Michael Middleton, 01.02.2017

New Survey: Life Goals

Middle-age: what a great time to be ambitious! The folly of youth has subsided, time is still very much on your side and you have a bit more disposable income to play with – you’ve never been more ready to start fulfilling your dreams.

With this in mind, EliteSingles polled 1,250 singles aged 30-55 about their life goals and ambitions to gauge just what the priorities are for middle-aged American singles. The results are fascinating.

Life Goals, Bucket Lists and Ambition

A huge 90% of respondents described themselves as ambitious, and as many as two thirds (66%) of respondents said that they have a bucket list. ‘A list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying’, Merriam-Webster’s definition is oddly clinical – bucket lists are amongst our most emotive life goals, since these kinds of one-off life experiences tend to be the things we come to regret not doing most.

‘Life goals’ as we term it though are more general milestones – accessible to most people, finding love, building a family or making a successful career are more matters of priority than one-offs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority (57%) of US singles in our poll said they’d be most fulfilled by a successful marriage or long term relationship. This beat both ‘world travel’ and ‘a successful career’ into a distant joint second place (both 13%).

1. A successful marriage/relationship (57%)

=2. World travel (13%)

=2. Successful career (13%)

4. Raising a family (12%)

5. Further education (3%)

Attractive Ambition

Life goals are both incredibly important to the individual and in couples. Even though other qualities were found to be more sought-after in a relationship (‘Honesty’, ‘Kindness’ and ‘Sense of humor’ all polled higher), ambition is still very much valued in potential partners. A staggering 70% of those polled said they would break up with someone who they thought lacked ambition.

Being such an integral part of a relationship, it’s hardly surprising that life goals are a hot topic of conversation for dating couples. A very keen 9% of respondents said that they would happily discuss their life goals on a first date. The consensus was fairly clear though – consolidated, 89% of respondents thought it was important to discuss life goals within the first six months of a relationship. Given how much ambition shapes the course of our lives, being open and honest about what you want to achieve in your life is a sure sign of your compatibility with a potential life partner. A brave 0.5% said they’d never discuss life goals. 

Shared Life Goals

Life goals aren’t limited to individual ambitions however, and a huge number of respondents (91%) said that it was important to share some life goals with their future partner. Having goals you can work together towards is a vital expression of your love for each other – it signifies investment in and commitment to the relationship.

Asked about what life goals they were most likely to set with their future partner, the answer was a resounding ‘Yes, definitely!’ to travelling around the world together. No less than 85% of the singles we asked thought this was a life goal to aspire to. Other goals – such as starting a business together and raising a family together – were met with much more ambivalence; the majority of respondents (67% and 55% respectively) settled for ‘I’d consider it’. 

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