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All You Need Is WOOP To Achieve Your Dreams

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

My 30 day's challenge to achieve a small but important goal.

All you need is WOOP drawn infographic explaining WOOP goal setting concept,

Who hasn't set genuine New Year's resolutions only to break them the very next day? I know I am guilty of it. Daydreaming is easy, acting on it is not.

Gabriele Oettingen, professor of psychology and an author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation thinks that positive thinking on its own might not work. We need to include a few more steps for our dreams to come true.

“We would be wrong to jettison our dreams, just as we are wrong to blindly assume that simply dreaming something can make it so.” — Gabriele Oettingen

Instead, she recommends the model, called WOOP. It stands for - wish, outcome, obstacle, plan. But even this method will only work with feasible goals. It won't, I am afraid, help you win a lottery. Sigh.

“If you want to take action toward a desired future, then be sure to choose wishes that are challenging but still attainable for you. WOOP won’t help you live more fully if your wish is to live on planet Neptune or become a billionaire within a year.” — Gabriele Oettingen

This method is about slowly and mindfully coming up with words and images to describe your goal. Then coming up with steps to achieve it, and being prepared to deal with potential obstacles that will inevitably show up on the way.

So make sure you put a 'do not disturb' sign on your door before you dive into WOOP to achieve your dreams.

The Practice


  • Allow at least half an hour for this exercise.

  • Advise your family and friends against interruptions. Or else.

  • Agree on a goal that is achievable within certain timeframe.


  • Think of a wish that you'd like to come true in the next four weeks.

  • Describe it in several words or phrases.

  • Leave it in front of you.


  • Think of the desired outcome for this wish, the best thing about achieving it.

  • Describe it and note down your thoughts.

  • Imagine the best outcome possible as vividly as you can.


  • Write up to 6 words that stand between you and your dream.

  • What holds you back?


  • Identify and write one action or one thought you could act upon to get closer to your dream.

  • Use if-then solution: If (obstacle)... then (plan)


My goal for the next four weeks was to take up digital drawing. As I am not good at painting or drawing, I always thought digital art was not for me. But you cannot fool your heart. It wanted to learn to draw on an iPad. So I decided to obey.

I found some time when my family could spare me for half an hour.

WISH: I imagined my dream in detail and I wrote it down: Learn to draw using iPad.

OUTCOME: I then described the best possible outcome from my wish: being able to draw simple landscapes and seascapes in Procreate.

OBSTACLE: Excuses, fears, not knowing where to start.

PLAN: I devised a simple plan that had a simple motto: one step at a time.

  • Find a YouTube challenge that seems accessible and fun to learn from. Spend no more than 30 minutes a few times a week.

  • If fear gets the best of me, simplify the task, the tutorial or find a different teacher.

Final Thoughts on WOOP technique to achieve your dreams

I have so much to learn still. My digital art is very amateurish and often I struggle to follow tutorials I am watching. And still, I am learning it, slowly but surely. I have quite a few digital screens to prove that I am going after my dream.

In the last month, I taught myself the most valuable lesson that any wish is achievable if you walk towards it one step at a time.


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