While some people agree that positive thinking is a key aspect to success, others think it is a bunch of BS.

I tend to agree with both sides.  It can be a key aspect to success and it has certainly been a huge motivator in my life and helped me win championship titles and become an internationally recognized instructor…

…but there is more to it than just saying or thinking positive thoughts.

This WOOP technique will help ensure you actually follow thru with any positive thinking instead of leaving it as a thought inside your mind and never actually doing anything.

This technique comes from psychology professor, Gabriele Oettingen, and you can read more about it here.  


Side Note

I actually used this technique to write this article in about 3 hours, when it would normally be something I would say that I was going to do someday and then put it off for months or even years.

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WOOP stands for “wish, outcome, obstacle, plan”

Here’s an example of how it works.

Wish: Any of the following could be my wish.  

  • I want to constantly get asked to dance by my favorite dancers.
  • I want to win a World Championship Competition.
  • I want to fall back in love with dance.

Choose your own wish that is most exciting to you!

Outcome: Next, I imagine what would happen if I achieved my goal.  This is my desired outcome.  Here are some examples that could work for any of the above wishes (but you will want to choose your own examples that are most exciting for you).

  • I get asked to teach dance and become a recognized dancer around our local scene (or even the world).  
  • I feel better about myself and am happier, thereby creating a better atmosphere for others too.  
  • Someone falls in love with my dancing and wants to be my dance partner (or who knows, maybe someone falls in love with me too because my communication skills are so amazing from improving my partnering skills).  

Which ever of these outcomes are most powerful for me are the ones I will choose to focus on and picture in my imagination.  

Obstacle: Then, I brainstorm the internal and external obstacles that might get in my way of achieving the goal. For example: 

  • I feel tired and skip class (or don’t practice my Dance Drills), whenever I get off work later than normal.  
  • I procrastinate whenever I first start to practice dancing.  
  • I procrastinate when I get overloaded with todos and then I waste valuable time that I could have spent practicing worrying about everything I feel like I need to do.
  • My car broke down and it probably won’t be fixed in time for class.

Plan: The final step is to create a plan that ensures you have a method to easily overcome each obstacle: “if obstacle x happens, then I will do action y.” For example:

  • If I get off work later than normal, I will go to class just to say hi and ask if I can get some dance homework from the teacher.
    • In this case, just by committing to dropping by, I might end up staying but I don’t have to and I have created a plan to still improve even if I don’t (by asking for homework).
  • When I first start each practice session,  I will start by doing something easy that I already practiced last week.  
    • This will get me in the flow and help me skip over my most likely places where I will procrastinate.  
  • When I feel overloaded with todos, I will write everything down, getting it out of my head and onto paper.
  • This way I can stop worrying about it and start doing something now (or realize that I can do it later without worry of forgetting about it).

In my experience, it is helpful to keep these plans simple and just make sure they get the ball rolling in your favor.  If they are too difficult, you are less likely to do them.  If they are simple, you will probably not only do them but also get the momentum to keep going and do even more.

In Summary: 

  1. Decide what you want (your wish).
  2. Imagine experiencing having what you want (your outcome).
  3. Brainstorm the internal and external obstacles (obstacles).
  4. Commit to actions (plans) that will allow you to easily overcome those obstacles…especially their starting points.


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About the author 

Andrew Sutton

Andrew Sutton is a Vice World Champion Lindy Hop Instructor, and one of the original founders of the Fusion partner dance movement. He uses his extensive research in over 254 cities across 38 countries (& 44 dance forms) to help dance instructors be more successful in their teaching & finances during their pursuit to help their students...Make Every Dance Amazing!

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