We all have goals in life – including for our health and fitness. Whether you’re training for strength, weight loss or to improve your all-round health and wellbeing, WOOP can be a useful strategy for achieving your goals.
What does WOOP stand for?
WOOP stands for:
It was developed by Gabriele Oettingen, who is a Professor of Psychology at New York University, and is based on 20 years of research into self-regulation of goal setting and goal disengagement.
WOOP is categorised under the term MCCI: mental contrasting with implementation intentions.
How does WOOP work?
In short, WOOP is a process of establishing a wish and then overcoming any obstacles that might stop you achieving it, using a clear plan.
Who is WOOP for?
WOOP can be useful to people of all ages and adapted to any goal. WOOP encourages you to change your set habits and is an easy-to-learn strategy.
In studies it has been shown to be effective in many aspects of life, from social engagement and relationships to academic performance and dealing with negative emotions.
When applied to training, it can be as useful to someone who is new to the gym or recovering from an injury as it is to a professional athlete or sports person.
What kind of health and fitness goals can WOOP support?
WOOP can be used for a number of goals, for example:
- Increasing training and fitness levels
- Improving diet
- Managing conditions such as Type 2 diabetes
- Helping those with depression to be more active
- Helping those living with pain to carry out physical activity
How does WOOP help you reach your health and fitness goals?
WOOP involves answering four questions:
- What is your wish?
- What is the best outcome?
- What is your key inner obstacle?
- What is your plan?
Anyone can work through these options on their own, or they can be guided through the process by a professional fitness instructor or personal trainer.
Taking each in turn:
WISH – decide on the wish that is most important to you, something that will be a challenge but that is achievable in a relatively short period of time. This could be to start training or increase the number of times you train every week, to lose a fixed amount of weight or to change your diet.
OUTCOME – work out what the best possible outcome would be for you. How would you feel if you achieved this outcome? Spend time imagining the outcome and make sure it releases positive emotions – this will help to motivate you.
OBSTACLE – take some time to think about what’s holding you back. Is it a habit you need to break, a change to how you think about yourself, a negative emotion you need to let go of? Obstacles should be things that you can potentially control.
PLAN – set out a clear plan to achieve your wish. Summarise all of the stages in a few words, check that your wish is feasible, that you’ll find the outcome fulfilling and that you spend time working through the main obstacles and how you will overcome them.
A few things to consider…
If you have more than one wish, choose the one that is most important to you right now. If the wish you are thinking of requires major life changes that seem too daunting, you could break it down into smaller more manageable wishes that you can achieve one after the other.
Remember that this is your wish – it should be something that makes you feel positive when you imagine the best outcome.
Don’t forget to choose a time frame that is realistic and most suited to your wish and your ability to achieve it – whether it’s a month, six months or a year.
To find out more, visit Professor Oettingen’s website: https://woopmylife.org/