If your to-list is anything like mine, you have some grand aspirations to make this Ramadan your best one ever! And you can achieve anything you set your mind to… if you use the following tips to set yourself up for success.
Here are three tips for making smart Ramadan resolutions and sticking to them.
Set S.P.I.R.I.T. Goals
You may have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, but S.P.I.R.I.T. takes your goal setting one step further. As Hira Ali shares in her new book Her Way To The Top, the S.P.I.R.I.T. system is an acronym that stands for Specific, Prizes, Individual, Review, Inspiring, and Time-bound.
Using the S.P.I.R.I.T. goal-setting system means that every goal you set should meet each of these requirements in order to maximize your chances of achieving it.
As an example, let’s break down each piece of this system as it relates to a common goal of “giving charity” in abundance this Ramadan:
Specific – The first thing you’ll want to do is make your goal specific. Set a total giving amount that fits into your budget.
Prizes – While the ultimate “prize” for charity done right is a reward in the hereafter, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself. Consider rewarding yourself for a job well-done at the end of the month (during Eid.) Choose something like a new book, headscarf, modest outfit, attar (perfume), or some other small gift as a “thank you” to yourself. This gives you something to look forward to after achieving your Ramadan resolution.
Individual – The goal must be something that you want to do, and not be anyone else’s goal. Focus on what you can do as an individual, and what is in your capacity to do to help others. Remind yourself often of the rewards promised believers for your actions to help internally motivate you in your daily practice.
Review – Take time out to review your process regularly. Fridays work well as a day of reflection but you can also “check in” with yourself every few days to see how you’re progressing. Take this opportunity to see where you may need to make tweaks and changes to your methodology in order to achieve your specific Ramadan goals.
Inspiring – Remember to frame the goal in a positive way. Instead of saying “I have to give $5 today,” remind yourself that you choose to pursue this goal. Reframing your goals in a positive and inspiring way – where they are your goals, and no one else’s – will help you stay motivated to achieve them.
Time-bound – In Ramadan, set monthly, weekly, and/or daily smaller time-bound goals as part of your larger goal. Will you be attending prayers in the masjid every evening for Taraweeh? Split your donation into 30 parts and give one part every day as an added incentive to attend congregational prayers regularly. Giving a smaller amount each day is the perfect way to ensure you meet your month-long Ramadan goals!
Leverage Available Technology
There are a number of systems, programs, and apps that can help you reach your goals. When you want to be consistent, small actions are easier to maintain (at first). You can always increase your aspirations as your stamina grows.
For example, if you want to make charitable giving a regular habit in Ramadan, download the free Feeling Blessed app. Choose from hundreds of charities to give sadaqah for relief efforts, water wells, education, health, mosque construction or zakat. Feeling Blessed is trusted by some of the world’s leading charities and Islamic organizations including Islamic Relief USA, CAIR, Edhi Foundation, Penny Appeal USA, Yaqeen Institute, and many others.
Multiply your rewards in Ramadan and keep the habit by giving consistently throughout the year. Your blessings are shared instantly with someone in your community or around the globe.
For assistance to those still learning Arabic, and for help with the recitation of du’as and azkar this Ramadan, the Hisnul Muslim app is an excellent choice. It supports English, French, Urdu, and Roman Urdu and consists of authentic du’as, supplications, and remembrance from the Quran and Sunnah. It also has an extra reading section with the 99 Names of Allah.
If learning, reading or finishing the Quran are some of your Ramadan goals, use an app like Quranic to learn the Quranic Arabic verse by verse. And if you’re already familiar with Quranic Arabic, you can also use the community-driven QforQuran app to facilitate public Quran Khwanis. Your partial reading – even one ayat at a time – can be part of globally completing one full Quran reading every day!
Being part of movements larger than ourselves and seeing our good deeds multiply across the ummah can be hugely motivating to keep us on track!
Go Old-School with Analog
Another powerful way to manage your goals is to use analog paper systems. These can help you visually document the steps you need to achieve them. Brainstorming, mind mapping, and physical paper journals give you space to reflect on your Ramadan experiences. They can also help you make plans for the future!
Journals like Ayeina’s Ramadan Bundle of productivity journals and other tools, Rey of Light Design’s Ramadan Health Diaries, or (for kids) myDeen Magazine’s Ramadan Package, are all great tools for mapping, planning, and managing your family’s Ramadan goals and habits.
All Ramadan goal striving and extra good deeds aside, what is arguably most important is learning how to manage your year-round goals. Ideally, you’ll want to continue your new habits after Eid and throughout the year.
After the blessed holy month, remember to sit and reflect on what you achieved and how you accomplished it! You’ll know what worked and what didn’t and can then choose which good habits to carry on into your “regular” daily routine post-Ramadan. Use these systems and technology together to plan, track, and reflect on your Ramadan experience and make new beneficial habits.
Leena Moiz is the Executive Director of Client Relations at Feeling Blessed – a free-to-use app for donors (and organizations) designed to make Muslims better givers. You can learn more, download the app, or add your organization to the list at FeelingBlessed.org.