When we want to motivate a friend not to give up or to work harder, it is helpful to remind them of their goals and dreams. This is because goals give a destination and a tangible standard to strive to achieve.
Goal-setting is crucial because…
1) It helps you manage your time because when you know your aim, you work purposefully and act accordingly.
2) It makes you focus and avoid distractions.
3) It brings meaning to all your efforts and this can keep you motivated.
How to set your goals
Remember that our number one goal is to please Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala; then to acheive Jannah. Make goals for your deen, for the dunya, and then our goal for theakhirah is obviously Jannatul Firdaus bi’ithnillah Ta’ala.
For your dreams in regards to your deen, make them that which will bring you benefit in the akhirah; harvest in the dunya, and see the fruits in the akhirah insha Allah. For example, find what will bring you ajr: memorizing The Noble Qur’an, studying Islam, teaching Islam, setting up a charity, volunteering at a charity, supporting our fellow brothers and sisters, doing dawah, setting up services or organizations to serve humanity, or specifically Muslims or the deen.
For your goals in the dunya, make sure that they are permissable and do not cloud your goals for your deen and akhirah. When setting dunya goals, consider your talents – what do you find easy and enjoyable? For example, if you like to daydream,and have a creative imagination, you could become an author and write virtuous andinspiratonal stories for children! Or, you could direct movies/episodes about Islam…so on and so forth.
It is important to know yourself and your character. It is important to know your characteristics when you decide what you want to do with your life. For example, if you spent time and energy to become a police officer, but have a soft and merciful heart, it would be wiser to dedicate your time to a more appropriate work – such as a caretaker, midwife, teacher, or counsellor.
Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) created us in different ways and He made different things easy to us. So instead of resisting or trying to be someone we’re not, we should work with the talents and gifts bestowed upon us. This is not discouraging us from developing ourselves and stepping outside of our comfort zone, but rather an encouragement to pursue our unique talents.
Take Small Steps
A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step – so take small steps towards your intended destination. Before you can run, you have to walk; and before you can walk, you must crawl. I admit that I dream about travelling around the world, seeing all thecountries and cultures, but I know that this is not realistic for me because of my personal situation. This is why I have made my goal to visit at least three countries inthe Middle East; if I am then able to do this, I will set a new goal to visit 1 country from each continent; and if I also am able to fulfill that dream, I hope to visit 3 countries from every continent!
Make sure that your goals are realistic and practical; if you have a big dream, then set smaller plans and goals within that larger dream. An easy example to illustrate this is Hifz-ul-Qur’an – to acheive this, you should plan on finding a teacher, organizing a study schedule, and timelines by which you hope to memorize Juz.
Do not underestimate yourself
Although your goals should be realistic, as should your plan or timeline to acheive them, but do not underestimate yourself. After all, with help from Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), you could acheive great things. Why set your goal at being a teacher when you can dream of setting up an entire Islamic school? Why set your goal at memorizing 1 juz, when Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has made The entire Qur’an easy to remember?
Ponder this: what would you embark on, what would your goals be, if you knew you wouldn’t fail in the end? Don’t be afraid of failure – what’s the worst that can happen? You just pick up a memory and a lesson, and move forward. So, purify your intention, put it in the effort, make du’a, then trust Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) will help youand support you. Even if you have roadbumps along the way, keep going bi’ithnillah – some goals might not be easy, but with hard work and the permission of Allah, they are certainly possible.
May Allah guide us to the right path and make our affairs easy, and bring us closer to that which pleases Him and will bring us success in the Hereafter. Ameen.