WOOP It Up This Year!

Suzanne DaileyBlog, Manage Better, Reflect Better, Self Care Better, Teach Happier


  • The post discusses the WOOP goal-setting strategy as a way to transition from a summer state of rest and relaxation to a productive school year.
  • WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan. It’s designed to help individuals set and achieve challenging yet feasible goals.
  • The author’s personal example involves planning deliberate rest during the school year to maintain balance and energy, with strategies to overcome potential obstacles.

WOOP It Up This Year: Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan

Here we are in early September. Rested. Energized. Optimistic. All of the things. In June’s and July’s blogs, What Now and Happily Exhausted, we took some time to examine our thriving Summer Self and consider how we could bring a little bit of that into our 23-24 School Self.

This month’s episode may have made you chuckle: “Let’s WOOP it up this school year.” If you are a Real Housewives fan, you are picturing our beloved OG Vicki whooping it up. If you are in your 40s, I see you chanting, Whoomp, There It Is (sorry, but that Tag Team song will be stuck in your head all day). But this WOOP doesn’t have anything to do with a catchy song or hilarious housewife. This WOOP is different.

I often brag that I work alongside some of the most passionate, intelligent educators on this planet. I am always learning from those around me. A few weeks ago, 2 colleagues and I were facilitating a summer workshop based on the work of Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before. Together as a K-12 group, we examined our habits and routines to see how they impacted the way we moved through our days at school and at home.

To accomplish this, my beloved (and hilarious) colleague Michele introduced our group to the WOOP goal-setting strategy. I had never heard of this before, but turns out, it’s quite popular (www.woopmylife.org). When we shared it at the workshops, colleagues seemed to dig it. I’ve put it to the test, deciding I want to WOOP it up as we prepare to usher in a new school year.

The WOOP Strategy

Let’s examine what WOOP means and how it could possibly apply to us in this 23-24 school year.

W- What is a wish you have for the upcoming school year? This should be something that may be challenging, but feasible.

O- What could be the very best outcome of this wish? In other words, what would be the best thing about fulfilling this wish?

O- What is a potential obstacle? This could be a mental or logistical one force that would get in the way of fulfilling your wish.

P – What is the plan to overcome this potential obstacle? (For our longtime blog readers, we’ve practiced this with our “Even If” strategy).

How do you want to WOOP it up this year? What’s your wish, outcome, potential obstacles, and plan to accomplish your goals? Click To Tweet

Now that we know the WOOP acronym, I’ll reflect on my summer and walk you through my WOOP goal in hopes that it inspires you to do the same.

This summer, something on my “What Now” list was to read. I’m pleased to report I read a ton of fiction and nonfiction with the unstructured minutes of summer. One of the things I read was an article by Dr. Frank Lipman, a doctor of integrative and functional medicine. Dr. Lipman shared the term deliberate rest. Oh, doesn’t deliberate rest sound glorious?! He says, “When you intentionally take a break when your head is swirling with lots of things to do, that’s called deliberate rest. When practicing deliberate rest, it’s important to realize you’re not doing nothing. Rather, you are actually giving yourself a chance to rebuild and return to balance. Deliberate rest is as essential as sleep. Restorative breaks give your body time to refuel and get ready for the next period of pushing yourself. Otherwise, we will burn out.”

Summer Suzanne could practice deliberate rest with ease, but I anticipate School Suzanne will struggle to rebuild and return to balance when there is always just so much to do.

Let’s WOOP It Up

My wish? Intentionally plan for deliberate rest once the school year begins. It will be challenging, but I think it’s feasible.

The very best outcome of incorporating pockets of deliberate rest will give me the space and capacity to approach personal and professional commitments with presence, energy, and care.

When I consider potential obstacles, they are easy to name. Mentally, I can see my school self saying, “Just check one more thing off the list and then you can call it a day.” An additional obstacle is logistics; adjusting to the way some days naturally unfold despite the planning and preparation. Days when work is go-go-go, and then home is go-go-go. On those busy days, deliberate rest may not be a realistic option.

My plan is this: Even if I have days that are extremely busy at work and at home and don’t have the chance for deliberate rest, I will prioritize it the following day. This could look like giving myself a little extra sleep the next morning or deciding to not eat my lunch in the car between schools or in front of my laptop but rather walking away and eating quietly or with friends. I’ll try to manufacture time within the next day to be sure deliberate rest is on the agenda. Since my kids are older, I can also express that it was an exceptionally busy day and I need some time and space to rest and reset. It may not be comfortable requesting this in the moment, but I’d like to think that it models a habit of a balanced adult.

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How do you want to WOOP it up this year? What’s your wish, outcome, potential obstacles, and plan to accomplish your goals?

Our invitation this month is to set a small goal or two in our personal or professional lives. Let’s bring some of our Summer Self into our School Self. What better way to WOOP it up this year?

 Small Shifts, BIG Gifts!

Give it a try! Consider a personal or professional goal you have in this upcoming school year and walk that goal through the WOOP strategy. In 4 weeks, check in with your progress and adjust as needed.



About Suzanne Dailey

Suzanne Dailey is a proud member of the Teach Better Family! She is an instructional coach in the Central Bucks School District where she has the honor and joy of working with elementary teachers and students in 15 buildings. Suzanne is Nationally Board Certified, a Fellow of the National Writing Project, and has a master’s degree in Reading. She is dedicated to nurturing and developing the whole child and teacher. Suzanne lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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