The goal setting strategy

Science has shown that positive thinking doesn’t really help you fulfill your goals. It takes a proper evaluation of the positive feelings for change to actually happen. WOOP – an abbreviation for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan – is a strategy for this developed by Oettingen, a german psychologist.

WOOP works in a simple 4-step process.

Step1. Wish

Choose a goal that is important to you, and that requires a bit of work to achieve. It should feel realistic and obtainable to you. Visualize the goal in your mind.

The more realistic the goal is, the more likely it is for you to stay motivated and actually fulfill it. If the goals feels completely unobtainable to you, it is probably time to stop wasting your time and set a more feasible goal or cut it up into smaller goals.

This is called “mental contrasting”, and helps you find goals the right goals to work towards.

Step2. Outcome

This is the best possible outcomes as a result of reaching your goal. What will it give your or how will it make you feel?

Visualizing the outcomes helps you evaluate if the goals is worth pursuing, but also to remind you at hard times as to why you should keep fighting.

Step3. Obstacle

What are the obstacles that stands in your way? Imagine it in your mind, like an athlete imagines jumping over a bar before he actually does it.

If your first response is “money”, think a step further and ask yourself what that money actually would be used for. There might be other ways to fight the obstacles instead of paying for them to go away.

Step4. Plan

List all the tasks or mental hacks that you will need to perform in order to eliminate all the obstacles.

Trust the science! It is proven that visualizing the steps and writing down a plan increases the chances of success by approximately 50% compared to just deciding in your head that you will do something.