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WOOP, WOOP vs. Procrastination

If you need a simple strategy to help you move from wishful thinking to goal achieving 👇

What is WOOP?

Apart from having a cool name, WOOP is a scientifically proven method that helps us achieve goals. It’s based on 20+ years of research on neuroscience and theories of motivation by psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen. It stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

How does it work?

WOOP takes you through the highs and lows and makes you come up with the plan. Research indicates that positive thinking only isn’t enough, because as our brain goes through the process, it can’t necessarily distinguish if the outcome in fact happened. For this reason, Oettingen complemented positive thinking with mental contrasting. This means that apart from visualising positive outcomes, we should also think about the internal obstacles which can obstruct us from reaching these results. In other words, we need to let our inner critic have a say.

The final and crucial step (after being dreamy & critical) is to create a plan with actions to overcome those inner obstacles. This mental strategy is called implementation intentions and it’s there to help us set a plan.

Here are two examples to help me illustrate that:

Example of my WOOP I Making content for Playground

Wish: I wish to publish 3 useful blog posts per week

Outcome: I feel pride as readers like the articles and sign up for Playground

Obstacle: Self-doubt

Plan: If I start to self-doubt, I will remind myself how the topics which I am writing about helped me.

Another example of WOOP I A 40-day yoga practice

Wish: Do 40 days of yoga challenge

Outcome: I will feel energized& balanced

Obstacle: What if I feel lazy or don’t have the time

Plan: I will see the yoga practice as a reward and do it right before or right after work.

Benefits of WOOP

I personally enjoy WOOP because of its simplicity and how widely I can apply it. When it comes to other people, research shows that these are all the areas where it has helped:

• Improved social behaviours – people find new solutions, became more tolerant etc.

• Helped people become healthier – exercise, better mental health, eat better.

• Improved academic performance – improved time management and grades.

WOOP instructs us to dream, but also to imagine what obstacles inside ourselves prevent us from achieving these dreams. If you want to try it out now, here is a link to the official WOOP website. Also, if you found this article useful, please consider sharing 🤗.

P.S. We use WOOP and other research-based strategies to help with goal-reaching during the 3 months of the anti-procrastination programe. Winter season starts Jan 23rd, just in time for actually taking on new years resolutions. How does it work? Learn more here.




WOOP is a great method, and like all others, it only works when you use it. Many people are not structured in the way they do things, and abiding by a method can be challenging in itself - someone should invent a method for that! :)

Joke aside, I found WOOP to be useful (when I remember to use it) to better specify my goals and put them in a more realistic context (the OO part). What I often get stuck with is the P - I usually find it difficult to come up with a P that is strong, a P that will make sense and keep me going every single time I run into an obstacle.

Maybe Ps…

Ida Radovanovic
Ida Radovanovic

Heey! I used to keep my WOOP in a folder and then I would forget it. So now instead, I keep it in my monthly Trello plan which I revisit daily. I find that this proximity and frequency really helps.

About Plan and motivation with quotes, I love your idea :). I usually choose one quote for the month which I add to the background of my phone to remind me and support me. I also make or collect thoughts and quotes based on obstacles that I face in creating Playground. It's kind of like an open diary of motivation :) You can see them here :)

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