New York University professors Dr. Gabriele Oettingen and Dr. Peter Gollwitzer developed a mental strategy called WOOP* (Wish, Outcome, Ostacle, Plan) that has been shown through over 20 years of research to help people change to healthier habits, improve social behavior, and improve academic performance.
The best part? It only takes 5 minutes of your time.
Here’s what you do:
Try to keep responses to each prompt succinct — one sentence if possible.
- Wish: think about a specific time frame (the next month, next quarter, etc) and write down what specifically what you would like to fulfill that you also think could reasonably be fulfilled during the time period you selected.
- Outcome: Write down what the best outcome would be as a result of fulfilling your wish.
- Obstacle: Write down what major obstacle would stand in the way of completing your wish — dig deep and really think about what your one main inner obstacle is. Now imagine this obstacle as vividly as possible: what does it look like? How does it feel? Then move on to the next section..
- Plan: Write down what action or thought you can invoke to overcome your obstacle. Structure as an if-then statement, e.g.: if I feel the urge to postpone this goal, then I will remind myself of who I am doing pursuing this goal for to overcome the urge.
That’s it — whenever you do this, you supercharge your efforts to become the best possible version of yourself.
*For more information, check out woopmylife.org