Time to WOOP it up!!!


Recently, I was reading up on the benefits of ‘positive thinking’ with regard to goal achievement. As an optimist, I was relieved to find heaps of articles that say being optimistic and thinking positively are indispensable qualities of achievers. However, I did run across one article that seemed initially to take the opposite view.

Gabriele Oettingen, a New York University psychologist, wrote a book called Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation(2014). She is of the opinion that, if you have a goal that really matters to you, maintaining a rosy outlook on that goal can stop you from actually achieving it. SAY WHAT?!?!? As someone who is unfailingly positive and generally pretty darn motivated, I HAD to read more.

Turns out, after running a few scientific studies, she determined that blind optimism isn’t terribly motivating because, when you or I feel as if we already have achieved our goal (behaving ‘as if’), our bodies actually relax and our blood pressure goes down. Logical, right? Evidently, when our blood pressure goes down, so do our motivation and energy levels! Bummer. Only thinking or fantasising about our goal won’t give us the energy required to put in the effort we need to achieve it.

So, what are we supposed to do now? Think negatively all the time and raise our heart rates and stress levels just so we can have some energy to take action? That doesn’t sound very healthy to me. Well, Gabriele went on to explain that we’re actually allowed to fully immerse ourselves in the feeling of achievement and behaving ‘as if’ we already have achieved our goal. The KEY was that we can’t stop there! We need to then identify what is stopping us (the obstacles) from achieving our goal and put a plan in place to take action toward overcoming those obstacles. She called this process WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan).

WHEW! That makes sense to me. In fact, I think most of us subconsciously do this anyway. I can’t remember when I’ve gotten caught up in the FEELING of achieving a goal without actually thinking about what I needed to do next in order to ACTUALLY achieve it. There is no “secret” to goal achievement – no magic wand. You and I simply can’t wish things into being. We CAN, however, clearly visualise what we really want (using all 5 sense to create a really juicy and meaningful picture for ourselves), let it fill us with a sense of immense satisfaction for a few moments, then TAKE ACTION and keep our radar up for opportunities we otherwise might miss that will help us achieve that goal!

The power is YOURS to achieve your goals. So go on now and WOOP it up!!

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