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The Best-Laid Plans

Making your resolutions a reality.

My guess is that you, like most American adults, have at least one New Year’s resolution.

But resolving to change, however fervently you wish to do so, is no guarantee that you’ll actually follow through.

Why not?

One reason is that most goals cannot be accomplished all at once and on the spot. You need a way to bridge your current intentions with your future actions. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need more willpower; you need a strategy.

Decades of research on how children and adults turn intentions into actions have culminated in a four-step process called WOOP—an acronym that stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

Let me walk you through WOOP using my New Year’s resolution as an example.