WOOP can support all areas of behavior change. It is for people who feel stuck and don’t know what to do. It is also for people whose lives seem just fine but who feel they can do better. And it is for people who face a particular challenge or transition. Ultimately, WOOP is for all of us. We all need support regulating ourselves so as to initiate, sustain, and complete our daily chores and pursue our long-term goals. By learning and applying WOOP, you will come away more motivated and skilled to connect with others, engage with the world, and take action. Use WOOP to excel at work, promote good health, enjoy relationships more, and live a happier life.
The four steps of WOOP:
WHAT IS YOUR WISH?
What is your most important wish or concern? Pick a wish that feels challenging but that you can reasonably fulfill within the next four weeks.
WHAT IS THE BEST OUTCOME?
If your wish is fulfilled, where would that leave you? What would be the best, most positive outcome? How would fulfilling your wish make you feel?
Identify your best outcome and take a moment to imagine it as fully as you can.
WHAT IS YOUR MAIN INNER OBSTACLE?
What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish? It might be an emotion, an irrational belief, or a bad habit. Think more deeply—what is it really?
Identify your main inner obstacle and take a moment to imagine it fully.
MAKE A PLAN
What can you do to overcome your obstacle? Identify one action you can take or one thought you can think to overcome your obstacle.
Make the following plan for yourself:
“If… (obstacle), then I will … (action or thought).”
Gabriele Oettingen is a Professor of Psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg. She is the author of more than a 150 articles and book chapters on thinking about the future and the control of cognition, emotion, and behavior. She received her Ph.D. from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Seewiesen, Germany. Her major contribution to the field is research on the perils of positive thinking and on Mental Contrasting, a self-regulation technique that is effective for mastering one’s everyday life and long-term development. Gabriele Oettingen’s work is published in social and personality psychology, developmental and educational psychology, in health and clinical psychology, in organizational and consumer psychology, as well as in neuropsychological and medical journals.