At every point in the lifespan, achievement is paramount to emotional well-being. Research on achievement supports the idea that developing autonomy and creativity should be primary goals of a healthy adulthood. Achievement is often measured as the positive and cumulative results of goal attainment and skill mastery for the individual. Achievement helps foster a secure sense of self as a capable individual and an identity that allows for future exploration and expansion of living life fully. Attaining goals involves reaching some socially desired milestone (e.g., graduating from high school), acquiring a positive outcome (e.g., receiving an award), or mastering a skill (e.g., learning to ride a bike).

Both goal attainment and skill mastery—the enhancement of aptitude through practice—vary considerably depending on where one is in the ...

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