Evaluating and assessing is very important to improve ourselves. If we’re unsure of what we should, or want to do, we cannot analyse and measure whether or not we were successful.
Our level of faith (Iman) fluctuates depending on our actions, efforts and intentions. To keep our Iman high we need to work to increase our knowledge, belief and good deeds. Deep down we all know what needs doing. Make that change and strive to improve today! إن شاء الله
Prepare. Make effort to plan, live and prioritise our lives and find the right balance of what truly would give us happiness and everlasting success.
Islam encourages us to ponder, question, analyse, plan and prioritise. Writing things down, and having a vision which includes specific – measurable – attainable – realistic – time-bound (commonly abbreviated as SMART) targets is one way of planning which can be applied to many aspects of life; so that we improve, come closer to Allah and also so that our worship is accepted إن شاء الله.
We can plan our time and decide what we would like to eradicate or implement. This could be more charity, Dhikr, fasting, night prayers, or being more helpful to our neighbours, friends and family. We must be specific about what we want to achieve – thinking clearly about why and how. Our targets should be measurable e.g. knowing how much of something we consider to be successful. Targets should also be realistically achievable. Giving ourselves a time frame with clear deadlines for each task makes us less likely to falter and allows for regular self-evaluation.
Time and life is precious and fleeting, and we want to fill our lives with the tasks we are happy with. Prioritise effectively by evaluating each action from the moment we wake up, to the moment we sleep. We can divide our actions into the 3 following categories:
SHORT-TERM GOAL WITH SHORT-TERM GAIN
Examples include having hair coloured or preparing a beautiful healthy meal. The effects of these actions last a short amount of time but they may be very important to us, so that we can live our daily lives feeling confident and staying well. Having these kinds of short-term goals is fine, and in fact — depending on our intentions — they can contribute to our larger long-term goals.
SHORT-TERM GOAL WITH LONG-TERM GAIN
An example of this may be attending school, college or a course. Although this may be a relatively short-term goal, it contributes to our goals in our larger scheme. Offering Tahajjud, Dhuha, daily Adhkar, giving charity and ensuring we excel in learning, worship, reading more and pleasing Allah are all examples of this.
LONG-TERM GOAL WITH LONG-TERM GAIN
This is where many people stumble and don’t have a fixed direction. Unless we know the reason why we are doing something and we are content with that reason fitting into our bigger picture – we stumble – struggle – and wander emotionally lost and confused – at the first sign of hardship. Living for temporary instant gratification is not only illogical and unproductive, but it also distracts us from our true end goal of Paradise —which needs constant daily effort and strategic striving. For a Muslim the answers are crystal clear in terms of their long-term vision of achieving Paradise; and—with Paradise in focus—all the other matters rest beautifully within that context. When we get lazy in our worship and regarding our true purpose in life, then we find ourselves off track…
Seeing life in perspective and within the wider context, is crucial to being content and satisfied with our lives; this helps in making the right choices and laying our individual foundations for success and stops us from getting overly attached to the many temptations and desires in life.
By recognizing every action – pondering on why it is being done – establishing and purifying the intention – we can plan according to our grand scheme of direction in life. We can then decide if we would like to continue, modify or discontinue with every action.
True success spanning from this life to the next comes only by the mercy and will of Allah, and to Him is our return.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us all true satisfaction, barakah, prosperity and eternal success.