Have you been dreaming lately? Maybe about a new job, a promotion, losing weight, a new relationship or completing a marathon? How is it going? If you are like most, the dream sounds great but finding the path and motivation can be a real challenge. Katherine Paterson said it well when she said “a dream without a plan is just a wish.” Scientific studies have shown that we can actually end up feeling worse about ourselves and our performance can decrease when we do not achieve our dreams. When we only dream about our positive outcomes and do not plan, the outcomes include:
1. Sapped energy to reach our positive future
2. Low physical and mental health
3. Diminished well being
Yuck…what can do?
I recently read a great book I highly recommend from a colleague of mine, Alan Schlechter. The book is called UThrive and it is by Daniel Lerner and Alan. The book is based on learnings from a class they teach called The Science of Happiness which happens to be the most popular elective class at NYU. One of the tools Alan and Dan discuss is mental contrasting thinking. The tool they recommend to achieve this thinking is called WOOP. Below is an overview of the framework.
Wish- What is the challenging goal you are aiming to achieve, whether today, next week, in a month, or in a year?
Outcome- How would you feel if this goal were accomplished?
Obstacle- What is standing in your way? What assumptions or habits are holding you back?
Plan- What is one thing you can do to overcome your obstacle? Not just generally, specifically, in this very moment? If x (obstacle) happens, then I will do y (healthy alternative). More information on pages 115-116 of UThrive!!!
Here is what happens when you use WOOP. By clarifying each of the steps in WOOP, you:
Strengthen Mental Association….which leads to
Increased Energy…which leads to
By succeeding on your wish, this will also create a belief that you are capable of achieving future dreams. This reinforcing cycle gives you confidence to overcome setbacks and future barriers. This self-confidence also allows you to dream bigger dreams and not hold back. This confidence will help you reach your full potential and watch out for the places you will go!
So ask yourself, what is holding you back from fulfilling your wish? Find a place to write, follow the WOOP model and see where you can go! Good luck and let me know what you achieve!