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  • Writer's pictureMark Fonville, CFP®

How to Achieve Happiness with a Simple Formula and Plan

Every year around this time, I take a few hours to update my goals for the year ahead.

It's something I've done for as long as I can remember.

There is just something about actually writing things down that improves the likelihood of successfully accomplishing what's important to you in the first place.

My "annual" goals plan isn't complex.

In fact, it's purposefully simple. The simplicity of it makes it easier to track and follow. It's also fun to look back to see what my goals were five years ago and review how far I've come.

Someone once told me that "structure shall set you free." Perhaps that isn't true for everyone, but as the son of a Georgia Tech engineer, that saying certainly resonates with me.

It should be no surprise then that my plan is modeled after a formula designed to steer myself and others toward greater happiness in life.

After all, isn't happiness what we're all seeking for ourselves and our loved ones?

The formula for happiness looks like this:

Happiness = Faith + Family + Finances + Friends + Fitness

Using this formula, you can easily create a plan for your own goals next year. Here's an example of my 2023 plan:


  • Attend church at least twice a month.

  • Volunteer at church/charity 40 hours a year

  • Give $xxx to charity/church


  • Eat dinner with daughter/son once a month for a "date" night

  • Call mom once a week

  • Take major trips with family

  • Learn to play the guitar

  • Read two books a month

  • Grow oysters on the bay


  • Personal: Increase net worth to $xxx. Current net worth = $xxx

  • Personal: Increase cash reserve to $xxx. Current cash = $xxx

  • Personal: Open custodian account for daughter/son and teach them how to invest

  • Business: Maintain Net Promotor Score of 70+ with clients. Current NPS Score = 73.

  • Business: Document 16 remaining business processes

  • Business: Increase revenue by xx%

  • Business: Build business cash reserve to $xxx


  • Attend four music concerts with friends/wife/kids

  • Grab a beer with a friend twice a month

  • Go on a "boys" trip


  • Lose 10 lbs. Current weight: xxx

  • Achieve blood pressure of 120 over 80 without meds

  • Exercise 4 days a week

  • Eat two servings of fish per week

I'm confident that using this simple formula can help you make a major positive impact on what you achieve in life.

That said, I can't point you to a study that quantifies a direct correlation between all five of these areas and happiness.

But, I can say that creating a purposeful plan around the "Five F's" certainly helps guide me toward a life of happiness. And when I look back, I'm always shocked about how many of my goals I've actually accomplished.

Ultimately, planning is important in life.

When you plan, you're able to build stronger faith (if that's important to you), strengthen your family dynamic, create financial security, improve friendships, and improve your overall health.

So, what's stopping you from making your goals happen? My guess is procrastination and not writing them down.

So, to help you get started on the right track, here's a master list of goals for 2023 just to get you thinking about what you can and WILL accomplish in the new year.

Now, go get started on your plan. You'll be glad you did.


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