WOOP is a four-step mental strategy for achieving your wishes or goals. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.
Psychologist Gabriele Oettingen has studied dieters, students, job seekers, love seekers and others striving to accomplish goals. She’s found they all have something in common: Those who have stronger, more positive fantasies about reaching their goals are actually less likely to achieve them. They lose fewer pounds, earn worse grades, receive fewer job offers, and even recover from injury more slowly.
Identify your wish. This could be to learn a language, a career goal, a better grade… what ever you want!
Identify the best possible outcome of that wish coming true. How would you feel if you could achieve your goal? If you got a better grade, maybe you’d feel more confident in the class? If you were noticed by your boss, maybe there’s a promotion on the horizon.
What obstacles are keeping you from fulfilling your wish? What’s holding you back? Identify any fears, feelings or situations that are getting in the way of achieving your goal.
How are you going to fulfill your wish? What can you do to start overcoming those obstacles? What can you do to get things started? Create a plan to get to your goal. Try to keep the steps small and specific.
The WOOP method is not just for major life changes, it can be used for any goal, big or small. The research showed some amazing gains from the participants. For instance, WOOP helped study participants:
- Double the amount of exercise over a four-month period and increase fruit and vegetable intake by 30 percent.
- Reduce insecurity-based behaviours and increase commitment in relationships.
- Increased high school students’ efforts to study for tests by 60 percent.
WOOP helped patients suffering from Type II Diabetes improve their self-care.
- Helped participants increase tolerance and social responsibility towards people of prejudiced groups.
Gabriele Oettingen is the author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside The New Science Of Motivation.