Imagine that you had to move away, and leave almost everything behind. Imagine having to start all over again. What would you change this time around? What tangible and intangible things will you put in your new home? This is a question I have recently been asking myself after my sister moved away. She’s not my biological sister, but a sister who is dear to my heart. She is the one whom I started this blog with, but now she is miles away, across rocky mountains and vast plains. She will arrive to a brand new apartment with very few belongings and will be starting all over again. Before she left, we made a pact for both of us to start fresh, to “reset” and reboot our life.
We all have things we wish we can change about ourselves, and our lives. But we get in a rut, and feel too tired to do anything about it. We get distracted in our day-to-day lives of dishes piled high in the sink, clothes overflowing hampers, and “boo-boos” that needs to be tended to. Just as the day begins, it ends just as quickly, and it’s time to tuck our children into beds, and get some shut-eye before the daily grind starts up again.
While it’s all too common to struggle to get through each day, it’s important to take a step back and look at our lives, and ask ourselves how we can make it better. Are there things we need to work on? Things we need to change? Relationships we need to improve? Things we need to get rid of? Unhealthy habits we need to break free from? If so, it’s time for a “reset”!
I know, it sounds like a daunting project. How can you just reset your life just like that? Years and years of living a certain way is not easy to wipe out in a single go! Well, the good news is we don’t have to! All it requires is for us to make small changes in our lives, but to be consistent about it.
A while ago, I was listening to a ted talk about how one man lost considerable amount of weight simply by introducing one small change in his life. He didn’t go to the gym, workout for hours, or go on an extreme fad diet. All he did was to introduce a “tiny habit” of doing 2 pushups after he used the bathroom every single time. Overtime, he increased the amount to 4,6,8..etc , until he ended up doing over 50 pushups a day.
This same man leads a team which studies behavioral management and they discovered that the key to long term behavioral change was not to introduce a big change, but a “tiny” one and make it run autopilot. To do that, you simply have to attach a desired behavior ( in small increments ) with an already existing habit (i.e. using the bathroom, brushing your teeth) . Using the formula “After I_______, I will_________,” they found most people were able to change their life dramatically.
This formula is so versatile, it can be applied to every area in your life. If you want to read more quran, then write a formula for it! It might look something like this. “After I pray fajr, I will read the quran for 5 minutes.” Do you want a cleaner home? I wrote some formulas with the family, (It helps to have everyone on board!) such as “After I finish my meal, I will bring my dish to the sink,” and “After I enter the house, I will put my shoes on the rack.” Do you want to build your relationships? A formula such as “After I go to the bed, I will tell my spouse something I like about him/her” might just do the trick. Want to lose weight? You can do the pushups thing like the guy did, or you might decide that jumping jacks work out better for you. The key is to do it consistently, at a level that is so easy and virtually failproof, and to increase it gradually overtime. Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”
I started on the road to “resetting” my life by first changing physical aspects of my home such as minimizing and getting rid of broken down furniture, and things which we didn’t use and was just sitting in a lonely cupboard collecting dust. It’s easier to work on more tangible things first. With more space and organization, I found it much easier to focus on the intangible things like personal development and building relationships.
So, if you want to change something in your life, start by taking a tiny step. Remember that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
May Allaah make us of those who always remember to renew their intentions and start fresh everyday inshaa Allah.
How to Align your Life
How to Talk yourself out of Everything you want to do.
A Productive Day of Arafah
Ted Talks that Inspire Change
Gratitude In Islam
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
25 Duas From The Quran
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