This Ramadan try something different: Stop setting goals!
Life is too chaotic and busy (especially for moms) to be sticking to a list of goals that are hardly prioritized outside of Ramadan. How many Ramadans have we set ambitious goals only to be disappointed on the last night as we race to meet the deadline, wishing for one more day?
Because we’re so focused on achieving this set goal we don’t congratulate ourselves on the process and the real changes we’ve made. So what if you didn’t complete the Quran cover to cover once or twice as you planned? The fact that you’ve been reading and connecting with the Quran more than ever should be celebrated.
And that’s why this Ramadan you’re going to focus on the process and the change within.
Goals do two things this time of year:
1. they trick you into believing that you need to set goals to make the most of Ramadan, and
2. they set you up for disappointment if you aren’t able to meet them. Or worse you give up in the last days.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for goals. Goal setting sets you apart from others and helps you reach new heights in life. But when it comes to ibaadah the focus should be on long lasting changes. Goals are timebound, but spiritual growth has no expiry date.
The idea behind Ramadan is change! It’s not about how many acts of worship you can accomplish within the month. It’s about developing taqwa.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ
O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious) [Surah Al baqarah:183]
Taqwa, as the scholars have defined, is more comprehensive than “piety”. It is to act on Allaah’s obedience upon light from Allaah, seeking His reward; and to avoid disobeying Allaah on light from Allaah fearing His punishment.
So taqwa should be your objective this Ramadan and it is gained by always being in a state of obedience to Allaah while hoping for the rewards, and avoiding disobedience by fearing His punishment. And this combination of hope and fear draws you closer to Allaah and really fills your heart with the love and sweetness of Eman (faith) that we are all after. And that’s why this Ramadan you’re going to focus on the process of gaining taqwa.
Instead of Goals
I’m not telling you to treat Ramadan like other months. What I’m telling you is to be better and enjoy the process without stamping product dates on your acts of worships. How? …by establishing consistency and focusing on certain practices. Here are four area to work on:
- Intention. It’s your most valuable asset. Of course all acts of worship are to be done sincerely seeking Allaah’s pleasure, with no other motive except rewards, but don’t miss out on turning your everyday habits into acts of worship. From cooking and cleaning to sleeping and eating; if you intend Allah’s reward then you’ll be rewarded. Read more about capitalizing on your intentions as a means to maximum rewards here.
- Constant dhkir. Keep your tongue moist with dhikr (the rememberance of Allah) and your love for Allaah will grow. A heart that always remembers Allaah will be evident in your actions and statements. You’ll be guided to do righteous deeds and to avoid evil deeds.
- Productivity. Be productive. Don’t turn to sleep or TV to kill time. Be active, workout, and get things done. This will increase your energy and stamina so that you’d to be able to do other acts of worship. Because the law of laziness states that the less you do, the less you want to do!
- Seizing every opportunity to do good. Treat every opportunity like a business transaction that can’t be missed. You have a few spare minutes, pick up the Quran. Someone needs help, be the first to offer your services. If you’re stuck between two acts of worship go for the one with a higher yield on rewards.
Make this Ramadan different. Do more. Be better. Grow. And enjoy the process!!