Dreaming about achieving your goals doesn’t make them happen. In fact, that can backfire on you!
Gabriele Oettingen, professor of psychology at New York University, found that the brain is challenged to distinguish fantasy from reality. Your brain believes your dream is real and relaxes rather than getting you motivated to achieve. This doesn’t mean that dreaming, positive self-talk or optimism are a waste of time, they’re just not enough.
Dreaming is a fundamentally creative process. Human beings are the only creatures on earth that can imagine something and then make it happen. Dreaming is good but it’s only the first step to success. Add a plan with some next steps and you’ll increase the likelihood of follow through by 40%.
We all know that when we set out to accomplish something (the dream) there will be obstacles. If you prepare properly, you can overcome them. If you do not, it’s likely that the obstacle will crush your dream. Oettingen created WOOP as a way to remember how to get your whole brain engaged and address the obstacles. WOOP stands for wish, outcome, obstacle and plan.
Dreaming is the first step – what do you Wish for? Then, get clear the Outcome you desire by accomplishing your dream. Next consider the Obstacles you’ll face and finally, make a Plan to deal with the obstacle. A fascinating dimension of the research is that if the dream (goal) is unrealistic, this approach will make that clear because you won’t be energized to move forward. You can then refine your dream before you waste time and energy.
Whether you are at work and wishing for a new position, or dreaming about starting a business, going on vacation or writing the next best-selling novel – WOOP your way to success.