Gabriele Oettingen is a world-class researcher who has spent her career studying the science of making your dreams come to life.
In her book Rethinking Positive Thinking, she tells us that it’s simply not enough to visualize our ideal life vision-board style. Although it’s very important to start with a vision of our ideal lives, we then need to “rub it up against reality.”
She created something called “WOOP” to help us make our dreams a reality. Here’s the quick take:
W is for Wish
O is for Outcome (or benefits—kinda like the “why”)
O is for Obstacles
P is for Plan
So, start with the Wish. What do you want in life? If you could wave a wand and create anything (in general or specific to particular goal/project) what would you see?
Seriously. Do that right now. Think of the most important goal in your life right now. What is it?
Wave a wand. Everything goes perfectly. What do you achieve? Capture that in a few words. That’s your wish.
Now, think about the Outcome you will experience when that Wish is present. (Technically, I think “Benefits” would be a better word here but WBOP isn’t quite as cool as WOOP, eh?)
Think of all the benefits achieving that wish will bring to you. See it. FEEL IT. It’s super important to get really fired up about it.
Once we’ve got that dialed in, it’s time to rub that vision up against reality.
What Obstacles will you face? You’ve gotta KNOW you’re going to face obstacles and KNOW you have what it takes to get over/under/across/thru/whatever them. Embrace reality so you can properly prepare for it and create the reality you want.
Once we’ve identified the Obstacles we need to create our Plan.
The heart of this is something called “implementation intentions”–which are a genius way to anticipate challenges and deal with them in advance. If x happens, then I will do y.
What’s your plan to deal with the obstacles so you can experience the benefits of bringing your wish to life?
I WOOP everything.
From big goals to the next meeting I have.
Science says: WOOP! There it is.