Ever thought you’d reach the top of the stairs right after you step over the first one? You know you have to go through each step.
Consistency is what will take you to success, step after step.
Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala), gave us a perfect model for consistency in the ordainment of salah. Having in mind how salah has been incorporated in our lives we could draw a parallel to help us develop consistency.
1) Establish a Daily Routine
No matter what the task is let it be daily, either in its totality or parts. You may decide that you don’t need to carry it on everyday, but you will nevertheless need to go through an initial period that will require you to perform it on a day-to-day basis.
When the set time for the task arrives leave everything else and fully concentrate on your task (what would be even better is to be ready for it some time before you actually have to do it).
2) Divide the Main Task into Sub-tasks
Visualize the task in its entirety and define the steps to be implemented. Assign the task depending on your energy levels and the type of activity. When will you most likely be able to come up with fresh and original ideas? When is the most appropriate time for manual activity? In what times of the day do you experience your high and low energy levels?
Evaluate your energy throughout the day and set your tasks accordingly.
3) Have a Fixed “Obligatory” Amount
Prescribed to us are obligatory 5 prayers a day, other than that we can perform as many voluntary prayers as we are capable of. Apply this same concept to develop your consistency, have a “non-negotiable” amount of work you have pre-determined to carry out everyday, no matter how small this is, and don’t give it up.
4) Aim for Excellence
The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) used to say to his Companions: ”Pray as you see me praying”, and his prayer was the perfect model. Choose a model of excellence, set a high standard so you won’t have a tendency to slack off.
Maintain a high level of alertness throughout the task. You’ll never attain mastery if you fail to dedicate your total attention to the task, just as reward diminishes if all we think about during salah is dunya affairs.
Don’t let anxiety overtake you and prevent you from achieving what you set out to do.
5) Have Back-Up Options
Be flexible. A situation will come when you won’t be able to carry on the task as usual. What do you do in these cases?
Let’s see how Salah is made to fit in different aspects of our lives: If we are sick, we are allowed to pray while sitting, laying down, on our side. During a journey, prayers are shortened. If we are in shortage of water, or can’t access it in a suitable time we are allowed alternative ways to purify ourselves.
So what do you do if the conditions to execute your task are not ideal? Adapt to the situation!
6) Have a Clear Reminder
Have someone or something remind you about your purpose, let it be a powerful trigger, just as the Adhan is a powerful reminder for our duties towards our Creator (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).
7) Know Its Meaning and Significance
Knowing the reason often helps you gain unwavering control, resolution and motivation.
We become much more engrossed in our salah when we know the meaning of what we are saying, and the significance of this beautiful act of worship.
8) Every Task is a New Task
Don’t let past failures, disappointments or mistakes prevent you from moving forward. If you haven’t done it properly the first time, don’t let yourself down, simply learn and repeat it as it should be done.
9) Work in a Team
Forming committed teams can be a great constancy booster. In a group you can perceive a kind of supporting energy that will help you live through days in which you feel like you can’t do it.
10) Sharpen Your Skills Privately
Doing some consistent extra work privately, besides making you better at what you do, will benefit your confidence. Also, solitude helps to renew our sincerity.
I hope these points will help us develop consistency, if you have other suggestions, share it with us in the comment sections below.
About the author
Sister Jihan Anwar is a university student and a journalist working at the National Yemen Newspaper