414 Age & Goals

Research by Buhler, Janina, L., Weidmann, R., Nikitin, J. & Grob, Alexander(2019).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, M.S.

Having a goal energizes us and gives life meaning and direction.Does the importance and attainability of our goals relate to our life satisfaction across our lifetime?

Swiss psychologists examined how goals impact an individual’s life throughout adulthood. They hypothesized participants would rate goal importance and attainability based upon their developmental tasks and personal capacities.These goals would predict future well-being. Participants, ages 18-92 years old,rated the importance and attainability of various life goals and their personal well-being — initially and at 2-and 4-yearsfollow-up.

Results? Following life developmental stages, younger people gave higher importance and attainability ratings to personal-growth, status, and work goals. Older persons rated social interaction goals higher.At a four-year follow-up, goal attainment rather than importance or type of goal, contributed most to well-being.

Goals considered important at one life stage are related to developmental tasks of that stage. Status, person-growth, and work goals so important at younger ages are less important for those at older ages. However,working to attain life goals at all ages is important and brings about personal well-being. Have a vision for what you want.Work towards it. Attaining your goals will likely bring you life satisfaction.


Buhler, J. L., Weidmann, R., Nikitin, J. & Grob, A. (2019). A closer look at life goals across adulthood: Applying a developmental perspective to content, dynamics, and outcomes of goal importance and goal attainability. European Journal of Personality, 33, 359-3824

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