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You and the WOOP Method

I am going to tell you a scientifically tested method that works that I picked up from NJlifehacks, a great resource, I recommend. The tactic uses an unusual mental tag to help you remember, it is called WOOP.


It is designed to change people's behaviors and achieve goals. It stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan. And it’s the combination of two tools called mental contrasting and implementation intentions. The “Wish”, “Outcome”, and “Obstacle” part of the technique comes from mental contrasting and the “Plan” part comes from implementation intentions. WOOP = Mental Contrasting (WOO_) + Implementation Intentions (___P). Both of these tools alone are already highly effective. Think of journaling. The paper and pen independently have a function but together they produce results. WOOP works in a simple 4-step process.


(1. Step: Wish) Remember a wish alone is not a strategy. Think of a wish as a goal Researchers believe you should choose a goal you would like to accomplish that is challenging, compelling, and realistic. The author also says if you choose an unrealistic goal, WOOP will make you less motivated, less energized, and less likely to achieve the goal. That’s a good thing because when that happens, you know that it’s not realistic, you can stop wasting your time, and set a more feasible goal.

Examples: “I want to read more articles in my field.” “I want to finish preparing a whitepaper by Friday."


(2 Step: Outcome) Take your time use all your senses. Visualize the best possible outcome that would result from accomplishing your goal? How would you feel?

Examples: “I'd feel better about myself.” “ my colleagues would praise me” “ I sense I am using my time wisely."


(3 Step: Obstacles) These are both self-imposed obstacles and imposed by others. What are the obstacles that prevent you from achieving your goal? What’s standing in the way between you and your goal? Visualize this obstacle Examples: “I don’t feel motivated or excited to work on the project.” “I procrastinate and get distracted by emails.” “ I feel guilty of taking time away from my family to journal."

" I feel my boss will not like my plan."


4 Step: Plan ( Never skip this step and rush to implementation.) Make a plan for overcoming your obstacle. What action would help you when your obstacle shows up? Create an if/then plan and visualize it in your mind. If / When _________ (obstacle), then I will __________ (action to overcome obstacle).

Examples: “ When I get up in the morning I have two articles by my bedside that I will read before breakfast. “If I get distracted during my work, then I block all emails and phone calls and get back to work.” “If I feel guilty of taking time away from my family I will make time for them and journal for a half an hour before I go to sleep" "If I am nervous to present a plan to my boss I feel I have all my facts in line with his goals."



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