There are a lot of ways to reach a goal, but the gold standard is full engagement. The closer the goal is oriented to what really matters to you, the higher the likelihood of achievement – and happiness.
Engagement is generally understood well enough when it comes to relationships. The involved couple – just getting to know each other – haven’t committed. The engaged pair, on the other hand, have decided to make it permanent.
Outside of relationships, the distinction is often muddled. You can be deeply involved with the movie, book, sporting event, emergency room visit, speech, deadline, etc., but obviously there isn’t any commitment beyond enjoying, or enduring the experience of the moment. Yet, this involvement, the immersed state – is routinely misidentified as engagement. Immersion has little lasting power and details fade quickly. The general emotions are what come to mind, but soon, even these disappear. Occasionally, what’s experienced may return too vividly, but this comes of reliving, or re-hashing, rather than understanding and moving forward. And understanding and moving forward are what engagement is all about.
Success – Will that Be Regular or Satisfying?
Goal setting is an essential personal priority. Sorting out the difference between involvement and engagement is a critical necessity whenever a commitment is on the radar. Prospective jobs, courses of study – or anything new, really – that immediately appeal lose their shine quickly. In the everyday sense, the long term commitment and satisfaction factor usually hinge on how well the balance between what is expected of us, and what we can expect in return is maintained. In choosing between a high income job where selling nutritionally questionable foods is top priority, or a less exciting position with a company that places environmental responsibility high on the values list – would you consider the second job if you thought you’d stay happier there?
Engagement keeps motivation alive even if the going gets seriously tough. Without that vital connection, giving up, or having to resort to chronic self control to stick with it are common outcomes. Discovering what truly engages in the first place goes a long way to ensuring long-term satisfaction, despite bumps in the road.
When the Glitter Has Tarnished
But all’s not lost if you find yourself committed out of involvement and bloom is now off the rose. Look at the task you’re involved with – and find a goal within it that connects more with your inner need for growth.
Look around – are there other people you could somehow provide back-up for?
Look closer – is there anything about the task you could learn more about ?
Look to the future – does the task teach you basics you could use to find more engaging activities?
Give it some careful thought and you’ll see ways to restore your inner link to motivation. Self-control burns a lot of energy, so even the smallest re-connection to engagement saves you in the long-haul. And, at the end of the day, if the new commitments aren’t enough in themselves, you still have the option. Sometimes the decision to start over and set a target more in tune with your drive to thrive is your very best bet. Don’t underestimate. Your current commitments can teach you plenty about what you really want to commit to.