I bet you have a list of exciting goals you’re ready to tackle in the coming year. But wait… if you really want to enter 2015 with a clear mind… keep reading.
When you finally decide you’re going to make some positive changes in your life, the most common phrases you probably hear are: “Forget the past“, “Start a new chapter“, and “Only look forward, don’t look back“! Those advices can actually be damaging to your success. While you can’t change the past, you still have to face it, learn from it, and end it properly. This is the only way to confidently move forward with a clear mind and powerful intentions!
I know, there is no real significance to the New Year, but it’s usually the time businesses and individuals alike evaluate the previous year and set goals or resolutions for the coming one. I’m not big on “New Year Resolutions” but I do believe in the importance of attaching time frames to your goals, whether it be a year long or just a few months. However, before you start planning for a successful tomorrow you must complete the unfinished business of the past.
There are four elements of effectively dealing with the past.
1. Acknowledge what happened.
What are some major things that happened during the last year? Were there any successful moments and accomplishments that you’re really proud of? Did you experience a really tough and trying time in your life or marriage? Acknowledge the different events that happened and recognize the successes and failures that resulted from them. To move forward in a healthy manner, you must face and come to terms with those moments, accept that they occurred, and say “Qaddar Allahu wa maa shaa’ fa’al” (Allaah ordained this and He does what He wills).
2. Learn from the experience.
Every event has an element of success if you take a lesson from it. So what lessons did you learn in 2014 that will help you succeed in 2015? What went well, and what will you be sure to do differently next time? Were there any disappointments and regrets you faced that taught you an important life lesson? What was that lesson and how will you use it to help you in the coming year?
3. Adapt and change
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Before beginning a new set of goals, decide on what you’re going to change or adapt in your character or actions to create better outcomes in the coming year. Also, was there anything in particular missing from the past year that you’d like to see change in the coming year? Perhaps you didn’t connect enough with extended family or friends, or you didn’t attend as many Islamic classes as you would’ve liked. What was missing?
At the heart of everything is a sincere repentance. The Muslim doesn’t wait until the year end to repent. You can’t expect a successful future without asking Allaah to forgive your past. Repentance involves three steps:
1) Admit the mistake and ask for forgiveness
2) Be regretful
3) Have a sincere determination not to repeat the mistake
So turn to Allaah to overlook your previous sins, then fly forward with the wings of fear and hope, guided by a dedicated love for His Majesty.
The most expensive thing that can never be bought or changed is time! So there is no point in sobbing over the past and allowing it to determine your future. At the same time, you can’t simply just forget the past! The past has to be faced and properly dealt with, from a stand point of empowerment! Only then can you close that chapter, lift your head high, and move forward with the will power to make what’s ahead the best year ever!