WOOP. A powerful strategy to get what you want, overcome what’s in your way…and an app!

By Kate Conklin
June 11, 2016
Surfer air

Claire Bevilacqua

The following is a framework called mental contrasting. It is a process that helps you overcome inner obstacles and fears. The abbreviation is WOOP, which stands for:


Researcher and Professor of Psychology at New York University Gabriele Oettingen, suggests the following:


Identify a wish that is very dear to you.

In the next four weeks, what is your most important wish?

It could be health related, inter-personal, professional…

It should be achievable, but also challenging for you.


Ask, “What would be the best outcome if I fulfill my wish?”

Imagine in detail the best outcome that could happen- this is positive fantasizing.


Switch gears.

Ask yourself, “Actually, what stops me from fulfilling my wish and achieving that outcome?”

What is it in me that stands in the way? What is my inner obstacle?

You need a little bit of humor and a little bit of honesty with yourself.

(This question is not about external obstacles, which can produce excuses to not take action. This question identifies something that is within you, and within your power to change.)



If that obstacle occurs, then I will show a behavior, or think a thought to overcome that obstacle.

If (obstacle) then (behavior to overcome obstacle.)

surf rock

Ha’a Keaulana

Particularly of note is that this is a conscious, constructive strategy with clear steps that can bring about unconscious processes to help you reframe how you approach challenges. After using this process a bit, the obstacle and the inner solution become linked. Studies also show that energy increases as a way to take positive action in these situation.

Oettingen has also made an app for this:





Source: NPR Hidden Brain Podcast

The original podcast is here- and is highly recommended.