Theories of life-span development often discuss the importance of identifying one’s goals to better understand that individual’s developmental trajectory. This entry focuses on the role of life goals on life-span development as well as providing examples of commonly endorsed life goals. Life goals can be described as long-term aims and objectives that reflect where an individual wishes to go and what one wants to do in life. These motivational constructs are hierarchically superordinate to the more contextualized and discrete goals, such as those that guide daily or even weekly activities, and can be viewed as subordinate to one’s singular purpose in life, a direction that combines multiple life goals into a common theme. Instead, life goals provide an organizational scheme for lower order goals, insofar ...

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