l requires us to do something, to take action.
In the above example, if I say, “Be more patient”, it is not clear what action I need to take. However, if I write “Practice speaking in a soft voice”, it is a clear action that I can take and practice.
Realistic: When we are enthusiastic and inspired to make change, we sometimes become unrealistic in what we can achieve. While it is important to stretch ourselves and move beyond our comfort zone, it is also essential that we are realistic about what we are currently capable of.
For example, if we have a challenge waking up for fajr salaat, it may be unrealistic to vow to start praying tahajjud every night from now on.
Although there are many ways to make changes, the easiest and most sustainable one is to make small but significant changes on an ongoing basis. Since these changes are sustainable, there is a greater chance that they will ‘stick’.
In the anger example, if I raise my voice several times a day at present, it may be unrealistic to expect that I will never do so again. It may be more sustainable to pick certain situations that cause me to lose my temper and work at those to start with until I get better at being mindful of my tone of voice and pitch.
Time-bound: If we do not set a deadline to achieve or work at something, there will always be the temptation of putting it off for ‘someday’. Setting a deadline pushes us by creating a sense of urgency and encourages action. Once again, it is easy to set deadlines for physical things such as getting a job or moving house.
Setting a deadline for personal growth issues is slightly more challenging but it can be done. When you are working on a process (becoming more patient or less busy for example), the deadline could involve setting aside time to review your progress, do self-reflection or practice a role-play, for example. In this way, our good intentions at growing personal strengths can be made more tangible and we can chart our progress to monitor how we are doing.
3) Share goals:
There is mixed evidence about whether or not sharing goals supports us in achieving them. According to some experts, sharing goals keeps us accountable and can help us achieve them due to peer pressure.
Others argue that by talking about our goals, it gives us a false sense of having achieved something and keeps us from working hard at them. Therefore, it is a good idea to share your goals very selectively, with one or more people who you believe will support you and keep you accountable, rather than making a general announcement about what you are working on.
4) Review your goals:
Very often when we set goals or resolutions in an inspired moment, we forget about them once the inspiration has passed and what is left is the hard work required to achieve the goal. For this reason, it is crucial to keep our goals in plain sight and to review them regularly, preferably at a set time each week to see how we are progressing, what is working and what needs to be done differently.
This year inshallah, by following some sound practices in setting goals, we can achieve meaningful personal growth and success.