Goal Setting in the New Year

The start of a new year signifies new beginnings for many people. Research shows that in the United States, 44% of people are likely to make a New Year’s Resolution. While simply making a resolution can set an individual on the path to success, continually moving forward in the face of obstacles can be more challenging. It’s important to not only imagine accomplishing your goal, but to also acknowledge and plan for the very real obstacles that you will face.

The WOOP strategy will help you on your journey. It stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle and Plan. A quick, four-step technique that contrasts people’s dreams with their challenges to move them forward and towards their goal. Write down each step for clarity.

Wish: Identify a wish or a goal. Ensure that it is important, meaningful and achievable yet challenging.

Example: Buy a house in January 2024.

Outcome: Consider what the best outcome of achieving your wish would be. Consider what it would look like and what it would feel like.

Example: Feeling safe and having space for a family.

Obstacle: Identify an internal obstacle that could hinder you from achieving your wish. An internal obstacle could be a behavior, habit or thought pattern.

Example: Spending money at a coffee shop every day.

Plan: Identify an action you can take to overcome the obstacle you selected in the previous step. This action could be a change in behavior or thought. Afterwards, create an “If… then I will…” plan. Insert your obstacle after “If…” and the action you will use to overcome the obstacle after “then I will…”

Example: If I am spending money at a coffee shop every day, then I will set up my coffee pot in the evening to have coffee ready for when I wake up the next day.

As we go into a new year, think about goals you would like to achieve. To get the most benefit from WOOP, find a quiet space to work in for 5-10 minutes to allow for patient and honest reflection.


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