When Abracadabra Doesn’t Work…..Try WOOP to Engage Positive Change

Christie Carney

By Christie Carney https://www.linkedin.com/in/christie-carney-mcm-5671a7137/ Christie Carney

Recently, a client reached out with urgency to push beyond her weight loss challenge.  Her hope was to quickly hone in on her blocks and move forward.  Perfect, I’ll just use my magic wand that I received for Christmas with a one-and-done wave and a catchy spell.

Just kidding of course.  If only we could make sustainable change with such expedience and finesse.  Back to reality, this client has a big life and I wanted to consider her sense of urgency and how to partner with her for tapping into navigating her goals.  Then, I remembered an article I read that referred to a tool called WOOP.  That’s right, WOOP!

WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

Renowned researcher and author of Rethinking Positive Thinking, Gabriele Oettingen, describes how to use positive thinking to envision the desired goal and raise your motivation to attain that vision with WOOP.

WOOP aligns perfectly with coaching.  Here’s how the process rolled out with my client Desiree who desired to lose 20 pounds by her 30th wedding anniversary party on New Year’s Eve.

I asked what her WISH was and to positively visualize herself on New Year’s Eve – how she looked, how she felt, and to engage all 5 senses in her imagery.  Additionally, I asked her to envision how she achieved her goal.

Next, I asked her desired OUTCOME for this goal and what powerful emotions she associates with achieving the weight loss.

Then, I inquired, what might be the challenges to achieving the goal, and to identify the possible OBSTACLES.  This required deep exploration and honesty on her part.  We discussed how she will preempt herself when cravings, excuses, and distractions arise that divert her from her goals and actions.  This was a painful process.

After taking a hard look at the obstacles, I asked, how did she know she will still lose the weight?  Then, she visualized overcoming the challenges to achieve her desires and developed a PLAN, which included focusing on the response and action to obstacles.

The weight loss wasn’t quite like magic.  She did lose 18 pounds by December 31st, was the belle of the ball, and achieved her vision.  Woop, Woop!


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