A Positive Thinking Trick

Last weekend, J and I listened to a Hidden Brain podcast about rethinking positive thinking, and it really got me thinking...

I think we can all agree that we are our own worst critics, so it completely blew my mind that the show's guest, Gabrielle Oettingen, a professor of Psychology at NYU and author of the book, Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, decided to approach goal setting and achievement from that very place of self-criticism.

Oettingen's big idea is that in order to have the things we dream of, we have to first identify - and then devise a plan to overcome - "the obstacles within our self." Based on her research, when we think positively about something we want, and envision that positive outcome, it's not enough. In fact, that positive thinking and visualization can actually make our eventual success less likely!  This is because when we visualize already having what we want, we relax. And when we relax, we lose our motivation.

Oettingen goes beyond positive thinking and presents a four-step plan called, "WOOP." Listen to the full podcast and download Oettingen's free App to get started woop-ing yourself! After hearing the podcast, I downloaded the App and went straight to the library and put her book on hold. I can't wait to read it.

Are you good at goal setting and achievement? What works for you? Have you tried WOOP?


  1. I have never heard of WOOP before. I'm going to download this podcast so we can listen to it tomorrow (we have a long car ride). With the start of school looming, I would love to have a new strategy for reaching my goals.


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