We know that you’ve kept yourself on the right mental track when it comes to #selflove, love-hate work relationships and your romantic endeavors. But what if positive thinking isn’t enough? A new study might help you think differently.


According to New York Magazine, who first reported on an NYU psychologist’s research, there’s reason to let go of a little positive thinking in exchange for some positive action based in reality. The study, helmed by Gabriele Oettingen, points out that if all our time is spent thinking about positive things happening to us, then what time is left for us to act on those thoughts? Oettingen suggests a four-point system to help you make the leap from thoughts to actions, and we just love the acronym: WOOP.

WOOP is an actionable plan you can take to make those happy thoughts come to fruition. The first is Wish, where you define a specific goal. The second is Outcome, where you daydream a little and visualize your wish coming true. The third is where it gets tricky for some — Obstacles. Instead of stopping at the Outcome stage, where your goal of running a marathon or starting a company most likely got lost in all the positive thinking, you move on to focus on Obstacles, which can make your Wish and Outcome ideas into a reality. Imagine that roadblock and then think about how to get around it, says Oettingen, which is the last phase: Plan.

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This method is the culmination of 20 years of research and has helped in all sorts of realms, including weight loss, academia and interpersonal relationships. The bottom line? Dreams and *just* positive thinking lead to little investment, but a plan based in reality will help you really succeed. WOOP, there it is!

Tell us how you’d use this system to make your dreams come true in the comments!