The 5Fs Exercise

The purpose of this exercise is to help you plan out your year and set ambitious but obtainable goals.

Do you set goals? If not, you should. Here are a few reasons why goal setting is so important.

  • Provides direction
  • A clear focus on what is important
  • Clarity in decision making
  • Gives you control of your future
  • Provides motivation
  • Gives you a sense of personal satisfaction
  • Gives you a sense of purpose in life

All of these things sound wonderful to have in your life right? Unfortunately setting goals is the easy part. Actually completing the is hard.

A study conducted by the University of Scranton found that a staggering 92% of people don’t complete their New Years resolutions [source].

If you are frustrated with your lack of follow-thru and your inability to feel any sort of accomplishment in your life, you need to change the way you set your goals.

After years of trying different methods and strategies, I found a way that works incredibly well for me. After doing the 5F exercise I have more clarity, motivation, and purpose for my year.

The Basics Of The 5F Excercise

Research by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham found that when people followed these two principles — setting specific and challenging goals — it led to higher performance 90 percent of the time.

We are going to focus on 5 areas of our lives and make specific and challenging goals.

I have written about personal growth categories and why it’s important to focus on more than one area of personal growth and development. We want to make sure we set goals in each part of our lives to feel a deeper sense of purpose and accomplishment.

You can use whatever method you would like to create these goals but I use the S.M.A.R.T goals method.

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The 5 Fs

Write these down on a piece of paper

  1. Faith
  2. Family/Friends
  3. Finances
  4. Freedom
  5. Fitness

These are the 5 categories you are going to set goals in for the year.

Again, remember that you need to set specific, time-bound, and measurable goals so you can accurately gauge how you are progressing towards the desired outcome.

Some years I focus more on fitness than I do on finances. That is okay. It’s important to realize where you need to focus and put the right amount of time and energy to those goals.

How To Complete The 5Fs Excercise

I find that most people don’t know exactly which goals they want to achieve. They have loose ideas in their heads but until they write them ALL down it’s not clear which goal is the most important.

I set aside 10-20 minutes and I write a bunch of ideas under each category. I know I won’t start 80% of these goals but I want to see what my subconscious comes up with.

After I reflect on them I widdle the list down to 1 maybe 2 goals for each category. More than 2 goals per category is a lot to take on in a year.

I also use to make each goal stretch the entire year. BIG MISTAKE. It makes more sense to set shorter time intervals to ensure you focus on them and get them done (don’t worry an example of this exercise is coming soon).

You can theme your months or quarters with your goals and feel a great sense of accomplishment multiple times per year.

The 5Fs Example

Here is a brainstorming list of ideas for which goals I would want to set for each category.

Faith

  • Read the Bible cover to cover
  • 15 minutes of prayer each morning for 60 days
  • Join a men’s group and attend every week for 3 months
  • Bring a friend to church with me once a quarter

Family/Friends

  • Take my wife on a trip overseas
  • Send a thank you card to 15 friends or family members expressing gratitude

Finances

  • Pay off my credit card
  • Save $5k for an emergency fund
  • Make $500 from my blog
  • Invest 20% of my income for 6 months
  • Make 1 extra student loan payment.

Freedom

  • Travel overseas for 7 days
  • Take a day off and drive somewhere I have never been

Fitness

  • Create and complete a push-up challenge
  • Bench 225lbs
  • 6 pack abs
  • Run a 10k

Time To Trim The List

Now that you have some ideas it’s time to trim the list to something more manageable.

Here is what it might look like

Faith

  • Read the Bible cover to cover
  • 15 minutes of prayer each morning for 60 days

Family/Friends

  • Send a thank you card to 15 friends or family members expressing gratitude

Finances

  • Pay off my credit card

Freedom

  • Take a day off and drive somewhere I have never been

Fitness

  • Create and complete a push-up challenge
  • Run a 10k

Time To Get Specific

Now that we have our goals it’s time to make them S.M.A.R.T

Here is an example for one of the goals.

Goal: Run a 10k

  • Specific – I will compete in the Ugly Christmas Sweater run in my hometown
  • Measurable – I will know I completed this goal when I cross the finish line
  • Attainable – Yes I think I can do this. I ran a 5k and although it was hard I know I can do 10k with some training
  • Relevant – I want to start running more so this will be a good jump start to creating a new habit
  • Time-bound – I will complete this goal by December 28th when the race is being held

You should go through each goal and build it out like this so you are crystal clear on how and when you will complete the goals.

Publish Your Goal

If you want to add more accountability to your goals, consider publishing them online or put them up on your wall so you can keep them in front of you year long. I found that having goals in front of me helped refocus me when I felt lost.

Don’t forget to check off your goals, it’s incredibly rewarding.

Give the 5Fs exercise a try and let me know what you think.

Get Access To The 5Fs Exercise


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