Wow – here we are. The last few days of 2020. Instead of calling it 2020, I’ve been recently naming it 20-20. Because indeed it has been a year where we’ve gotten to see things more clearly. We’ve seen how fragile our health care and safety net systems can be. We’ve seen the depth of compassion and care humans can have for others. We’ve gotten to reaffirm our personal values and discover what we do when so many of our usual routines are disrupted.
Some are saying that 2020 is a lost year, but I’ll admit this has been a year of incredible growth, affirmation, and joy for me. I know that I’m incredibly lucky to say that, but it’s true. The move to staying home more was actually important and grounding for my scattered Vata dosha. I spent 2 months living with 9 members of my family in Buffalo. I got to eat more than 90% of my meals with my husband and my son, which was in major contrast to the solo meals I ate for years.
This year has brought upon a huge change in my business. I’m teaching yoga classes through my home studio, launched on-demand yoga videos, and built a 40+ page guidebook to accompany my Ayurvedic consultations.
There are many lessons from 2020 that I want to bring into 2021. And as I plan for the year ahead, I’m using one of my favorite tools that I think you’ll appreciate too.
This tool is called WOOP and it was developed by Dr. Gabrielle Oettingen. In her research, she discovered that the best way to accomplish your goals is to not just fantasize about achieving your dreams, but also to be concrete and prepared for all that might go wrong. We “rub our dreams against reality” as my coach Brian Johnson says, and in the process, make it more likely that we’ll succeed.
Here’s how you do the WOOP process:
W – Wish. Name your wish/goal.
O – Outcome. What’s the benefit you get from achieving your goal? Why is it so important to you?
O – Obstacles. What obstacles could get in the way of you achieving your goal? Be sure to think of external obstacles (I don’t get a raise because the company has budget cuts and freezes any pay raises) and internal obstacles (I get nervous and don’t ask for a raise).
P – Plan. What will you do if the obstacle occurs? You can frame this as an if/then statement. For example, “If I get nervous, I will write out all of the reasons why I have done a great job and deserve a raise.”
This is a simple exercise, but the benefits are immense. You’ll discover hidden internal obstacles that are keeping you from achieving your goals. You’ll acknowledge the potential for external obstacles that are outside of your control. You’ll get fired up when you realize why something is important to you, and be willing to pare down your list of goals as you see the things that actually aren’t that important to you.
You can use WOOP for a meeting, a day, a relationship, or a year. Anytime you’re about to embark on something new, it’s an opportunity to evaluate your wish, outcome, obstacle, and plan so that you can act with intention.
Give it a try right now – what’s one wish for your day? Follow the WOOP procedure and see what you can do to make your dreams a reality.
And then, carve out some time to do the same for January 2021. You might just discover that some amazing goals are within reach.