Achieve Your Dreams: Set Goals and Conquer Challenges with WOOP

What is WOOP?

WOOP, a goal achievement method, was developed by psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen from New York University.

The acronym WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan.

WOOP goes beyond mere wishful thinking by incorporating goal setting and positive self-affirmation, encouraging individuals to believe in their capability to succeed. Setting goals in isolation is insufficient for actual progress. Instead, WOOP suggests that when people define their goals, contemplate potential obstacles, and formulate strategies to overcome them, they become more likely to achieve their objectives. The order of consideration is pivotal in this process. Research has demonstrated that individuals are more motivated when reflecting on their reasons for wanting to attain a goal before addressing potential obstacles.

Warum WOOP?

Positive Effekte von WOOP konnten nachgewiesen werden. So wurden 255 Frauen mittleren Alters in Deutschland untersucht. Mit Hilfe von WOOP trieben sie doppelt so viel Sport wie vorher und ernährten sich gesünder. Patientinnen und Patienten mit chronischen Rückenschmerzen wurden durch WOOP im Alltag körperlich aktiver. Und es konnte gezeigt werden, dass die Methode Menschen mit verschiedenen Erkrankungen (Diabetes, Schlaganfall) hilft, mehr auf ihre Gesundheit zu achten.

How Does WOOP Work?


Begin by recognizing your wish. Eliminate distractions and tune into your innermost desires. Choose a wish that truly tugs your heartstrings – something that presents a challenge yet remains attainable. Summarize it concisely.

For instance: “I wish to improve my German skills.”

Outcome – Result

Consider the most significant and splendid result that would emerge if your wish were to materialize. How would this achievement make you feel? Delve deep into your emotions, concentrating on the most powerful sentiment you will experience once your wish becomes a reality.

For example: “I will experience a profound surge of confidence when reading and speaking German.”


Identify the internal barriers that have hindered the realization of your wish up to this point. These obstacles are not external challenges but rather personal habits, thoughts, or emotions that stand in your way. Visualize the specific obstacle that has been the primary hindrance to achieving your wish.

For instance: “My excessive time spent on Facebook has been a significant obstacle.”


Craft an if-then plan to address the obstacle. Define a specific strategy for how you will overcome it when it arises. Consider what you can say to yourself or your actions when confronted with the obstacle. Additionally, identify when and under what circumstances it will likely reoccur.

For example: “If I endlessly scroll through Facebook, then I will power off my phone and dedicate time to studying a chapter in my German book.”

Spaziergang gegen Blähungen

Give it a try right now! WOOP is a skill that improves with practice; over time, you will become more adept at it. You can explore the resources available at for additional information.

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Teresa Götz