Woop it up with this sensible wishing plan


Dreaming about a successful future outcome is pleasurable, leaving you with a nice, warm feeling of satisfaction. But that might be counterproductive in a workplace setting, because you’re less motivated to buck up and make the strong, persistent effort that is usually required to realise a feasible wish.

What does help is mental contrasting, an exercise that brings together our positive fantasy about the future with a visualisation of the obstacles standing in the way. Try a mental contrasting tool called WOOP – Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

Here’s how it works:

1 Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, switch off your devices, and close your eyes.

2 Name a wish that is attainable or realistic for you – say, landing a new client.

3 Then imagine for a few minutes what would happen if that wish came true, letting the images flow freely through your mind.

4 Then change things up. Identify the main obstacle inside you that stands in the way, and imagine it for a few minutes. Now on to your plan: If faced with X obstacle, then you will take Y effective action in response.

WOOP is simple, easy, and inexpensive, but why does it work? The process either helps people understand that their wishes are attainable, giving them energy and direction, heightening their engagement and prompting them to act; or it helps them realise their wishes are unrealistic, leading them to disengage and freeing them up to pursue other, more promising goals. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2014