ELLE (Canada) - - Relationship -

In 2014, Gabriele Oet­tin­gen, a psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor at New York Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Ham­burg, pub­lished the book Re­think­ing Pos­i­tive Think­ing: In­side the New Science of Mo­ti­va­tion, which of­fers a new ap­proach to dream ful­fill­ment. In­ter­ested in de­cod­ing so­ci­ety’s ob­ses­sion with pos­i­tive think­ing, Oet­tin­gen dis­cov­ered that peo­ple who were pos­i­tively dream­ing about los­ing weight lost fewer pounds over both short- and long-term pe­ri­ods; stu­dents who fan­ta­sized about get­ting to­gether with their crushes were less likely to do so; and the more pos­i­tive univer­sity grad­u­ates were about find­ing jobs, the fewer job of­fers they re­ceived. The rea­son? Pos­i­tive think­ing alone is not enough of a mo­ti­va­tor, and too much dream­ing can ac­tu­ally cause com­pla­cency. “You need to sup­ple­ment your pos­i­tive dreams with ob­sta­cles and re­al­ity,” ar­gues Oet­tin­gen. “Peo­ple need to know what stands in the way so that they can over­come ob­sta­cles.” To sup­port her the­ory, Oet­tin­gen cre­ated a four-step guide to wish ful­fill­ment called WOOP, which is a process ev­ery­one can fol­low to see their dreams through to com­ple­tion. Here’s her guide to mak­ing things hap­pen. WISH “The first step is iden­ti­fy­ing what your wish is. Very of­ten we feel we should be in­spired by some­thing, but we never re­ally sit down and take the time to find out what we re­ally want.”

OUT­COME “After you’ve iden­ti­fied a wish you feel pas­sion­ate about, imag­ine the best out­come after hav­ing ful­filled it. Do­ing this will al­low you to iden­tify whether or not your wish is some­thing that re­ally in­spires you.” OB­STA­CLE “Think about what is stop­ping you from ful­fill­ing that wish and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing that out­come. What is work­ing against you? This may be a feel­ing of anx­i­ety, an ir­ra­tional be­lief or even an old habit. You want to be re­ally hon­est with your­self. Find­ing the ob­sta­cle is some­times not that easy, be­cause it might not be so flat­ter­ing—be­ing able to laugh at your own weak­nesses helps. Once you’ve iden­ti­fied the ob­sta­cle, you’re of­ten able to im­me­di­ately iden­tify the ac­tion or the be­hav­iour that will al­low you to over­come it, which leads to the fourth step.”

PLAN “Now it’s time to start be­hav­ing in the way you imag­ined will help you over­come the ob­sta­cle. Once you’ve pro­grammed your­self to go through the steps, your mind will do it for you with­out a lot of ef­fort.”

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