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The WOOP WOOP Effect

WOOPing your way to success!

Author: Daniela (Young Reporter, Costa Rica)



What goal do you currently feel stuck on? Perhaps even discouraged from working on? You might feel like you don’t have the time… the resources… the aptitudes… whatever it may be to reach that goal, but I’m here to tell you that you might just need a new strategy! It all starts with perception. Because of how our minds work, we build automatic mental models based on facts or experiences. This mental model, or this perception of a situation, may discourage us from starting or continuing any kind of goal, from a daily expectation to a lifelong dream. If we were able to shift that negative mindset into a positive one, we would be propelled by newfound motivation coming from the sole fact of believing in ourselves, which can be one of the most decisive factors in achieving success.


So... what is the magic strategy? Gabriele Oettingen, who recently published her book Rethinking Positive Thinking LIB/e: Inside the New Science of Motivation, is a researcher, author, and psychology professor at New York University and the University of Hamburg. She has come up with a scientifically-proven method to change your perspective and achieve your goals: WOOP! I was introduced to WOOP as part of a training program when volunteering for a global organization, and I could quickly notice the huge, positive change it caused in my work ethic. Using it not only improved the quality of my projects, but also allowed me to empower myself by learning how to work with my strengths and weaknesses. Since then, I’ve been employing the method even in my smallest goals.


The WOOP strategy is divided into 4 steps: wish, outcome, obstacle, and plan. The first step (wish) is identifying the goal, what you want to achieve. Keep it in mind always, and remember that it must be achievable, but how challenging it might be isn’t a problem. The second step (outcome) is thinking about the best possible result that you could get, and with that, identifying the outcome that you would most want to have. The third step (obstacle) would be visualizing the obstacles, but those within you. We often focus on obstacles outside of our limits, which then leads to an excuse as to why we can’t do anything about it. However, if we concentrate on internal obstacles that we can control, as difficult as they may be, they are possible to overcome. Finally, the fourth step is planning your reaction to the obstacles if they were to arrive. If you think about how you could deal with it if it showed up, you’ll be prepared and able to handle them more efficiently.


The great thing about this method is that you can apply it to every situation in your life. Are you starting a project? Use it! Do you want to go vegan? Use it! Would you like to improve your public speaking skills? Use it! So next time you start feeling like you can’t start or continue a goal, think back to how your perception may be influencing it and apply the WOOP strategy!

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