Supercharge your goal setting with emotional intelligence! Brisbane Psychologist Helen D’Silva explains the new research behind this powerful goal setting strategy …
If you have ever engaged in goal setting and found time and time again that you:
- Don’t hit your goals;
- Lose interest in your goals;
- Keep changing the time frames and deadlines and place little focus or importance on meeting deadlines;
- Feel little to no sense of achievement when you do hit your targets
Then your goal-setting strategy might be missing something significantly important.
But before we get to that – what is goal setting anyway?
What is Goal Setting?
Goal setting is a process individuals commonly engage in to set a target to be, do or have something that is currently not within immediate reach and more than likely, requires a level of challenge.
One of the common ways to undertake goal-setting is by following the S.M.A.R.T. process:
S – Specific: define your goal as clearly and specifically. Incorporate as much clarity as you can, so that you and others around you supporting you to meet your goal/s, understand what it is that you are working toward.
M – Measurable: ensure there is a way you can measure your goal. How will you be able to mark indicators of your progress toward your end target? It is a tangible measure? (If not, it more than likely should be).
A – Achievable: this is about choosing a goal that is actually possible for you to achieve. In a sense, it is about being realistic (which is what the next letter in the acronym represents). “A” should probably stand for adjustable, that is, having contingency or back up plans. Achieving goals and targets does not necessarily occur along the pathways we have in mind. Sometimes there are detours which take us toward our goal faster, slower and sometimes take us in a different direction altogether. Goal setting is not “linear”. In similar fashion to driving to an unfamiliar destination, even with the help of a satellite navigator or Google Maps, getting to the end address does not happen as the crow would fly. There are also multiple ways of getting from point A to point B and it’s important to be open to be these possibilities, to increase the chances of achieving the goal target.
R – Realistic: this is about choosing a goal that is actually something that’s earthly possible. For someone who has never gone for a jog in their life to choose to successfully run a 42 kilmometre marathon within the next seven (7) days, is highly unlikely. And in fact, can be quite demotivating as the scale tips in favour of such a goal not being met.
T – Time: it is said that achieving goals should be bound by a time frame as it promotes focus on achieving the goal and helps to avoid the goal stretching out over much more time than intended, and perhaps not ever being achieved at all. A consideration though is that this is a boundary which can be both motivating and demotivating. If you perceive achieving your goal with an attitude of it being a game, and are excited by the challenge of achieving your goal within a certain deadline, fantastic! However, if you are someone who develops negative anxiety at the thought of this, then this parameter immediately becomes severely demotivating. The pressure of not being able to achieve the goal becomes heavier than a positive excitement of achieving it.
Something Missing …
Personally, I feel there is something missing in this framework … reward, recognition and celebration!
It is significantly important to psychological wellbeing to celebrate achievement in order to pre-empt meeting future goals. Billion-dollar businesses such as Red Balloon – created by leading Australian entrepreneur Naomi Simson – recognised this early on and educate businesses on the importance of undertaking this exercise as normal continual practice in the workplace. (My right brain cannot yet come up with a catchy, creative way to tack on the letter “R” again to S.M.A.R.T.!)
While this framework has been commonly used for many, many decades, there is an additional element that is now being recognised through scientific, controlled studies: the incorporation of Emotional intelligence into the process, leads to better results in setting the “right goals” in the first place, and also achievement of these in education, the workplace and leadership roles.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Our brain has regions which function in different ways to protect us, help us survive and flourish – and it is our right brain that functions more strongly in terms of processing and expressing emotion, being creative and intuitive. Our left brain is stronger in thinking with rationale, logic and critical thinking.
People sometimes refer to themselves as being more right-brained or more left-brained to describe the sort of person they might be. Those who spend more of their time either performing, being involved in and stimulated positively by creative arts and creative processes, or careers that tap into these traits, are identified as being right-brained.
Careers that call for organisation skills, good time management, risk-planning, process management and logical thought, will often suit those who are identified as being left-brained.
Goal Setting with Emotional Intelligence
But what does this mean for setting goals and most importantly, meeting goal targets?
Whether or not you might be more right-brained or left-brained is not the focus here; it’s knowing that you have this capacity in your brain to consciously tap into, to greatly help make your goal-setting process a lot easier, effective and enjoyable!
There are three main benefits individuals have been missing out on by not setting emotionally intelligent goals:
- Setting goals that are in alignment with your values, opinions and philosophies increases the likelihood you will meet your goals with less effort;
- Goal setting with emotional intelligence can contribute to better overall, general emotional wellbeing;
- The emotional imprint of success is tapped into when setting emotionally intelligent goals; emotional confidence builds with tangible measures of positive progress and success which inspires more challenging goals to be set and subsequently met.
For the last 12 years or so, research is showing that actively incorporating and engaging right-brain activities within the goal-setting process, in education, sport and in the workplace, adds a definite advantage as they further cement a greater sense of individual purpose and deepen an emotional connection and commitment to achieve results
For businesses and leaders of teams in the workplace, there are additional strategies, assessments and tools that can be implemented to gauge where employees are at. This additional knowledge greatly adds to:
- Setting targets more easily, with clearer focus;
- Having employees emotionally connected to achieving the goal and going beyond the call of duty, because there is a higher level of satisfaction when work goals are met;
- Achieving goals more quickly and moving onto newer goals, faster;
- Imparting a strategy for employees to use in all other facets of their work;
- Developing stronger leaders;
- Developing a self-sustaining positive culture in the work environment.
Whether or not you are an individual, employee, business owner or senior leader, if you are not getting the results you want with your current goal setting strategy, you may want to further explore the options that are available to you.
Author: Helen D’Silva, B Sc (Hons), M Psych (Sport and Exercise).
Goal setting with emotional intelligence is one of Helen’s most passionate subject matters. With the following credentials:
- performance psychologist and HR consultant working with individual clients and professional services organisations;
- 10 years’ experience as a leading salesperson in retail and consultative sales;
- Certified and nationally accredited facilitator and content writer for ASQA certified VET business courses.
Helen is eager to help individuals re-set their roadmap and get on the right road.
She is available for individual consultations, group workshops and coaching for senior leaders to facilitate emotional goal setting themselves within their businesses.
Freecall 1800 877 924 or book Brisbane Psychologist Helen D’Silva online today!