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Why Goal-setting is so important to achieve our Spiritual Goals

Shakirah Hunter

Ramadhan at the beginning of the year comes amidst a huge amount of work and responsibilities. The beginning of the year is often our busiest time with getting into routines, schedules and readjusting to the homework loads of our kids. And suddenly amongst all this is the month of Rajab and then Sha’ban and before we know it Ramadhan. We began the month of Rajab with great hopes of building ourselves spiritually but for most of us, life can sometimes get in the way, and we find ourselves trying to juggle our busy schedules, our immense workloads and to still find a time to still ourselves and find quiet and pause to connect to Allah Ta’ala.

For this reason, goal setting becomes so incredibly important. We cannot expect our Ramadhan objectives and dreams to be accomplished without breaking it down to do-able goals. To tiny achievable tasks. You may have a desire for years to memorize a certain surah, or the time to understand a certain chapter of the Qur’an. Year in and year out you make the dua and you write down your desire to achieve this, yet somehow you are unable to do so. This is simply because our focus is too broad. Instead of looking at it as “I want to achieve a certain goal”, let us break it down to “how can I achieve this goal with my work schedule and many responsibilities?”.

Goal setting allows you to focus on your dreams and creates a realistic expectation of what is achievable. When looking at your goals break them down into the different aspects of a Muslims life:

1. My character goals – Your focus will be to be honest with yourself regarding your relationship with the people around you, Your relationship with your spouse, your children your extended family, your workers, and your colleagues. Be honest with yourself and write down which aspects of your akhlaaq you would like to change. For e.g. If you find yourself snapping at your children set a goal of responding calmly or delaying your response until you are more prepared to answer calmly.

2. My Salah goals – Assess your Salaah and don’t make a broad objective of simply improving my salaah – rather break it down to the actual points of focus. I want to focus on performing my Salah on the correct time or I would like to slow down in my salaah etc.

3.My Qur’an goals – usually we would say I want to complete so many khatams of the Qur’an. But if you look at your life and see where I can incorporate my Qur’an into my day so that I know I can achieve my goals realistically. When we set an unrealistic goal, often this leads to feelings of despair and opens us up to the whispers of Shaitaan which then does not allow us to be motivated to do anything at all.

4. My Islamic Routines– our daily azkaar and duas are meant to be an answer to so much of life’s problems. Each zikr and dua has the ability to create a protection against different elements. However due to rushing for work in the morning or preparing school lunches etc. one is unable to sit down and take the time for the daily Zikr. Setting a goal of incorporating these duas even as you are moving allows you to have time for your Surah Yasin, your morning duas and even your azkaar. Incorporating these great acts of worship into your schedule means that you are not setting yourself up for failure when life inevitably overtakes you.

For goals to be achievable they must be attainable and realistic. If you go to sleep at 12am, and then you set a goal of waking up at 2am for the tahajjud prayer – it is almost impossible to achieve because your body has not had its optimum rest and as such you will not be able to wake up at that time.  Goal setting allows your time to be managed and your ibadah to be developed without divorcing it from your daily life.

Once you have created goals – it is essential that we evaluate our goals and if we find that we are not able to achieve these goals – we must constantly readjust and re-evaluate. If you’re are focused on your self-growth and spiritual development, you will understand that it is a continuous struggle to grow and change only takes place when we are focused to a long term development.

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