Spirits are bright, ambitions are high, and oh the time is merry. It can only mean one thing… New Year’s Day is here! And with it New Year’s resolutions and goals!
Ready for a harsh dose of reality? The truth, however, is a bit bleaker. We often aim too high with our new year’s goals, with 80% of people failing New Year’s resolutions by February.
Luckily enough, I found out about an effective method- for keeping both short and long term- goals in check. You can literally use it for any type of goal you have, whether it be career, academic, fitness, personal, etc.
Now get ready to have your mind blown by the WOOP method. Yes, go ahead and chuckle at the name, but this simple and effective name packs a punch!
WOOP stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, & plan, and it’s considered a four-step mental strategy for realizing and achieving goals. Here’s how it works:
- WISH – Your first step is to identify your wish, no matter how “lofty” it may seem. Every goal can be achieved, no matter how big. Write it down, create mood boards, visualize your goal, but most importantly, make it concrete.
- OUTCOME – Think about what outcomes this goal will give you. How will your life change once you achieve it? Think carefully and write those things down. When you know what reward comes with achieving a goal, you’re more motivated to work for it and towards it.
- OBSTACLE – Now that you daydreamed the heck of your goal, it’s time to get realistic. What stops you from achieving the goal? What is the number one excuse you give yourself to not work towards it? Once you figure that out, you’re ready to work on getting rid of the obstacle(s), which brings us to the next step.
- PLAN – You gotta plan for achieving your goal. You can’t just dream about it, you gotta work on it, too. Make a step-by-step guide for achieving your goal. By knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and the difficulties you might face, you’ll be better prepared to stick to your resolution and overcome potential struggles.
Got the WOOP down? Now onto the fun part, making sure your resolutions stick.
Do you want to lose some vague amount of weight? Or do you want to lose 5 or 10 pounds? Without a clear goal in mind, you’ll never be able to achieve it.
SET REALISTIC GOALS
One of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to setting (and not achieving) a resolution is setting unrealistic goals. For example, if my goal is to write 10 blog posts for the week then it’s important to have a plan or strategy. When we take the time to make it more manageable, it makes the process more enjoyable and we get better results.
TAKE BABY STEPS
If your resolution is a lofty one — like running a marathon in less than 2 months if you never run a day in your life — you may be setting yourself up for failure. Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year’s Resolutions fail.
Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal — running 30 mins on the treadmill, jogging/running 1 mile. While it may seem like a slow start, these small changes make it easier to stick to your new habits and increase the likelihood of long-term success.
AVOID REPEATING PAST FAILURES
Try not to make the exact same resolution year after year. I don’t know about you but repeating the same thing over and over again, and getting the same negative results (what a surprise) is pretty self-defeating.
However, if you do choose to reach for the same goals, spend some time evaluating your previous results. Which strategies were the most and least effective? What has prevented you from keeping your resolution(s) in past years? By changing your approach, you’ll be more likely to see real results this year.
ENLIST FRIENDS AND FAMILY & ASK FOR SUPPORT
You don’t need to make a major Facebook announcement about your goal (unless, of course, ya just feel the need) but until you can get more comfortable with using the WOOP methodology. Maybe start by letting just a few trusted friends and close family members know that you’re fired up and ready to go with your resolutions.
And don’t be afraid to ask for support. If even with your friends and family on board, you’re still finding it challenging to stay on track, consider joining a group of like-minded people.
Sometimes it can be more helpful to share your struggles and successes with folks on the same journey as you. No shade to supportive friends and family 🙂
CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK
Perfection is unattainable. Minor missteps when pursuing your goals are completely normal; actually, they should be expected. So instead of beating yourself up, ask, what you learned about your thinking or habits and what you want to do differently next time around.
The important thing is not to let a slip-up derail your entire year. Highlight what you’ve learned and get back on track.