Nothing beats sitting down and writing out your goals in hopes of achieving them. In our preparation for this blessed month, let’s take out 15 minutes today for ourselves, in the quiet of our rooms, to think about what we want to accomplish during this Holy Month and what we want to carry over for the rest of the year. Let’s get introspective, let’s do some soul-searching, let’s identify our faults, and then move forward with SMART goals that we are determined to achieve this Ramadan, with the help of Allah.
SMART goals are:
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely
They are also that much SMARTer if you write them down and and reread them daily. In hopes of helping you achieve your goals this Ramadan, we would like to share with you a method which worked for us last Ramadan. In one of our pre-Ramadan 1431/2010 events, a group of MYDC workers presented us with a Ramadan bookmark for our individual copies of the Qur’an. Below, you will find a link to your copy of this Ramadan Qur’an bookmark. Print it out on cardstock (thick paper will help it last longer) and write down your set of goals for this year. Stick it in your Qur’an or on your fridge, and with the help of Allah SWT, you will achieve your goals for this Holy Month, and continue your new habits throughout the year.
Now, back to those SMART goals.
Any goal that follows the descriptions above will be much easier to accomplish, because it is specific, measurable, and realistic.
For example, let’s say you plan on completing one reading of the entire Qur’an during Ramadan. One of your goals would be: “Read one juz’ a day.” Or let’s say you are lax in your sunnah prayers during the year, but know that you will reap maximum reward for praying them, especially during this month. Your second goal could be, “Pray 2 raka’s of sunnah prayer for fajr, thuhr, maghrib and isha prayer.”
You should also set goals for yourself during Ramadan that do not include ‘obvious’ acts of worship. For example, you know that there is great reward in feeding a fasting person, so one of your goals could be, ‘Invite my family and in-laws over for iftar once this month.’
· Reduce time-wasters Whether it’s the TV, internet surfing, etc, limit yourself.
· Work on a character trait that needs to be fixed within you. If you are a gossiper, and most of your gossiping occurs during phone calls, reduce the phone calls you make during the Holy Month to work-related calls or calls to ask about your relatives. Since you’ve identified your problem, you have power over it and controlling yourself will be that much easier.
· Turn ordinary actions into acts of worship! The quality time you spend playing with your kids is a way of bringing happiness into their lives and the suhur you eat in the wee hours of the night is your way of following the Prophet pbuh’s teaching.
· Remember that Ramadan is the month of da’wah, too! Make a goal out of presenting your neighbors and co-workers with a Ramadan introduction kit that you put together with your kids or purchased in a hurry. It could be something as simple as a small dish of dates or cookies with an attached note on what Ramadan is about.
Examples of SMART Goals
1. Suhur, daily!
2. Pray two rakats of Duha prayer every day.
3. Call my Aunt Azza, Uncle Emad, Great Aunt Hikmat during the first three days and last three days of Ramadan.
4. Check email no more than twice daily.
5. Read the tafsir of Surat Al Kahf by the end of the month (3-4 verses a day).
6. Spend at least 15 minutes a day playing with my kids.
Share your goals with us for inspiration!
This article was adapted from a series of short khatiras and activities presented by a group of MAS Youth of DC workers. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit MAS DC.