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This contribution to your abbreviation bingo vocabulary is all about productivity.

Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions

Also known as WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) is something I just stumbled across when trying to–once again–find new hacks to encourage The Brain to stop with procrastination. I know, I know bit late to he WOOP game.

Wish: means identifying a small or long-term goal. It could be something as simple as wanting to go to the gym regularly.
Outcome: the article suggested to connect with the positive feelings you expect when achieving the goal.
Obstacles: Identify what stops you.
Plan: In this step actions to overcome expected obstacles should be identified. (happierhuman.com)

Fantasy realization theory (Oettingen, 2000; Oettingen, 2012) presents a solution: In order to inspire behavior change, positive future fantasies need to be complemented with a clear sense of reality. That is, when positive fantasies are mentally contrasted with potential obstacles, they provide the effort and energy necessary to realize the fantasies. However, energization will occur only when chances of success are high; when achievability looks bleak, mental contrasting leads to actively letting go of the unfeasible wish. (Oettingen & Reininger, 2016, p.

Research has concluded that mental contrasting should not be used with people with low confidence.
This has not been my experience. At least not if the model is not solely self-directed. I have worked extensively with students who suffered with low self-belief or confidence. These students focused too much on the obstacles. However, helping to explore the obstacles, using scenario technique, breaking the obstacles down into elements, and then identifying the smallest possible actionable they would feel confident implementing, was a good way to help the students progress and face their fears, instead of letting go of their goals. This has over time helped to build confidence.


Oettingen, G., and Reininger, K. M. ( 2016), The power of prospection: mental contrasting and behavior change, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10: 591604. doi: 10.1111/spc3.12271.

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