Have you ever set a new year’s resolution to lose weight, regain your health, get fit or just implement a new meditation practice but then failed? I hate that word by the way. But that’s what it can feel like sometimes. Truth is it’s not a failure, it’s a learning experience, right? 

I just so happen to love learning about ways to make reaching our goals more attainable. This is especially important for my line of work where health goals can be some of the toughest to reach. Today I want to introduce a technique that’s new to me that I’ve just learned called WOOP. WOOP is a scientifically proven tool to help us achieve our goals. 

This technique was developed by Gabriele Oettingen. She’s a leading scientist in the field of motivation and goal attainment. 

WOOP stands for:

Wish

Outcome

Obstacle

Plan

This is a combination of something called mental contrasting and implementation intentions. Gabriele calls this a “cleaning up tool” and can be used in just 5 minutes a day once you get used to the process. You can also apply this within any time frame for instance your wish could be about what you want for your day, week, month or year. WOOP

Wish

This step is all about deciding what you want to achieve. This can be a behavior, skill or getting in shape for your first marathon. Try to pick just one main goal and make it specific. The more specific you are the better.  So if you have a big goal like running your first marathon break this down into smaller goals which might include exercise and an eating plan.

Note that if you make the goal too high achieving and unattainable, this process will help make that obvious. This isn’t’ to say that you can achieve a high goal! But rather take a smaller step (but still a challenging step) towards that goal in order to make it achieve it. 

When you do this, try to give yourself some uninterrupted time to sit quietly and dream. What is it you’d like to make happen?

Examples might include:

  • “I want to do pilates 3 times this week”
  • “I want to eat 6 servings of non-starchy vegetables today”
  • “I want to find and complete a 5 day detox program”

Outcome

Imagine what the best outcome is of your wish. Be sure to really feel into this. 

Examples:

  • “I feel stronger and proud of myself for making it to pilates”
  • “I feel more energized when I eat 6 servings of vegetables”
  • “I feel clearer and accomplished because I fully committed to the detox program”

Obstacles

What are the obstacles to achieving your goal? Really go deep for this. What is it in you that might create the obstacle? This can be resistance, an irrational belief, bad habits or patterns. Give those obstacles some definition, really think clearly about them. Again feel them and see them when you imagine these obstacles. 

Examples:

  • “I don’t feel motivated to get up when the alarm goes off to get to the pilates class before work”
  • “I feel like preparing vegetables takes so much time, sometimes I’m just too hungry to wait through all the prep work”
  • “I’m anxious, so many programs I’ve started but not completed. I know I need this detox but what if I sign up and don’t make it through”

Plan

What can you to do overcome your obstacles? Create an if/then plan and then visualize you doing that plan. 

If/When  _______ (obstacle), then I will ________ (action to overcome that obstacle)

Examples:

  • “When my alarm goes off, then I will flip off the covers and sit up in bed with feet on the floor next to my pilates bag.”
  • “When I come home with groceries filled with veggies, then I will prep them and put them in the fridge ready to go when mealtime comes”
  • “If I feel anxious about not completing the detox program, then I will prep the next day’s meals so I feel ready to move forward”

This has been extensively scientifically studies and if you’d like to learn more about WOOPing you can go here to learn more and even to try out your first WOOPing session!

To learn more about ways you can balance your body, join my 5 Day Summer Detox for Beginners. This program starts on August 17th but registration closes on the 15th. Hope to see you there! 

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