Pursuing Eudaimonic Functioning Versus Pursuing Hedonic Well‑Being: The First Goal Succeeds in Its Aim, Whereas the Second Does Not
We used a new methodology for assessing change motivation (Hudson and Fraley 2015, 2016) to test the hypothesis that striving to improve one’s hedonic well-being
fails in its aim, whereas striving to improve one’s eudaimonic functioning succeeds. In
three studies, participant goals to increase subjective well-being (SWB) were negatively
correlated with concurrent SWB, whereas goals to increase relative intrinsic versus extrinsic value orientation (RIEVO) were positively correlated with concurrent RIEVO. In Study
3’s longitudinal investigation, Time 1 RIEVO change goals predicted increased RIEVO six
and 12 weeks later, whereas Time 1 SWB change goals did not affect longitudinal SWB.
Together, the data support the Aristotelian idea that people should pursue eudaimonia
rather than happiness, not least because the latter pursuit may not be as effective.