The Power of 5


Where will you be 5 years from today?

        When I was in high school, we had an assembly in which a “motivational” speaker-type woman came in and talked to the whole student body about the importance of goals. We then had to write out our 5-year goals. I am sure most of my friends blew it off and never gave it another thought. I, however, really found power in setting a specific set of goals. At 15 years old, I wrote my first set of goals, and have done so every five years since...and on February 17th, I turned 35 years old!

        I know what you’re are thinking that I am crazy, but I don’t understand how people can make decisions, be productive, find success without goals. It’s like getting in your car, getting to the stop sign at the end of your street, and then...turning? Which way? What is the most efficient way? The fast way? The most scenic route? How long will it take you to get...where? Without a destination, you don’t know. Now, having a destination, a goal in mind, doesn’t answer all of your questions, but it sure helps in the decision-making process. Life, like driving, needs a destination. Where are you going in life? When you think about where you want to be in 5 years, what comes to mind?

We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.
— Max DePree

Creating a Life of Purpose

        You don’t have to take life the way it comes to you. You can design your life to come to you the way you want it. I hope this post will help stir your creative juices and inspire you to really get in touch with your dreams. However, having dreams is not enough. A goal is a dream set into action! My hope is that this post will not only inspire you to think about your dreams, but also to take those dreams and act on them! The truth is, most of us are so busy doing what we think we have to do that we never get around to doing what we really want to do. We are so worried about being who others need us to be that we never stop to reflect on who we are and how we can be better. The Power of 5 challenges us to set five-year goals in five areas of our lives: Family, Career, Health, Finances, and Spirituality. Intentionally focusing on all five areas allows balance in our lives. Giving ourselves five years allows us the time to really make a change.

Power of 5

The Power of 5 looks at five steps for setting and achieving our goals.

Think Big

Break it Into Doable Chunks

Believe In Yourself

Surround Yourself with Support

Know Your Finish Line

        Over the next 5 years, what do you really want to do? What do you really what to have? Where do you really want to go? What do you really want to be…or better yet, WHO do you really want to become? Take a little time to step back, take a deep breath, look at where you’ve come, and make a plan to get to where you want to be.

Reflection of My 5-Year Goal (30-35)

Family/Relationship: I wanted to give my nephews and nieces experiences with me that “they will never forget.” I think I accomplished this goal. Thanks to my job and some financial planning, for several years in a row, I was able to take them on overnight stays at different waterparks. Last year, we took a trip to the Shedd Aquarium for an adventure. Instead of more toys and clothes, we spent time together, had a lot of fun, and made some great memories!

Career: My goal was to use technology to share my innovative teaching ideas and practices. While some of my Twitter friends may find it difficult to believe, it was only 4 short years ago that I decided to “try” Twitter. I use a bunch of technology in my Drama classroom (Check out my post about it: HERE), created my own web page (, and, with Michael Matera, created a collaborative education blog  ( What a fun goal to accomplish!!!

Health: At 30, I was feeling old, was eating a half gallon of ice cream, while flipping through the TV stations. I can across the Ironman. Over the next three hours of watching, I saw inspirational story after inspiration story of the “everyday people” that were completing the race. My goal was to do the Ironman! I’ll remind you that I had never really swam before, could run only a mile on workout days, and hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a kid. While I did not do an Ironman, this goal has not been a complete is allowed to reassess and alter goals. This past spring, I did my first triathlon: Kayaking, Biking, Running (I am really bad at swimming). It was awesome and helped me stay on track for my health goal.

Finances: I accomplished my 25-30 year old financial goal and had all my student loans paid off by 30! My 30-35 year old goals were to pay off the new car I had just purchased and put up to 6 months worth of my salary into savings. I read somewhere, that a strong savings is your monthly paycheck times six. Before heading to seminary, I was proud to have surpassed that amount and early last year paid off my car. I was debt free, with a secure savings!

Spirituality: I wanted to do more at church. I know this seems like a vague goal, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I was willing to try more than working with the middle school and high school youth. This decision led to the difficult choice to find a church closer to my home. I LOVED working with Carolyn, but our church was almost 30 minutes away. When I switch to Holy Cross, 8 minutes away, I was able to volunteer a lot. I was a small group leader coach on Wednesdays, a 6th grade Sunday school teacher, and got to be on several committees. I loved being more involved with church!

Setting My 5-Year Goals (35-40)

Family/Relationship: Blah...I should probably focus on a relationship, right? OK, but I am not promising to fulfill this goal. Just to work towards it. My goal is to look into ways to meet people with whom I would consider entering into a meaningful relationship...and then, pursue action steps in meeting someone! Uhhhh...what kind of person makes “love” a goal! Sad...maybe? I prefer, Driven!

Career: Man, this is an uncertain time to be making goals! Ummm...I will be a pastor...or not. Seriously though, I have been trying to stay in the moment of learning in seminary, and not get fixated on what I am going to do when I am done. There are so many possibilities. I could obviously be a parish pastor, and that really interests me. I could also continue on to get my PhD, and possibly teach at seminary, helping future leaders in the church. With my passion for innovative teaching and learning, I think I could bring something new and different to seminary education. Then again, I could go into campus ministry, missionary work, or social justice work. There are so many interesting paths. This “goal” will need to be a soft goal, a flexible goal that I will revisit in two years upon graduating. For now, my goal will be to try as many different avenues of ministry as I can. Openness, a willingness to learn, and a trust in God to lead.

Health: Use my bike more...simple and to the point! Three years ago, I bought the most awesome bike ever! And I have ridden it like 12 times. I need to use it...every time I go for a ride, I love it! So my goal is to find a riding “club” so that I can make friends who ride and who will hold me accountable.

Finances: Giving up my career, coming to seminary, and having to sell my condo at a loss has brought me back to zero. Well, less that zero, since I am taking on some student loan debt, again. So...back up the mountain! Student five years, I do not want student loan debt. In these three years of seminary, I will be intentional with how much debt I take on. In the two years after seminary, I will make choices that will allow me to pay off the loans, as quickly as possible!

Spirituality: I want to pray more, and be better at praying! One of my professors gave me some great advice: start off reading a lot of prayers for a year, then commit to writing prayers, then take every chance you get to pray aloud, especially extemporaneously. So that’s what I am going to do. 5 days a week I am going to read a prayer and write it down in my journal. After reading and transcribing other people’s prayer, I will write my own, using different styles and techniques. Finally, I will pray aloud, off the top of my head, directly from the heart, as often as I can. are my goals! I would love for you to share some of yours' in the comments below!

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
— Zig Ziglar