Motivation and emotion/Book/2019/WOOP model of motivation

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WOOP model of motivation:
What is the WOOP model of motivation and how can it be applied?

Overview[edit | edit source]

WOOP is an intervention or tool aimed at achieving goals while using a 4 step sequential process to increase motivation (Saddawi-Konefkaet al., 2017). WOOP is a form of goal setting developed by a professor by the name Gabriele Oettingen, that is structured sequentially as: Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan. It is essentially a tool related to mental contrasting and implementation intentions (Adriaanse et al., 2010) that are used to increase motivation by adopting changes in behaviour (Saddawi-Konefkaet al., 2017). The steps are:

  1. Wish - Initiating a goal that you would like to accomplish, (something that you may have always wanted to overcome or achieve but lack the motivation to, the goal must also be realistic) e.g. from completing an assessment to reducing caffeine intake.
  2. Outcome - What is the best ideal that you want for yourself, how do you want to feel afterwards, e.g. feeling proud of yourself, reducing irritability from caffeinism)
  3. Obstacle - What are the things stopping you from reaching your ideal self, what factors in your life may play a part to increase negative behaviours? e.g distractions from phone or socialising context.
  4. Plan - Commence writing up a plan to overcome all possible obstacles that may arise, and determine ways to overcome each individual obstacle e.g. turning the internet off of your phone and putting it in another room while studying, when everyone goes for a smoke break, make a phone call to a loved one, to increase positive emotions away from having a cigarette, giving your behaviour a new cue.
Figure 1. Overview of sources of motivation

Motivation aids in providing direction and maintenance of beneficial behaviours (Mcinerney, 2019) to achieve desired outcomes (Reeve, 2018). Motivation is broken up into two determinants, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivations are hobbies that you do because they bring you joy whereas extrinsic motivation is driven by rewards. WOOPs[grammar?] model of motivation is incorporating both, by encouraging extrinsic motivation and modifying it to become intrinsic motivation or positive habits to increase well-being.

This chapter works on understanding what the WOOP model of motivation is and how it can be applied to everyday life to increase overall life satisfaction and increase well-being. Acknowledging the underlying psychological theories and the importance of goals, benefits and limitations become available. Application of the WOOP model allows further implications to become available.

Underlying psychological theories[edit | edit source]

Psychology is a study of the mind and body that can help assess behaviour. Goal setting, self efficacy theory, drive reduction theory and Maslow’s hierarchy produce some background to understanding the importance of goals and the effectiveness the WOOP model of motivation can have.

Goal setting theory[edit | edit source]

Goal setting directly involves initiating a plan of action or rules to achieve the desired outcome. In 1960, Edwin Locke developed the goal setting theory (Locke & Latham, 2002),[grammar?] it indicated that goal-setting is closely linked with performance. It is insisted that goals must be attainable but also challenging (Hollenbeck & Williams, 1987) to provide a sense of accomplishment. Gómez-Miñambres (2012) used this within their comparative study between students and found that those who reached their goals persevered through obstacles and results indicated that pride after their accomplishments was overall increased. One’s ability and commitment are also key factors within Locke’s research as it acknowledges that an individual needs to believe they can attain the goal (Dweck & Leggett, 1988) and that the goal is directly from the individual to encourage motivation (Locke & Latham, 2002). This specific theory builds on the significance of developing the WOOP model.

Self efficacy theory[edit | edit source]

Albert Bandura developed the self-efficacy theory over 3 decades, and this theory is based on one’s own belief in their self to complete specific actions or adopt specific desired behaviours (Bandura, 1993). Accommodating the goal-setting theory, self-efficacy is the acknowledgment of one’s capability and ensuring attainability is appropriate. Self-efficacy is essential in the WOOP development process as goals must be reachable to ensure positive outcomes. It is important to understand that self-efficacy is influenced by personal experiences, vicarious experience, social persuasion, visualisation and physiological feedback (Gavriel, 2016) making it essential in the wish development phase of WOOP and help the development of the obstacle stage.

Drive reduction theory[edit | edit source]

In 1943 Clarke Hull developed the drive reduction theory, which was a basis for understanding that motivation comes from physiological needs. A need (desire to finish an assessment) is met by a drive (motivation to learn and work on the assessment) and results in the drive reducing behaviour (completing the work and learning new content) (Schneider, Adamy & Schneider, 2015).  Although this theory originates from physical and biological needs, specifically evolution, it is understood that those who are successful in meeting their needs and desires are increasingly successful in development (Schneider et al., 2015). This understanding of motivation can assist the acknowledgment of WOOPS[grammar?] outline and how its importance is evident.  

Maslow's hierarchy of needs[edit | edit source]

Figure 2. Maslow's hierarchy of needs pyramid

In the same year of the development of the drive reduction theory, came Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Mental health and well-being are significant to all beings,[grammar?] it is essential for positive development. The hierarchy begins with the base physiological needs (or survival needs), followed by safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs then the final level in this original model is self – actualisation (Gorman, 2010). Gorman (2010) acknowledges that the mastery of the first few levels is essential to have a satisfactory level of well-being. This understanding of accomplishment to fulfil needs builds on our knowledge of the importance of using the WOOP model of motivation to reach desires.

The importance of goals[edit | edit source]

Goals are essential to motivation and well-being (Steca et al., 2016). As previously mentioned, they create an outline for behavioural responses to obstacles to achieve desired outcomes (Dweck & Leggett, 1988). Locke & Latham (2002) found 4 significant factors that goals produce for an individual; direction, motivation, persistence and satisfaction. Acknowledging the importance and differences between short and long term goals can help with the development of WOOP specific to the individual.

Short term goals[edit | edit source]

Figure 3. Example of goals that can be attainable

Short term goals are essentially just that, short term[vague], specifically associated with small goals that can be and are, accomplished in short periods, usually within 12 months. Short-term goals have proven effective in maintaining motivation and encouragement for long term goals,[grammar?] it provides positive feedback that individuals are on the right track or indicate if they are straying (Steca et al., 2016). Steca et al., (2016) completed a study determining the effects of short-term goals on well-being and found that the subjects who made attainable short-term goals and continuously progressed showed increased levels of well-being[Provide more detail].

Long-term goals[edit | edit source]

Long-term goals are generally past 5 years, and sometimes but not always consist of short-term goals within them. Long-term goals are a bit harder to perceive whether or not an individual is on the right path as many obstacles may deter from an end goal. They are important in that they provide the desired end goal, and are usually bigger goals that will alter life decisions (Kugel, 2015). To increase the chances of achieving long-term goals, short-term goals should be put in place as they solidify the direction of achievement (Steca et al., 2016).

Advantages and limitations[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]

Benefits[edit | edit source]

Many benefits arise with goal setting enhancing the importance of WOOP. The benefits of goal-related behaviours have been increasing in awareness within the psychology discipline. Many of the advantages to goal setting have been mentioned previously; including naturalistic drive as part of evolution, as well as meeting increased satisfaction levels of well-being. Essentially goal setting leads to increased performance and using planned outlines such as WOOP, motivation can be enhanced. Following these points, it is accompanied by a study completed by Zhou (2016), where it was found that successful completion of goals increased overall positive emotion and further performance[Provide more detail].

Limitations[edit | edit source]

Zhou’s (2016) study focused on the emotional status of university students during an achievement task,[grammar?] their results also found that failures with goal setting lead to negative emotional responses. Some possible limitations with goal making are that they be in contradiction with others around, specifically in a social context (Graham, 2017). Gutt, Rechenberg, & Kundisch (2018) completed a study on goal achievement and found contradicting results to the previous study, in that their subjects decreased effort in progression once initial goals are met. Individuals may be unable to realise what goals are attainable, leading themselves on a downward progression and decreased well-being due to consistent failures. This enhances the importance of understanding goals and how to achieve specific minor goals and setting plans to achieve long-term goals.

Applying WOOP[edit | edit source]

Case Study 'Stella'
  1. Stella is an unmotivated nineteen year old inbetween jobs who is depreciating in mental health due to laziness and lack of purpose. She used to love to go to the gym every morning before school; it kept her on time and motivated to stay active. She had a part-time job that she would go to after school hours and then would return home and relax or do homework until bed time. She found that working out in the morning signified some freedom for her and kept her mind and body healthy. She made the abrupt choice to quit her part-time job after high school finished to look for a full-time job with possibilities of a blooming career. She failed to find a job within the first two weeks and felt discouraged to keep looking. Stella stopped working out and began watching TV most days and nights, she has gained a lot of weight over the last year due to her lack of exercise alone. Without a plan to overcome these obstacles, Stella’s future does not look promising for her health.

Table 1.
Using the WOOP model of motivation for the Case Study: 'Stella'

Using Woop: Stella
Goal Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan
1. Feeling motivated to

wake up early

The wish is to wake up

early every day

An increased perspective of self,

begin the day feeling refreshed and

motivated to get things done

Going to bed late

and using it as an excuse

or snoozing an alarm

No matter what time Stella may go to bed,

the response is to immediately jump out of bed,

even if that means moving the alarm clock further away.

2. Go to the gym more The wish is to go to the gym every morning again. Increase sense of healthy

mind and body, sense of pride from accomplishment,

losing weight.

Feeling unmotivated to go Get gym gear ready every night

before bed to mentally prepare for the next,

if feeling unmotivated just goes anyways, it will get easier every day.

3. Finding a Job The wish is to find a job Feeling accomplished and prideful, increasing overall wellbeing Feeling discouraged. No matter the outcome,

make it part of a routine,

every morning apply for a new job that seems appropriate.

4. Watch less TV The wish is to spend less time watching TV Feeling more productive and positive about self. Easy to watch TV and lazy around. Stella could watch TV after she accomplishes everything

she set out to do for the day, and make sure the TV does not get turned on before a certain time of day.

Future implications[edit | edit source]

Due to the significance of goals and its underlying relationship with developmental well-being, researchers must continue to explore the possibly effective tools that are available and enhance awareness. Incorporating WOOP into early education studies has the potential to increase motivation in adolescents and encourage positive habits into their lives. As there is not much evidence-based on WOOP specifically, it does have potential and should be used in a clinical context to determine the extent of its productivity. Comparing WOOP with other tools like SMART (Gómez-Miñambres, 2012) could aid in determining to what extent the model plays in achieving goals.

Test your knowledge[edit | edit source]

Choose the correct answers and click "Submit":

1 What does WOOP stand for?

Wishfully Overcoming Orange Pizzas
Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan
Win, Obey, Overcome, Plan

2 WOOP is a model of what?.


3 WOOP was developed by who?

Albert Bandura
Edwin Locke
Gabriele Oettingen
Clarke Hull

4 Which is an appropriate example of a goal

I want to win a million dollars in the lotto
I wish to become president within the next 5 years
I want to go to the gym every morning

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The WOOP model of motivation and its ability to be used to reach all attainable goals makes it a very important tool within developmental well-being. Underlying psychological theories aids in understanding the importance of motivation through goals and attaining them. Both short-term and long-term goals are an important factor in individual development;[grammar?] ensuring goal success has been linked to research as it influences future decisions and progression. There are both advantages and limitations to goal setting but it is essentially a part of all walks of life and understanding all parts of goal making can reduce the disadvantages. Research on the topic of WOOP as a tool is minimal and should be explored within clinical studies as it has the potential to be beneficial to all individuals especially in the adolescent developmental phase to help structure the life of accomplishments and overall increased well-being. It is a pretty simple tool for individuals of all educations to comprehend and incorporate, the question is whether or not an individual wants to make a change and use this tool.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. “Educational Psychologist”, “28”, 117-148.

Dweck, C., & Leggett, E. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. “Psychological Review”, “95(2)”, 256–273.

Gavriel, J. (2016). Perceived self-efficacy. “Education for Primary Care”, “27(2)”, 144–145.

Gómez-Miñambres, J. (2012). Motivation through goal setting. “Journal of Economic Psychology”, “33(6)”, 1223–1239.

Gorman, D. (2010). Maslow’s Hierarchy and Social and Emotional Wellbeing. “Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal”, “34(1)”, 27–29.

Graham, H. (2017). Why social contexts matter. “Addiction”, “112(3)”, 396–396.

Gutt, D., Von Rechenberg, T., & Kundisch, D. (2018). Goal achievement, subsequent user effort and the moderating role of goal difficulty. “Journal of Business Research”.

Hollenbeck, J., & Williams, C. (1987). Goal Importance, Self-Focus, and the Goal-Setting Process. “Journal of Applied Psychology”, “72(2)”, 204–211.

Kugel, C. (2015). The project sprint.(Data Timer / Long-Term Goals). “Marketing Insights”, “27(2)”.

Locke, E., & Latham, G. (2002). Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation. “American Psychologist”, “57(9)”, 705–717.

Mcinerney, D. (2019). Motivation. “Educational Psychology”, “39(4)”, 427–429.

Reeve, J. (2018). “Understanding motivation and emotion” (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Saddawi-Konefka, D., Baker, K., Guarino, A., Burns, S., Oettingen, G., Gollwitzer, P., & Charnin, J. (2017). Changing Resident Physician Studying Behaviors: A Randomized, Comparative Effectiveness Trial of Goal Setting Versus Use of WOOP. “Journal of Graduate Medical Education”, “9(4)”, 451–457.

Schneider, M., Adamy, J., & Schneider, M. (2015). Artificial motivations based on drive-reduction theory in self-referential model-building control systems. “The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) Conference Proceedings.”, “2015”-, 1–8.

Steca, P., Monzani, D., Greco, A., D’Addario, M., Cappelletti, E., & Pancani, L. (2016). “The Effects of Short-Term Personal Goals on Subjective Well-Being.(Clinical report)”. “17(4)”, 1435–1450.

Zhou, M. (2016). University Students’ Emotion During Online Search Task: A Multiple Achievement Goal Perspective. “The Journal of Psychology”, “150(5)”, 576–590.

External links[edit | edit source]