    Very powerful Nick, thank you for sharing 🙂

  10. judith says:

    Thanks, Nick. You always make good sense, have practical and useful observations and hints.
    I find that remembering what I know how to do to use it for myself is a fairly big challenge. EFT is what I’d think of first for anyone else who needs a helping hand….
    Good to hear it happens even to an ‘old pro’ like you, who teaches the method!
    Relief to know I’m not alone in this irrational ‘forgetfulness’ when it comes to the self.

  11. John G says:

    You hit the nail on the head, my head….. I learned tapping two years agoing and have not used it like I should have. I have helped many friends and co-workers but not myself. I am a first timer reading your work and do want to thank you. I will be reading and following you from now on.

    Thanks, John

  12. Meredith says:

    I keep getting your e-mails but totally missed your seminars on what tapping is. Will it run again?

  13. Carole Golden says:

    Hi Nick,
    I read and never comment. I love all that you offer! I have been tapping for years! It works fabulous. I have not been writing it down. So thankyou for the reminder!
    Carole from California

  14. Doran Fraser says:

    Thanks Nick, Your email helped me a lot. It reminded me to get back to tapping
    and I certainly was not tapping long enough on any particular problem. I am now
    more focused and expect big results as I had in the past. God Bless!

  15. Mahara says:

    Thanks Nick! This was helpful. It’s always helpful to have reminders! Blessings to you, Brother!

  16. Boguslaw says:

    Well, perhaps I will have a go with those 5 principles tomorrow or so. So if I understood them correctly, the principles are:
    1) use it for every important issue we want to change,
    2) be specific about feelings,
    3) address all aspects, or at least a few aspects,
    4) tap for long enough. I think I will start with 5 minutes of tapping,
    5) write down what you tap. This may be difficult for me, as I usually used to tap in different places during the day, not necessary having a pen and a paper around.

  17. Barbara Dixon says:

    You’re so sweet. Thank you for caring about us.

    I guess it’s like breathing: It’s really important to do well, but often we don’t want to do it a different way, because it’s not what we’re used to, and requires more effort.


  18. Ron says:

    Thank you Nick, I really appreciate your effort in writing that up for us. Hope to get to meet you someday. I’ve been using tapping for years, I go weeks sometimes not using it then begin to use it again; it would probably work better if I was doing it daily! There is always so far stuff to tap on!

  19. teresita says:


  20. Priscilla says:

    Wow, thanks Nick for these five mistakes – I’m guilty of giving up early. I do 1-2 rounds and think its enough. I am also guilty of not using tapping regularly and end up stressing and not sleeping because of something bugging me. What an eye opener!

  21. Pauline says:

    I am actually pretty good at telling other people how to tap and how good it is but seem to forget myself. Very grateful for the reminder and helpful hints.

  22. Asher says:

    its very helpfull to me thanks

  23. cim rodrigues says:

    Thanx for this, especially the one about not spending enough time to get real results. I think this has been my biggest shortfall in tapping as well as other energy methodologies – I expect immediate results, even many of my issues have been years in the making….

  24. kazem says:

    thank you for reminding us. EFT is a real powerful tool.

  25. rachel says:

    Thanks for all the emails and thankyou for all these tips xx

  26. pamela says:

    thank you, that was very helpful!

  27. Laura Lee says:

    just new to so much. This lesson on five reviews of why something doesn’t happen clarified for me steps for focusing and staying on task. Blessings, amnaste laura

  28. Erika Awakening says:

    “Tapping takes 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master.”

    Thanks for expressing this, Nick. It can be frustrating sometimes to see people say that “tapping doesn’t work” when they are essentially looking at a child’s finger painting instead of seeing the masterpiece that is possible. The finger painting is beautiful in its own way, but it barely touches what is possible with the art of tapping. Much gratitude for all you’ve done to bring tapping to a broader audience.

    Erika Awakening

  29. Charlene says:

    Thank you for the reminder that one short tapping session won’t solve an issue. I’m going to be more mindful that the amount of energy, time and focus I put forth, the better my result will be. Great advise, as usual. Thanks for everything you share with us. I’m so very appreciative.

  30. Koko says:

    Thank you sooooooo much! This really hit the nail on the head, and with good timing. All 5 mistakes are relevant for me, but #1 is my biggest problem. So I guess I’d better start tapping about not tapping! Looking forward to the info on self-sabotage, etc.

  31. Gene Essack says:

    You hit the nail on the head Nick….I don’t spend enough time on the tapping and find stagnation….your hints are very helpful and I can’t thank you enough….I am great at sharing the benefits of EFT with all I meet….but I also need to get my house in order… :(….:-)
    Ta very much

  32. Sara says:

    This is very useful. Cheers for your input in my life and this very morning!

  33. cecilia says:

    Hi Nick, I´m one of those who never comment but this time I feel like I´ve just gotta tell you how much I appreciate all the work you and Jessica do for us. I live in Mexico and have introduced my family and friends to tapping, but they often come up with questions that I don´t feel confident answering. This post really hit the nail on the head, thanks for all your insights and God bless you.

  34. Janiece Thompson says:

    Thank You So Much! I’ve been tapping on and off for a couple of years. When I first started, I had such amazing success that I couldn’t believe it. I told everybody I knew. After attending the Tapping Summit 2 years ago, I was able to let go of some very strong feelings of guilt that plagued me day in and day out for about 10 years. After tapping it totally went away and I was amazed and delighted. However, as time went on I was only able to see very small changes in the issues that I’ve been tapping on and I wasn’t sure what to do.

    Reading this article has given me some great suggestions on how to “peal the onion” and get to some deeper issues. Again, Than You So Much!

  35. Marcus says:

    Thanks Nick . You are great ! You correct a lot of mistakes that I’ve made in the past.
    Bless You .

  36. colleen says:

    Thank You Thank You Thank You, This really does help me instantly. I just have to take the time to do it. And this page is a keeper I need to print it out. Yesterday I thought I was goint to give my self a heart attack about the car breaking down. I remembered tapping at the last moment, Im still here and It is Ok, I am OK. It worked. One moment at a time. Thanks So much. Colleen

  37. Marjorie says:

    Nick, your Tapping Solution makes a great tool even better. Thanks for all you do to clarify things.
    Most of us would admit to each of these 5 mistakes at one time or another. I could ask the students of my Silva Method classes the same questions about the techniques they have learned and and get a similar response. We really have all the tools we need to solve every problem and yet we limit ourselves by not using them. Thanks especially for #3 and #5 to eliminate those limitations.

  38. Hilda Gardner says:

    Thank you so much for this e-mail. Every mistake listed fits the problems exactly. Number one has been my biggest mistake. When I started tapping I was amazed and pleased with the results. Then I didn’t feel such a push to tap and would forget to use it when I did need it. Your message was just what I needed to get started again and hopefully I will create the habit I need to continue. Tapping is sooooo powerful!!!!! Thank you again for keeping this alive.

  39. Tambra says:

    I love that you send these pointers. I am so grateful for TAPPING. This is a beautiful tool. Thank you so much!

  40. Kimmy says:

    Thank you for pointing out all these basic mistakes, these seem obvious at first, but for the inexperienced they are true ‘gems’ of information. I have to admit i’ve made most of these! So i’ve had a couple of ‘ah ha’ moments!! LOL! I’d heard the ‘peel the onion’ phrase before, but having you write down a typical tapping session that jumps around from topic to topic as the session progresses really helps me to understand why I seem to be a bit all over the place when trying to tap! it seems like there are so many things all at once that come up! Thank you for the amazing work you do and for all the help you offer to people. Cheers, Kimmy, NZ :o)

  41. Remy says:

    Hi Nick,
    Ever since I’ve learned about meridian tapping two years ago, your website introduced and referred to me by my sister, Lulu Robertson, all of us in the family have been using it and we feel great! Actually, we don’t use any affirmation whatsoever. We simply focus on feeling healthy and believe me, it works! Thanks a million to God and of course, to you and Jessica, for sharing such a wonderful knowledge, Nick. More power and God bless!

  42. Mary says:

    Nick I really appreciate your wonderful dedication in helping others learn and master the art of EFT. I have to admit that I have a real problem making a habit of tapping and even though I tell myself that I need to discipline myself to do it every single day…..I still find myself procrastinating. Fortunately you have given us a nudge and a sample tapping script to use, which I definitely will utilize!
    All of your examples are so clear and helpful ……it’s almost like ‘EFT for Dummies’. That may not be a good analogy but seriously, there are times when I wonder if I am a dummy because I continue to ignore the power of EFT many times when I could have used it.
    Thanks so much for your dedication.

  43. Mary says:

    Nick, you are so wonderful and supportive. I am not tapping like I need to, and I need your motivation just like so many others do. Thank you for being there for us, and I will do better.

  44. Gerald Schmidt says:

    Good afternoon Nick
    I am Just starting to learn this
    Thanks for the opertuneity


  45. Stephanie says:

    Bless you, Nick, great blog! I’ve had so many 1-minute miracles (my body just loves letting go of the “toxic waste dump” in my mind) that I love being reminded that some things could take 15 minutes or more! Setting the timer is a great idea, one that I will use. We love and appreciate you!

  46. Michelle says:

    I find it difficult coming up with an appropriate sequence of dialogue after getting specific with my main issue

  47. rosemary says:

    Oh thanks so much Nick, I really needed that reminder, just going thru a nasty divorce,broke and feeling rather overwhelmed, but I know I can do it…. just have to remember, to tap for longer, blessings

  48. Carol says:

    A few years past I was taught tapping. And was introduced to it again just last week. I received this email yesterday from my personal coach. I can say tapping does work. And I am a happy camper…to use it again.

  49. Anna Regina Barcellos says:

    Thank you Nick
    Underfull article…. I had forgetted to do it thank you to remenber me

  50. Angelina says:

    Hello Nick,

    I found this helpful reading over the 5 mistakes of tapping! I’m guility. Thanks for the reminder to get on with it….will put tapping in action everyday.

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