How to Have a Good Year
By Mariam Abdulla and Sarah Faysal
It seems like 2018 has taken a toll on everyone. You may have been let down by people who meant the world to you, but you’ve shown resilience in every step you’ve taken after that. That’s why 2019 will be your best year yet InshaAllah. Along with the help of Allah (swt), you, my friend, can make it just that. Now take a deep breath and start the new year with good intentions. Here are 5 ideas for you to start 2019 off on the right foot:
Don’t take no for an answer (specifically, from yourself).
Remember when you were younger and wanted to sleepover at your friends house? You would do the dishes, vacuum your room and anything else that got you closer to your goal. Life may have its way of turning you on your head, but it’s time you stand up. Start with your deen. If every day for a year you listen to a 30 minute lecture, that’s only a small fraction of your time. The important thing in accomplishing each of your goals is to be consistent.
Don’t give yourself excuses to lead a life that you aren’t proud of. Lead a life in which you are happy with every inch of your soul. 2019 is the year of telling yourself “Yes!” to a run early Sunday morning, because you know growth happens through consistency. It’s the year of chasing the peace you feel when reading Quran.
We commonly avoid achieving our goals due to loss of motivation or fear of the results. Let’s avoid placing that type of toxicity in our life. We shouldn’t be asking “What can life do to make me happy?”, but rather “How can I be the source of my own happiness and excitement?”.
2. Live today, not tomorrow.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” While it is super important to learn from your past to avoid making old mistakes, it is just as important to leave the past where it belongs- in the past. This doesn’t mean you should constantly worry about the future. Instead put your trust completely in Allah (swt) and focus on the here and now.
We are reminded to do exactly that in Surat At-Tawba. " ‘Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector’: and on Allah let the Believers put their trust” [Quran 9:51]. When we all take the time to be mindful, we realize how much energy we spend on things that are irrelevant.
In life, we regret the opportunities that we don't take in the present. Our goal for this year should be to live steadfast and fulfilling lives, and to understand that Allah has a plan for us. Everything that is placed for us in our lives is there for a reason.
We were all placed into this world during this exact time, within this exact setting. The question we should be asking ourselves this year is “How am i going to spend that time?”
3. Find a hobby that sets your soul on fire.
Travel, photography, fashion and books are all good examples of things that might spark a flame inside of you. Looking into what will set your soul on fire doesn’t have to be extreme. Oftentimes, it’s something simple that lies right in front of you.
As Muslims, it is our job to strive for knowledge, so why not apply that same effort to exploring our interests? Having knowledge is so important in Islam that it was the very first Quran verse sent to our prophet Mohammed (saws). Not only should we seek knowledge, but we should also learn to apply it in our daily lives.
With a new year comes the possibility of new experiences. Exploring different fields of interest like nature, writing, photography, arts, sciences, and fitness allows you to gain more insight on what you enjoy. And in turn, find more satisfying things to spend your time on.
"A man shall be asked concerning five things on the day of resurrection: concerning his life, how he spent it; concerning his youth, how he grew old; concerning his wealth, where he acquired it, and in what way he spent it; and what he did with the knowledge that he had"(Tirmidhi 5197). In Islam, it is heavily emphasized that we will be held accountable for the way we consume our time.
It is our duty to spend time practicing our faith, but what many don't realise is that extracurriculars can be used as a means to connect with your faith. If you enjoy writing or public speaking, you can use that as a platform to bring people closer to your faith. If you enjoy experimenting, whether it be social or science related, you can use that as a means of exploring the benefits of islam in comparison to those of other religions.
With creativity and passion, you can find something you like and make good use of it. Nothing is too unusual or unreachable if considered with the best intentions and trust in Allah (swt), as long as it is within the halal.
4. Rekindle old ties and learn to forgive.
Ask yourself if it’s worth it to be angry over something for more than a day. If 24 hours has passed, do you still feel angry over what happened? Muhammad (saws) said, "Do not hate one another, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert each other, and O, Allah's worshipers! Be brothers. Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his brother (Muslim) for more than three days"(Sahih al-Bukhari 6065).
Throughout your life, you may find yourself in a situation where you are being ignored or you are ignoring someone else. It’s important to remember that ignoring your Muslim brother or sister is not going to help either one of you, or fix the problem. We often think we can get over a ruined relationship if we try to forget without forgiving. In reality, we will never be at peace with ourselves if we constantly feel conflicted over a dwindling friendship.
“The Muslim has five rights over his fellow Muslim: he should return his salaams, visit him when he is sick, attend his funeral, accept his invitation, and pray for mercy for him when he sneezes”(Bukhari 1240). The smallest command that we can take heed to is the offer of Salam. It is a small gesture that holds so much meaning, and in turn is the start of new relations.
As we all are aware, the people we have in our lives are temporary. We should all offer our salams and love each other for the sake of Allah (swt). Sometimes we have anger in our hearts towards someone because we feel as though they dislike us. However, our duty as muslims is to please Allah (swt) over anyone else. So why is being liked by others so important to us? Understanding the principles taught in the hadiths allows us to examine our intentions behind making friends, as well as rekindling friendships.
5. Keep track of your Islamic goals.
Every year as Ramadan approaches, we take part in habits that we try to avoid, including backbiting, gossiping, fighting, etc. Why not strive to get rid of these habits when it comes to creating a list of New Year's resolutions? Getting rid of negative and unhealthy habits is just as important as creating new and beneficial habits. It is common to make to-do lists, but the idea of creating a list of what not to do is often forgotten. The presence of bad habits is a sign that the mind, heart, and soul need revival.
Just like any other arduous task, removing a bad habit takes strong will, belief, knowledge, practice and a good environment. You can’t expect to see improvement in yourself if you don’t remove yourself from negative environments. It is always essential to be mindful of who you consider your circle, as they’ll be your main source of influence.
It is also important to ask oneself in-depth questions when one practices or gets rid of habits. Do I have a reasoning behind my Islamic goal? Are the people around me motivating me into achieving it? Am I getting things done with the resources I have? If you’ve answered no to any of those questions, then you may be in need of new goals.
JazakAllahu Khairan for reading this article! We hope you are able to apply some of these tips into your life this year and that you reap the benefits.
What ideas do you have for New Years resolutions? Let us know in the comments!