With the new year comes new hopes that things will be different. This year will be the year that I finally finish a full book, lose that extra 10 pounds, and make big moves at work. Unfortunately, most new year aspirations never make it past February. The same goes for our teams at work.
I don't think the widespread breakdown in follow-through is a result of not trying. Most of us are eager to start down a path toward change and transformation. However, what will inevitably pop up along our journey are roadblocks -- instances where our resolve will be tested, and we'll have to overcome uncomfortable tribulations.
In my experience, those individuals and teams that beat the odds take new year's resolutions and goals one step further than most -- they expect and plan for failure. This more modest and unassuming approach to goal setting is a sign of applied emotional intelligence (EQ).
According to Jennifer Shirkani, EQ expert, author, and founder and CEO of Penumbra, emotional intelligence is a critical factor in effective goal setting that is often forgotten. Shirkani offered these three tips to help you increase the odds of reaching your goals.
1. Be realistic
Know your and your team's limitations. Part of crafting realistic goals is practicing self-awareness and being honest with yourself about what's feasible.
If you want to deploy a continuous improvement project, but don't currently have the resources to execute the process as is, then you may want to reevaluate the goal. Limitations can be difficult to accept. However, with acknowledgment comes the process of setting incremental, realistic milestones that fit the team's abilities.
Don't take this the wrong way; it's important to set stretch goals and challenge your team. Just make sure that you start small, build momentum, and learn fast.
2. Build-in accountability.
The best way to add layers of accountability is to tell other people about your goals. Using situational awareness, find opportunities to articulate your goals to others who can both challenge you if they see you slipping and support you when you need it.
Having an accountability partner has been incredibly useful for me. Letting myself down is one thing, but the fear and embarrassment of disappointing someone else scares me straight.
3. Celebrate success.
If all you choose to focus on are headwinds and issues, then you'll never find enough energy or motivation to persevere.
Those who experience continued success don't think like this. They are experts at self-managing and controlling their emotions. They don't let bad moods or setbacks ruin their attitude and performance at work.
When feeling defeated, focus on what you have accomplished, not on what you haven't. Use that positive emotion to fuel confidence and maintain momentum.
A critical part of goal achievement is planning for and managing the rollercoaster of emotions that come along with it. Taking time to build in these EQ tips will ensure your level of emotional fortitude is consistent with the difficulty of your goals.