Story Time – Bright Spots & WOOP (Goal Setting)

When we’re establishing our goals for Fitness, Health, & Happiness, we’re often looking at changing behaviours and ultimately outcomes. Searching for Bright Spots (popularised by Chip and Dan Heath in their book “Switch”) helps direct our attention to what’s going right, so we can replicate it. We often ignore what’s going right and look to fix what’s not working. By focusing on what you’ve already done or are doing right, you can motivate yourself to more success by building on it.

WOOP stands for Wish/Outcome/Obstacle/Plan.

WOOP is an evidence backed approach to setting goals developed by Professor Gabrielle Oettigen at NYU.

Wishful thinking without mentally contrasting the outcome with reality doesn’t lead to action or achieving your goals. If we look at our goal, and also look at what obstacles are, we’re better prepared for the process and much more likely to stick with it.

(What happens if my goal is unrealistic? If you determine that your wish is too far reaching, it gives us an opportunity to set a more attainable goal, or a midway goal, on our way to achieving that big, far reaching goals!)

When we create our plan, we look at our main obstacle and create an “If… Then…” plan. For example, let’s say our main obstacle is we find we don’t have time to exercise, our plan can be “If I finish one training session, then I’ll schedule my next session.” This If/Then plan removes the doubt of when you’ll find time, how far in advance you need to plan, last minute demands on your time that will come up, etc. etc.

That’s the real power in the plan. It’s a simple non negotiable way of a trigger deciding what simple action to take. This takes away the need to have massive amounts of willpower or discipline.


Wish – I want to drop a jean size.

Outcome – I’ll feel happier, more confident/energetic.

Obstacle – Fizzy drinks

Plan – IF it’s lunchtime, THEN I’ll buy water as my drink.

You can download the WOOP app by clicking on the image below.

Book a Goals Review Session here:

This website or its third-party tools process personal data.
You may opt out by using the link Opt Out