Life Goals and Well-Being:
To the Frontiers of Life Goal Research

Peter Schmuck and Ken Sheldon[1]


What are the motivational roots of happiness? Can this perennial question now be addressed scientifically? The international panel of contributors to this book think it can, despite the difficult conceptual and measurement issues involved. This introductory chapter discusses important background issues for the inquiry, including philosophical, historical, and ecological context; common classifications and measures of life goals; common definitions and measures of well-being; and important past findings regarding the relationship between these. Finally, we provide a short introduction to each of the thirteen chapters in the book, identifying the most important new questions that each chapter addresses.


[1] We thank Suitbert Ertel and Swantje Eigner for helpful comments on earlyer versions of this chapter.