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The WOOP Method

Daniel Marzullo
Daniel Marzullo
2 min read
The WOOP Method
Photo by Miikka Luotio / Unsplash

If you're sick and tired of setting SMART goals, I've got a new framework for you.

In my previous life as a personal trainer, we tossed the SMART acronym around like candy on Halloween.

For those unfamiliar, SMART goals are:






It serves a purpose but there are some holes in the approach.

For instance, what’s the outcome after you achieve the goal? Does it really even matter?

And what about obstacles? You're bound to hit some roadblocks along the way. How will you handle them?

Most people underestimate the challenges that will eventually arise as they set out to achieve big things.

Yet, overcoming these obstacles is what gets us across the finish line. We need a plan for when they arise to keep moving forward.

A lot of us think that simply "thinking positively" will help achieve our goals. This belief often leads to unrealistic thinking and a distorted reality.

Achieving goals requires a positive image of the goal and an accurate picture of what stands in the way (Oettingen, 2000; Oettingen G., Pak, & Schnetter, 2001).

Enter: The WOOP Method

Yes, WOOP. Not to be confused with "Whoomp there it is... Whoomp there it is..."

(Did I get that song stuck in your head? You're welcome.)

WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan. Next time you're setting goals, run them through this four-step framework:


What's one wish that's most important to you right now? Visualize it, name it, and write it down. Be specific. Why is it important? Is it challenging yet still achievable? What realistic timeframe is possible to make it a reality?


What's the best possible outcome? What positive result will it produce for you? What feelings or type of fulfillment will this create? Write it down.


What has the potential to stop you? What obstacles could get in your way? Think about anything and everything that can derail your success. List all possibilities.


Where and when could these obstacles arise during the journey? What's one specific action you will take to overcome the obstacles you've listed? What's the most effective thing you can do?

Then fill in your plan.

If _____ occurs, then I will _____ to overcome it.

With the WOOP method, you'll be better prepared to handle challenges and stay on track to achieve your goals. Give it a try and see how it transforms your approach to goal-setting.


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    Daniel Marzullo

    Hi, I’m Dan! 👋 I typically spend my days buried in a booth at a local coffee shop. Ideas flow best with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other.

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