Written by: Kendall A. | Umm Iman
I am a visual person, as well as someone who is constantly working toward self-improvement. I find it very useful to focus on a few goals and to actively be working toward them. The process of writing the goal down and posting my plan in a place that is highly frequented reminds me to take stock of where I am in engaging with each specific goal on a daily basis.
I created this planner to help me stay on track. The goals that I currently have written down are not necessarily things that will ever be fully realized and without need for improvement–rather, they are reminders for me of small, actionable items that I need to make an effort toward daily in order for me to become “my best or highest self.” This reminds me of the hadith where the Prophet (saw) states that: “The most beloved of deeds to Allah are the ones that are most consistent, even if they are small,” (Bukhari & Muslim). Similarly, Allah swt says in the Quran: “The human can have nothing but what it strives for” in Surah An-Najm, Verse 39. The surrounding ayat are discussing the achievement of Jannah; however, the concept is applicable to anything that we desire. If we put forth the effort, we can hope to see the fruit, in sha Allah.
I’ll share an example from my goals. In my “Spiritual Goals” tab, I have written “Perfect my salah.” When I wrote this goal, there were several steps involved in my mind:
1) Complete a full wudhu prior to each salah (even if I am already in a state of wudhu).
2) Use a miswak after making wudhu.
3) Pray the salah at the earliest time.
4) Correct my pronunciation of the entire salah.
5) Increase my concentration in the salah.
6) Engage in adhkar and dua after the salah.
These six steps are aspects of perfecting my salah that I will have to practice and engage with every single time that I approach the salah. In including this as one of my goals, I would feel overjoyed to reach a level of a fully, conscious salah where I truly feel that I am in the presence of my Lord, even just once in this lifetime. That state of perfect salah is not something that will happen once and be the norm thereafter; it’s something that has to be actively worked upon, and something that we have been given an opportunity to strive toward at a minimum of five times a day.
In thinking about using this plan for yourself, it may be useful to consider which goals are achievable in a fixed period of time (ex: saving $1,000) versus which goals are ongoing, and even life-time, aspirations.