Two Tools to Help You Be Your Best Self This Year

By Joe Casey

At the end of the year, one of my executive coaching clients shared her bold plan to make 2018 about becoming her best self. I found it to be very inspiring and it’s changed my thinking for the year ahead.

If you’d like to be your best self in 2018, there are two tools I would highly recommend:

WOOP It Up

The first is a practice called WOOP. It was developed by an NYU professor Gabriele Oettingen and it’s based on her empirical research on mental contrasting and her husband’s (Peter Gollwitzer) work on implementation intentions. And there’s an app .

With this process, you identify a Wish you are pursuing, the Obstacles you’ll need to overcome, the Options to do so (If this Obstacle appears, Then I’ll do that) and your step-by-step plan. It’s deceptively simple, but there’s a lot of powerful science underneath. It’s also versatile. You can use it at the level of the year of 2018 or to plan something on Thursday.

What WOOP does is to keep it real. It reality tests what you’re trying to achieve by helping you focus on the real obstacles you’ll need to solve for and the “If/Then” strategies you’ll need to have in advance of those make or break moments. I’ve used this in my coaching practice and personally it helped me qualify for the Boston Marathon.

New Habits? Don’t Start Small — Start Tiny

A New Year presents an opportunity for change — and sustainable change usually involves building new habits. If you have some in mind, it’s best to think big and start with small steps. BJ Fogg, the founder and director of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, advises to go further and think tiny. His Tiny Habits process is also simple and backed by research.

While I recommend the longer version of his TED talk, there’s also a shortened version. He helps you identify the change you’re looking for, break it down into behavioral components, start with a tiny one, anchor it to something else you always do, and recognize your efforts. I’ve used this with some coaching clients and personally to restart doing sit-ups, starting with one per day and progressing to 250 per day.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018.

Joe Casey is an executive coach who also helps people design their second acts after their corporate career. Connect on LinkedIn at joe.casey21 and follow us on Twitter @RetiremntWisdom