It’s time to make a change. And by that, we mean change the way you make a change, too. With Ramadan only four months away and the end of this year in sight, we make our lists and set our intentions, only to renounce our commitment three days later.
But, if we stop to reflect on why this is the case, we’ll see that most of our objectives are not very realistic. So, this time around, try something different. To help you, here are 5 habits that are easy to maintain, but powerful in nature.
1. Smile more
We bet you didn’t see this one coming. Something so simple, yet so effective. But, how many of us can smile in the face of adversity? Or, when someone meets us with rudeness?
And, yet, those are exactly the moments when our smile becomes Sunnah–when we respond with kindness in situations that challenge us. Our smile will brighten the days of those who smile back and might even soften the hearts of our aggressors, which, in time, will lead to a more peaceful world. If this isn’t powerful, we don’t know what is.
The benefits don’t stop here though. Smiling has proven to have some amazing effects on our own mental health, too. It helps bring our stress levels down, makes us more confident, and instantly boosts our mood. Smile right now—it’s so easy to do!
2. Read a little bit more Quran.
Many of us have a tendency to put off the reading of the Quran until Ramadan; this means that, when the times comes, we might be overwhelmed by the idea of squeezing the whole Quran in a month. Instead, this coming year, try to focus on getting through one page at a time.
This comes with various benefits: 1. it’s easier and more enjoyable to break down your pages; 2. Allah (swt) rewards consistency more than anything and appreciates our steady efforts more than any sporadic grand gestures.
For a more comprehensive experience, add some high quality Tafsir of the Quran to your reading habits. And, for that extra factor, amplify this good habit by helping a child learn to read, so they can, too, soak in all the blessed knowledge of the Quran.
3. Sleep better
“What? Surely, something as pleasurable as sleeping can’t be on my goals list”—we hear you say.
We beg to differ. Good quality sleep is essential to our wellbeing and, let’s be honest, we can’t care for others if we don’t care for ourselves first.
Sleep improves memory, enhances cognition, helps regulate our emotions better and even keeps our hearts healthy. Yet, how many of us don’t sacrifice those crucial hours of sleep for one more episode of our favourite show on Netflix?
Now, an achievable goal is to try and go to sleep before 10 pm at last once in 2021. Then, seeing that you might feel so revigorated the next morning, you’ll probably want to repeat it.
And, by doing so, don’t forget how lucky you are to have a life that allows you to even take on this challenge for yourself. There are thousands of homeless people in the ummah who don’t have the luxury of a home and bed in which they can have a resting sleep.
4. Increase your Sadaqah
“Those who spend their wealth in Allah’s cause are like grains of corn which produce seven ears, each bearing a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies (His reward) for whom He wills.” [Quran 2:261]
Giving to charity is one of the most straightforward ways in which we can get closer to the Creator. The good news is that Sadaqah comes in many forms and we should worry more about being regular than donating exorbitant sums of money to charity if we can’t afford it.
So, next year, you can upgrade your Sadaqah by giving monthly rather than just once. With UCI, you can sponsor a child’s education with only £20 a month.
5. Develop more Sabr (patience)
Cultivating patience is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Allah (swt) said:
“Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account” (Qur’an 39: 10).
But, how can we do it? Some people wait until Ramadan to exercise their patience, which is almost like running a marathon without doing your warmup exercises. So, we propose that you start now by finding small ways in which you can develop your Sabr skills.
One of the most powerful ways in which we can develop patience is by reciting Dhikr. Remembering God’s greatness will strengthen our faith; and, it’s so much easier to be patient when we are reminded that everything is in the mighty hands of the Creator and exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Bonus tip: Act Now!
We’re reminded in our faith that every moment may be our last, and tomorrow should never be taken for granted.
So, why wait to implement your changes when you can start today?
Make a change this right second by donating to someone who is freezing in sub-zero temperatures, with no home, food, or fuel to warm themselves up.
Give Zakat to flood victims in Karachi that are in need of immediate assistance.
Feed the hungry in the ummah in the cold season, when resources are scarcer and food, harder to procure.
It’s time to become the new you. Start today!