Means, Ends, and Happiness: The Role of Goals for Subjective Well-Being

  • Marie Hennecke
  • Veronika Brandstätter


Through the pursuit of goals people take charge of their own lives. Unsurprisingly, personal goals also have important implications for subjective well-being. The current chapter reviews the conditions under which and the processes through which goal pursuit fosters or hinders the experience of subjective well-being. It provides answers to questions like: Does pursuing goals make people happy? And is the pursuit of all kinds of goals conducive of happiness or what is the role of goal content for happiness? Does it matter whether individuals try to avoid bad outcomes or try to approach good outcomes through their goals? Does it make people happier to pursue concrete goals and to focus on the process or to pursue abstract goals and have the desired outcome in mind? Should individuals always stick to their goals or can it be useful to disengage? And finally: Does what we know about goals and well-being hold universally across all cultures?


Goals Goal pursuit Goal qualities Well-being Happiness 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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