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Four reasons why WOOPing works (DW#580)

There are some of us who are really really tied to the idea of visualizing success as the be-all and end-all to achieving their dreams.

Here’s the thing: if it is working for you, then please keep doing it and don’t change a thing.

For those of us who are finding that visualizing by itself is not helping us achieve our dreams (been dreaming of that dress size for a long long time – even have my old jeans hanging in the closet), we are not alone.

Here are some reasons why mental contrasting or WOOPing works better than visualizing by itself:

1) You have an insight and into why your current reality doesn’t match your ideal future

When you perform mental contrasting, it is common to experience some sort of "aha moment", an insight, or a revelation about why your goals haven’t materialized yet.

You become aware of obstacles that you’ve never even thought about before. And when you become aware of these obstacles you can prepare for them.

Here’s...

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An unexpected benefit of WOOPing (DW#579)

Let’s face it. We have goals that are in our comfort zone (they don’t stretch us at all), outside our comfort zone (the stretch zone – this is where the magic happens) or in the delusional zone.

Let’s take an example for someone like myself. I like the idea of health and fitness. Enjoy the process of eating clean and what it feels like. And I struggle with having a consistent fitness regime.

A stretch goal for me might be to consistently do an intermittent training workout 5 days a week for 6 months. It will be challenging and will require lots of motivation, consistency and will power but it is doable (though scary).

A delusional goal (fantasy) might be to run a 25Km marathon next week or to become a dress size 2 by summer.

Gabriele Oettingen’s dozens of studies have consistently shown that mental contrasting (the technical term for WOOPing) results in MORE motivation and a HIGHER chance of achieving our desired goals and outcomes when the goals are in...

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WOOP your dreams (DW#578)

Gabrielle Oettingen is a brilliant researcher who has spent her career studying the science of making your goals and dreams come to life.

She has come up with a simple but powerful way to manifest your dreams.

In her book Rethinking Positive Thinking, she also reminds us that it’s simply not enough to visualize our ideal life. Although it’s very important to start with a vision of our ideal lives, in order to make it happen, we need to "rub this dream up against reality."

Here is her WOOP formula for applying this idea in our lives.

W is for Wish - What do you want? At this point dream BIG. Imagine you have a magic wand. If you could have anything at all, what would it look like?
O is for Outcome - Why do you want it? What would it do for you if this dream became a reality? See it, feel it. REALLY feel it. Get excited.
O is for Obstacles - What’s in the way? What may stop you from getting what you want? Embrace the reality that there will be obstacles so that you...

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Just get started (DW#575)

Now that you are clear on your why, it is time to take action.

Please do not wait until you can see the whole staircase before you take the first step. You do NOT need to figure out how you will finish before you take start.

Start by walking 100 steps
Start by eating one vegetable
Start by saying one kind thing to your spouse
Start by being grateful for one tiny thing
Start by writing 100 words
Start by reading one page
Start by calling one friend
Start by listening to your child for 1 minute
Start by putting away your phone for 5 minutes
Start by clearing clutter from a single chair

Don’t worry about finishing yet.
Just get started. Now.

 

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The art of taking action (DW#574)

As we said yesterday, keeping busy is different from being engaged in meaningful work.

Gregg Krech puts it well in The Art of Taking Action.

He says: "The Art of Taking Action isn’t simply about keeping busy or checking things off your to-do list. It’s about choosing what to do, how to do it, and the development of character."

So come on. It is time to come clean. At least to yourself. Answer these two questions:

What are you procrastinating on? And
Why does it matter? In other words:
What is the cost of procrastination for you? Why is this a problem?
What would it do for you if you get this task/project done? How would it impact your life in a positive way if this task or project would be done?

Getting crystal clear on your WHY is really really important to push through the times when your inspiration leaves you.

 

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Productive procrastination (DW#573)

Can I share a secret?

When I am working on a creative project, such as writing, planning or working on a presentation, I get very productive. I clean out closets, cook up a storm, get my filing done, find great deals on Amazon, clean out more closets and drawers, organize the pantry . .

Anything to keep busy and stop feeling the anxiety that comes from producing meaningful work. . . .

I call it productive procrastination. A lot of stuff gets done.

Except what really matters.

Let’s not fool ourselves. Just because we are busy, it does not mean that we not procrastinating.

We need to make sure that we are doing work that really matters rather than merely busy work.

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The good news about inspiration (DW#570)

You have moments of inspiration, don’t you? Moments when you feel really really motivated and inspired to take action on your task or project. The good news about inspiration is that we all experience it from time to time.

It would be wise for you to capitalize on this inspiration. And start taking action immediately. Today. Not in the future. Now.

Experts in motivation tell us that the longer we wait between feeling inspired to do something and actually doing it, the more our own image of ourselves erodes. Along with our confidence in getting the job done.

So the moment you feel inspiration, please don’t delay, over analyze it or second guess it. Or try to do it perfectly.

Simply get up and get into motion.

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The bad news about the future (DW#569)

Have you ever told yourself that you don’t have time this week to do what matters but you will for sure next week? Next week you will be organized and have more time. Next week, things will magically work out and what distracts you today, will surely sort itself out next week.
 
It turns out that this is a very common human tendency. We tend to overestimate the time that we will have in the future.
 
The line from the musical Annie comes to mind: Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow. You are always a day away . . .
 
As lovely and positive as that thought may be, the reality, it turns out, it quite different. We are no more organized the next day than we are today. Tomorrow is likely to be just like today. We will be busy and distracted and have a long list of urgent things that will crowd out the important.

So our future will be just like our present. Unless we do something different. And start taking action on what matters. Not tomorrow and not...

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You can take action despite your fears. (DW#568)

Can I tell you a little secret?

The most successful people in the world have the same fears that you and I do. Fears regarding failure, criticism and not meeting standards set by themselves and others. 

Really and truly. 

The only difference is that they take action despite their fears and their anxiety. 

The strength of their purpose is greater than the fears and the doubts that they experience. 

Really. 

You and I can also choose to act despite how we feel. 

Repeat after me: 
Feel the fear and take action anyway. 
Feel the fear and take action towards your goals. 
Feel the fear and take action towards your goals. 

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The anxiety of taking action (DW#567)

I really like how Neil Fiore explains our tendency to procrastinate in his book The Now Habit.

He says that procrastination is our way of coping with the anxiety that accompanies starting or completing any task or making any decision. 

According to him, we procrastinate to deal with feelings of low esteem, perfectionism, fear of failure (and of success), indecisiveness, an imbalance between work and play, ineffective goal-setting, and negative concepts about work and ourselves. 

It makes sense right? Think about something you are procrastinating about. And check in with yourself. What are the underlying feelings you are trying to deal with? 

Are you concerned that the task or project will not be done perfectly? Are you scared that once done, people can criticize your work (or worse, YOU)? Are you concerned that you will not measure up to your own (perhaps unreasonable?) standards of perfection?

Naming your fears and concerns is the first step to taming...

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