Updated: Apr 23
I just learned about WOOP as another model for goal-setting, and want to quickly share it with you today. I like it for big picture goals, to help envision dreams and identify obstacles to those wishes and how you might overcome them. You can learn everything you want to know about WOOP at woopmylife.org. I'm going to let them explain it to you in this video, and then I'll give you an example of how I used the online version of their app.
Wish: Identify a meaningful and attainable wish for what you would like to happen in your life.
Outcome: Imagine you are experiencing it.
Obstacle: Identify obstacles that are holding you back from reaching that goal.
Plan: Create an if/then plan to overcome the obstacles.
Researcher Gabriele Oettingen found that imagining ourselves in our ideal situation actually makes us less motivated to fulfill our goals. According to her research, and that of Peter Gollwitzer, what does work is "mental contrasting" and "implementation intentions."
Mental contrasting starts with identifying and imagining your preferred outcome (the Wish & Outcome) and then contrasting it with the thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and habits that might keep you from getting to that goal.
Then implementation intentions are the if/then plan you decide you will follow to overcome those obstacles.
I used the online version of the WOOP app to do this exercise for myself. Here's what I ended up with:
Your Wish: To become a full-time writer/coach.
Your best Outcome: I would have flexibility in work schedule*
Your inner Obstacle: I need financial security.
Your Plan: If "I need financial security" then I will "begin part-time until I have confidence and savings."
My only issue with using the online app (I haven't tried the phone version) is that the instructions limited the number of words of the best outcome to 3-6 words, which is simply not enough to really envision a wish's outcome and emotions. My real best outcome would be to have the time and flexibility to travel and explore new ideas and to have deeply engaging work.
Generally, this is a pretty cool app based on research. Check it out and see what you think, then drop me an email email@example.com or leave a comment here. And if you want to help support my freelance life goal, use the advertising links in my articles or contact me to discuss coaching options.