This study addresses developmental regulation in adults at different ages. A conceptual model of optimization in primary and secondary control across the life span (OPS model) is presented, and predictions about age differences in developmental regulation are derived. Developmental goals, expectations about goal attainment and control, control strategies, life satisfaction, and age identification were assessed in a sample of 510 young, middle-aged, and old adults. At increasing age, the participants expressed (a) greater awareness of a reduced potential for growth and control. (b) increased focus on age-appropriate goals for primary control striving, (c) more goals directed at the avoidance of developmental losses and fewer goals aimed at developmental gains, and (d) a stronger tendency for compensatory secondary control, as shown in greater goal flexibility, more satisfaction with present life, and identification with younger age groups.