Assalamu ‘alaikum dear sisters! I hope that 2016 has gotten off to a wonderful start for you and your loved ones. We can all acknowledge that a new calendar year drives people to create new goals, which can sometimes lead to some unnecessary pressure. It doesn’t have to be that a new year is the only time you set a goal. Life continually provides opportunities to make changes or set goals for the future. For example, getting married, having a child, even an illness or a financial challenge are all major life events that can prompt us to rethink things or plan for the future. So if you’ve been through a transition recently, or are perhaps just rethinking things, it’s the perfect time to set some new aspirations for your life ahead. If however, there are any negative emotions lingering due to certain life events, then it is necessary that you obtain some closure before planning any new ventures. Any emotional baggage can sap your energy and cloud your thinking, so now would be the time to release any lingering regrets, ask forgiveness for any mistakes, and celebrate your achievements. These actions will give you a clean emotional slate to begin planning ahead. Once you have done this, then reflect on some of your goals. What would you truly like to achieve now and beyond?
I imagine that you may already have some aims that you’re working on. It is crucial that our goals fit in with our bigger life vision for ourselves and that they truly inspire us now and in the future. Reflect on one of your goals just for a moment. Imagine now that 10 years have gone by, and you have achieved that goal. How does it fit into the life you have now, ten years later? Are you glad that you achieved it? Our bigger goals keep us inspired if they fit into the life that we truly want for ourselves. If your goals fit into that picture, then you’re off to a great start. Next, take a moment to look over your goals. Are they goals, or resolutions? They may seem to be the same thing, but there is a distinct difference between them. A goal is something you intend to get; it implies that you will have to use your willpower, you will need to sacrifice, and it will be difficult. Whereas a resolution is something you “resolve” to achieve. Have you wondered why resolutions tend to fizzle out? They don’t last because they create a struggle that need not be there. It’s more effort for our mind-body system to make when the same thing could be achieved more easily. Look at your goals and modify any resolutions to become goals. If they imply too much struggle or effort, then it may be time to either break them down, or let them go for the moment. Remember that achieving your goals will require energy and action. Take on goals that you are prepared to put the energy into. If they are not met with a high level of enthusiasm on your part, then let them go. You can always come back to them another time.
So now that you’ve chosen goals that inspire you, the next step is to ensure that they remain inspiring and exciting the entire time it will take to achieve them. Yes, at times our energy becomes low, or other commitments take over, that’s true. However, if our goals get put onto the back burner then they have no chance of actually being achieved. So how do we keep our goals exciting? We keep our goals exciting just by ensuring that what we want is actually a part of our daily lives, and of our bigger life vision. A lot of us think that doing this is difficult, but it really is quite simple. We can keep our goals alive by visualizing them on a daily basis. Give the exercise below a try. The only caveat to this is that you will need to visualize on a daily basis for at least a month. Your goals will become clearer and more inspiring with each passing day insha Allah.
Short exercise: Dream what you desire
Aim of the exercise: To visualize your goals so that they become real. Read the instructions in their entirety before beginning the exercise.
Method: Keep a list of your most important goals handy. Take a look at them. Then close your eyes and take a deep breath. Create a movie where you are the central character. You are watching the movie from your own perspective. Notice that it is present day, and you are well on your way to achieving your goals on time, as you would have intended. You are taking action towards your goals, so notice where you are, what you are doing, who is with you and any other details. Run this movie for a couple of minutes till you sense that there’s a natural completion.
Once you open your eyes, notice how wonderful it feels to see yourself taking action and achieving what you truly want. If you like, you can write down anything that comes up, but it is not necessary. It may be worthwhile noticing any new goals or wishes emerging as well any other areas of your life being impacted. Notice how these goals are impacting you and what positive results are emerging.
Achieving our goals is a wonderful feeling isn’t it? Insha Allah having a powerful vision for our goals will help us greatly in achieving them. I hope that you find this exercise useful. My very best wishes to you in achieving your goals for the coming year and beyond.
Sayeda Habib is a highly qualified professional coach. She coaches Muslim women to help them feel empowered and create results in their lives. She coaches clients one to one and also runs group workshops. She holds the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential issued by the International Coach Federation. She is the author of “Discover the Best in You: Life Coaching for Muslims.” She also contributes to various online and print publications. She has been featured in the media in various countries including Pakistan, the UAE and the United Kingdom. To find out more, log on to www.makelifehappen.com or email at Sayeda@makelifehappen.com