At the start of the new year, many are focused on creating better habits. Self-improvement is a driving force in most New Year’s resolutions. As the weeks fly by, the commitment to improvement starts to wane, often sidelined by excuses. Your emotional intelligence influences whether you make excuses or take responsibility for achieving your goals. So, two months into the new year is an excellent time to assess how your emotional intelligence supports your goals.
Two Factors Impacting Goals- Excuse-Making or Responsibility Taking
Excuse making is a crutch and significantly limits success. Excuse makers focus primarily on problems rather than solutions. Because they bemoan external circumstances as the reason for their lack of success, accomplishment, and not meeting goals, it restricts their personal and professional development. It often sounds like, “I don’t have enough time,” “I am too busy,” or “I’ll get to it later.” In my work with leaders and teams, excuse-makers are the ones who struggle the most.
Excuse making is also related to procrastination, which is avoidance. It can also be associated with a profound fear of failure, fear of success, low self-worth, and a lack of commitment. And all of those reflect levels of self-regard and confidence. Did you know self-regard is part of emotional intelligence? Leaders who are excuse-makers frustrate their teams and organizations. Team members who are excuse-makers frustrate their leaders and other team members. If you have ever been in a relationship, business or otherwise, with an excuse-maker, you know how discouraging it can be.
On the other hand, responsibility takers focus on solutions. They do not get distracted by pointing fingers or allowing external circumstances to derail them. Responsibility takers embrace opportunities to grow and have the confidence to move the ball forward. They have high psychological ownership in what they say, think, and do. Taking personal responsibility is a hallmark of resiliency and emotional intelligence since it is necessary for self-improvement. People who take personal responsibility have higher emotional and behavioral intelligence levels are more respected as leaders or team members.
Goals Are Easier to Achieve with Emotional Intelligence
If you find you are on the excuse-making side of the scale, there is good news. It does not have to stay that way. Here are some steps you can take to get clear on how your emotional intelligence supports your goals and become more of a responsibility taker:
First, get clear about your belief in yourself to accomplish your goal. Do you believe you are worthy of your plan? Self-regard will be critical to the improvement you want. Self-improvement is growth. And it can be an uncomfortable process but is well worth it in the long run. Your belief in yourself will help you during the challenges that occur when pursuing a goal.
Second, get clear on your commitment. That commitment will need to include the extra time and energy it takes to achieve your goal. And it builds confidence, also part of emotional intelligence. You are investing in yourself with your goals. Are you truly bought it to do what it takes? Are you ready to take ownership of the improvement you seek? The answer may take you back to the first step in assessing your self-regard. Excuse-making reflects your level of commitment.
Third, once you are clear on your commitment, assess your priorities. Is this improvement goal near the top of your list? If other things get in the way, determine if your priorities reflect your commitment. If not, you need to rebalance your list—self-management is key to being a responsibility taker. It is also an essential emotional/behavioral intelligence skill. Self-management enables you to take charge of how you spend your time and redirect your efforts as needed.
Achieving goals is a dynamic process. If you started the year with some resolutions and are coming up short, implement the above steps. Remember that it is a process, but better emotional intelligence will help. Manage your expectations accordingly. That is not permission to make excuses. If you need some support, reach out to us or enlist the help of a trusted advisor. The satisfaction you get from keeping a commitment to improving yourself empowers you the rest of the year and beyond.