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WOOP for Rethinking Realistically Positive

Thinking Positive is Good, Thinking Too Positive can lead to a frustration spiral. Somewhere a realistic approach can bring over-optimistic people to a Realistic Positive Mindframe with much more success in changing their habits and realising their change goals.

Psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen offers an antidote to common beliefs about positive thinking, goals, desires and the human mind.

I very much appreciated her book Rethinking Positive Thinking. If you apply Hoffman’s 4 quadrants on positive thinking you will rapidly find out that too much positive thinking leads to unrealism denial and disappointments.

In her book, Gabrielle Oettingen offers a very practical approach to prevent an excess in positive thinking.

She walks you through the “Wish-Outcome-Obstacle-Plan” (or WOOP) process as a path to logical reasoning free of over-optimism. Her approach helps to consider the path more realistically in change situations.

Her strategy of “mental contrasting” makes positive fantasies more useful by connecting them to reality.

Use “WOOP” to enlist your “nonconscious mind” to help you reach your goals.

W stands for “wish”: Imagine what you wish for.

O is “outcome”: Think about the positive benefits of achieving your wish.

The second O is “obstacle”: Think about what blocks your path.

P is “plan”: Make a plan to overcome obstacles and reach your goal. Implement an “if-then” planning structure: If X happens, then you will do Z.

Although the methodology seems to be ‘so logic’ it is seldom used consciously. And for those who loves good Apps, Try the WOOP App for Android or iOS!


Source: Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, Gabrielle Oettingen, Penguin Publishing Group, 2014, ISBN: 9781591846871