Four Essential Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions – the Muslim Way!
By Faisal Nazir
New Year’s resolutions…we’ve all been there with the ‘New Year, New Me’ approach. And whilst the New Year doesn’t really have much significance from an Islamic perspective, it’s a nice way to psychologically trick our mind into new habits and new beginnings.
But they don’t always last.
January 17th was Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day, so here’s FOUR tips you could use to maximise those new beginnings and make positive changes to your life.
Every moment is a moment to change:
You don’t need to wait till the New Year or even Monday; start now. There is no ‘right time’ to change, to start something new or make positive changes.
It’s all about your mindset. You need to make a realistic goal and stick to it. And the best way to do that is making smaller goals you can tick off rather than one massive goal that becomes so overwhelming that you give up on it.
Example: Your goal is to lose weight this year. But you’re not going to wait until you have time for the gym, or until its Monday or become overwhelmed by that massive goal. You break it down.
You make your goal to replace fizzy drinks with juice for the week. And then two weeks after that you make the goal to replace that juice with plain water.
You make the goal to cut down to only one piece of junk food a day, and then only three a week and then once a week…and you get the rest of it.
It’s about making long-lasting changes, not short-term bursts only to fall again.
(If you want an opportunity to get some exercise and reward, check out our Annual Gaza Winter Walk in a city near you!)
Having the right intention:
Make the intention to start something good. Intentions are the foundation for what we do, and you can always relate your worldly goal to the Deen.
Example: If your goal is to get better grades, change your intention to wanting to get better grades for the sake of Allah, so that you may become an asset to society and help others.
This twist in intention also makes it a form of worship and thus gets you reward too. If you do something for the sake of Allah, then He will facilitate you in reaching your goals.
Do it with other people:
You’re more likely to achieve your goals when you do it with someone else.
Having a family member or friend share your goals with you will allow you both (or even a group of you) to push each other and ensure the other does not slip. It reduces the chance of you giving up and provides a valuable morale boost.
Compete with one another in goodness. Challenge each other so you may push one another further.
Example: You have trouble waking up for the early morning Fajr prayer.
You ask your friend to assist you with this by calling you every morning to ensure you have woken up, and you do the same for him if he has not woken up.
‘Compete then with one another in good works. Unto Allah is the return of all of you; and He will then make you understand the truth concerning the matters on which you disagreed’. (Qur’an, 5:48)
Have the right goals:
Make your goals those that will benefit you in both worlds. Here’s three goals for you:
- Develop your character: ‘The most beloved servant to Allah is he who has the best character’. [Tabarani]
- Give more charity: ’Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter’. [Muslim]
- Increase in Dhikr: ‘The most beloved words according to Allah the Most High are four: Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha illallah and Allahu Akbar; there is no problem with which one you start with’. [Muslim]
So, use these four tips to make practical developments to the goals you choose to start today. We do not know if we will see tomorrow, so make the intention to start today. Take small steps, do it with others and ensure they’re goals that will better you mentally, physically and spiritually.