My mother’s favorite piece of advice is “plan your work and work your plan”. Everything, according to her, can be overcome if you simply have a well thought out plan and stick to it.
Personally, I have always been a much more fluid person. I adapt easily to change and even seek it out if things seem to be running too smoothly. Then again, that’s how we got here, isn’t it?
So how does one go about making a plan? To be honest with you, I don’t really know. I mean I have a pretty good idea. I have planned things before. I have accomplished plenty. I have a daily planner and an assortment of sticky notes that I use regularly to keep track of tasks and errands and occasionally the names of people I need to call. But, as I said before. I wouldn’t be in this mess if a cork board and a cup full of thumb tacks were all you needed to make an effective plan.
According to my Uncle, and all of the productivity experts, in order to make a plan you need a goal that is in line with your motivations. Superficial goals are like fad diets. They work for a while, but in the end, you find yourself right back at square one because your plans and your goals weren’t in line with your deeper motivations. So, it’s easy to cheat on your diet if you are losing weight so that you can look good in a new dress. Its a lot harder if your motivation is your love for your children and your desire to be able to run and play with them.
For me, the goals I am setting aren’t for Ramadan. They are the things that I hope would become lifestyle choices by the time Ramadan ends. I ask myself, what kind of Muslim do I want to be? For me, this question is at the heart of it all.
I have had my share of “wild” days, where the only person who would know that I believed in Allah swta was Allah swta Himself. But no matter how far I run, I keep coming back to Allah. So now, the only question is what kind of servant do I want to become.
I limited myself to four goals this year. I was careful to use the SMART method, making sure that they were all specific, actionable goals that I can accomplish between now and the end of Ramadan. I recommend that you do the same. Take some time to think about what it is that you want to do differently. What kind of transformation do you want to see at the end of Ramadan?
WRITE THEM DOWN.
Look at them every day and ask Allah swta for His help and guidance as you journey down this road to a better you.
There are several things you are going to want to consider as you decide on your goals.
- Ist it measurable? Being able to measure your progress, to see day by day how you have improved is a great way to stay motivated. I like graphs, charts, and stickers. But for other people, photos and journals work best. Whatever you decide to set as a goal, make sure you can measure your progress over time.
- Is it sustainable? Of course, your deadline is the end of Ramadan, but the best kind of good deed is the one that you do continuously. If you can stop smoking for Ramadan, why not keep the party going and live smoke-free? The same thing goes for habits we develop during Ramadan. Whatever your goals are, make sure they can be sustained for the long haul. This is a lifestyle change, not a fad diet, remember?
- Is it for you? This year I am giving up on keeping up with the Javids. I am setting goals that are appropriate for where I am right now. Instead of worrying about what you SHOULD be doing, set goals based on what you CAN do, every day, starting now. You won’t master Arabic or memorize the entire Quran. If your life is hectic, you will be lucky if you learn one new surah. But if one is all you can master then go for it. The point is to invest in your PERSONAL growth. I learned the hard way that doing what works for everybody else won’t necessarily work for me. And in the end, that feeling of constantly playing catch-up sucked a lot of joy out of Ramadan for me. So this year I am setting goals that work for me and keeping my eyes on my own paper.
I hope this helps you, and thank you for reading along. Feel free to follow along by subscribing. Inshallah, I will be adding weekly vlogs all the way through Ramadan.