The secret to making changes is through WOOP. What the heck am I talking about you say? Let me explain.
Dr. Gabriele Oettingham was intrigued by the trendy belief that if one just thinks positively, one will reach their goals. So she conducted her own research. From it, she synthesized four steps (with the acronym WOOP) that really do enable people to meet their goals. Positive thinking was part of it but needed the other three steps to really work. Here are her four steps.
What is your Wish? What is your most important wish or struggle to overcome?
What is the best Outcome? If your wish is fulfilled, where would that leave you? What would be the best, most positive outcome? Think and try to visualize how fulfilling your wish would feel. (This is the positive thinking step.)
What is your main inner Obstacle? What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish?
Make a Plan. What can you do to overcome your obstacle?
Try it for yourself!
Pick a Wish around your anxiety.
Identify your best Outcome and take a moment to imagine it as fully as you can.
Identify your main inner Obstacle and take a moment to imagine it fully.
Have a Plan for yourself. Identify one action you can take or one thought you can think to overcome your obstacle when you experience it. (Hint: Try the label “false alarm,” grab control of your breathing, and refocus concretely on the present).
It is important to have a positive thought or goal, but research also suggests that you need to identify what is likely to get in your way too. Then you need to have a plan of attack ready. Only then are you likely to succeed! Go ahead, give WOOP a try. I'd love to hear how it works for you!