I’ve been using WOOP for eight months now and noticed the positive effects. The WOOP method is one of the very few morning routines I have because it’s so simple, quick and yet effective way to make things happen.
What is the WOOP method?
The letters come from W – Wish, O – Outcome, O – Obstacle and P – Plan.
In a nutshell, the method is about setting an intention/a wish and then finding a realistic way and an excited mindset to make it happen.
I came across the WOOP during the Yale University’s free online course called The Science of Well-Being *.
How to WOOP?
First, find a time and place where you can pause and think at least for 5 minutes. Sit down with some writing instruments.
W = WISH
Think about a wish that you find important. It can relate to your work or personal life, and it can be a wish for the day, for the week or for some longer time frame. Write that wish down. On woopmylife.org site they advise to “Pick a wish that is challenging for you but that you can fulfill.”
O = OUTCOME
Think about the positive outcomes that fulfilling your wish can bring. How will you feel then and what would be the best effects? Take a moment to imagine the outcomes of your fulfilled wish and write them down.
O = OBSTACLE
Do not miss this crucial step, when you think about the possible obstacles you may have when trying to make the wish reality. What are your inner obstacles, things and thoughts in you holding you back from fulfilling your wish? Imagine these obstacles and write them down.
P = PLAN
Think and write down, what will you do when you will face your obstacles. Name an action you will take or a thought you will think to overcome your obstacle.
Congrats! Now go!
Your WOOP is ready, and now it’s time to make that wish come true.
It’s advisable to use the method in this order, for example so that you don’t think the obstacles too early or starting planning and acting before thinking what you are about to do and why.
A few extra spices to add if you want
I have done two additions to my WOOP to make it work even better for me:
- For the obstacles, I add also the possible outer distractions (such as a noisy environment or being triggered by something on social media) and make a plan how to avoid or overcome them (for example by changing my environment to fit the task better and to hide my phone while I’m working).
- For the plan, I also make a concrete plan on how to make the wish happen by breaking it into tiny todo-steps that work as my action plan.
I’ve been using WOOP method only for daily and weekly wishes, but I’m sure it would serve the long term wishes too.
Work life WOOP: Writing an article.
Wish: To write a meaningful online article.
Outcome: Feeling good after publishing the article knowing it can give insights or inspiration to people. I’ll also learn more while doing research and writing on the subject.
Obstacles: Mind escaping to other things, all the ‘shoulds’, perfectionism, getting distracted by messages…
Plan: I will set little breaks for a walk, coffee, checking messages etc. If I find myself stuck because I think the article will never be good enough, I will say to myself “Better done than perfect” or “Perfect is boring” and move forward. Then I make a step-by-step plan on how to create the article (defining the topic, making a mind map and structure, finding a photo and so on).
Personal life WOOP: A day with the kids.
Wish: To spend a good day with the kids, to be present with them.
Outcome: Feeling good that we’ve been spending a nice time together, making memories and I’ve been able to be a parent who is not only responsible but also fun to be around.
Obstacles: Wandering mind, feeling tired or hungry, thinking things need to go according to a certain fixed plan and everyone needs to be in a happy mood all the time, rainy weather…
Plan: I will make a plan for the day (taking the weather into account) but have enough flexibility with it. We will take regular breaks to eat and relax. If things don’t go as planned, I will think that it’s completely normal and sometimes surprises can be good. If my mind goes to work stuff or worries, I will take a breath and think how cool it is that I get to hang out with the kids when they still need and want my company. Remember that “the best present is being present.”.
*The Science of Well-Being course by Yale University/psychology professor Laurie Santos and provided (free) by Coursera
“The course reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life. Skills you will gain: gratitude, happiness, meditation and savoring.”