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Do you “wish” some part of your life were different? Around the turn of a new year, most of us at least, think about, thinking about these kinds of things.

Unless you believe in magic, you also know that you are going to have to do something different if you want things to change. In your heart of hearts, you get that it’s not a good idea to rely on the tooth fairy. That is, if you really want your wish to come true. Sorry about that.

To make matters worse, new research also reveals that those “Believe in miracles,” and “Anything is possible” messages, we’re fed by the media, may actually do more harm than good.

“Spending a lot of time thinking about hopes and dreams may make you even less likely to do what’s required, to actually achieve those dreams.”

So says, NYU psychologist, Gabriele Oettingen, in her new book “Rethinking Positive Thinking”.

Dr. Oettingen calls “wishing” a big waste of time. I can’t believe she hasn’t thrown a few coins into some fountain along the way. Never the less, her point is well taken.

Magical thinking often does go too far. Even some mental health professionals have been guilty of supporting the notion that “gaining insight” about past failures, for example, is the ticket to success.

Gaining insight is NOT a magic solution. Like most things, it is just one part of a process..

People have spent years, looking for that magical “a-ha” moment when they will finally understand where they have gone wrong. Please re-think this. Gaining insight, with or without therapy, is simply not enough.

It is when you concentrate on the obstacles that you, or your world, have placed in the way of your dream, that ultimate success, becomes more likely. But, make no mistake… this is much harder to do than plain old wishing and waiting.

“WOOP,” Dr. Oettingen’s acronym for WISH OUTCOME, OBSTACLE, PLAN, may be worth a try, if you are up to the challenge.


1. WISH: Has to do with defining a goal, … it doesn’t have to be anything big; it just need to be something you care about.

2. OUTCOME: Imagine that your wish has come true. Can you think about the best possible outcome? Take a few moments, in your mind’s eye, to enjoy and experience what this feels like.


3. OBSTACLES: This is the step that separates the proverbial men from the boys. Spend time identifying what it is that’s holding you back. What is it that is standing in your way of achieving your goal? An emotion? Often, that’s what it is. Or, maybe, your problem is something more tangible. Whatever, give this search the attention it deserves.

4. PLAN: Now that you have defined those pesky “enemy-obstacles,” design an if/then plan. Can you commit the idea that, if “this” happens, I will do “that”? Can you do it in your mind’s eye? If you can, it will make it ultimately easier to execute, in real life. People who are serious about making their wish come true, prepare themselves for moving ahead, no matter what the obstacle.

“WOOP” is fun to say. But there is also solid research behind this idea. People who are successful in “WOOPING” it up, have gotten thinner and/or richer. Some of them have learned to eat more vegetables. Others have become “luckier” in love.

I hope I have gotten your attention.

2015 can be the year you make your “wish” come true.

Thanks for all your wonderful responses.

Happy New Year,

Thanks For Visiting,

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