As Muslims we are aware that Allah SWT wills everything to happen or not happen and yet we each have the responsibility of choosing our own path of action. Have you ever met someone who talks about all the things that they would like to do, yet they achieve very little? It is not enough to have a wish to do something; we need to have a solid niyah backed up by an action plan in order to achieve our goals.
A “niyah” can also be called a “goal.” The overall intention can be whatever you would like it to be; first and foremost for a Muslim, however, would be to attain the pleasure of Allah SWT.
Within this large intention, we also take a variety of actions daily. These actions all become goals when we place energy and take action to achieve them. As simple as this may sound, we all know how easy it is to get off track when trying to achieve our goals. Life can be hectic and busy, and dealing with responsibilities can take its toll. So how do we get our focus back on to the things that are important to us?
One of my clients, Amira, is educated, runs her own business and is the mother of two boys. She is active in the community and volunteers regularly at the mosque. If you need something done, Amira is your person: she never says no. When she came to coaching, she was suffering from severe asthma that had been brought on by chronic stress. Her work was taking over her life and she felt on the verge of collapse. While her business was successful, it came at the cost of her family and her health. She came to coaching hoping to regain her balance.
Like Amira, many of us don’t realise that we need a change until things get out of control. The first step in this case is to explore what has gone out of balance. Once you have clarity on this, you will find out not only what needs to be done, but also where to start.
On the other hand, for you or for someone you know, life may be just fine. Nothing may seem to be wrong, but there isn’t much enthusiasm for life either. I have met many clients who feel guilty about taking care of their own needs and instead, they spend all their energies taking care of others to the extent that their own tanks often run empty. They know how to fulfil the needs of others, but have no idea where to start finding out what it is that they wish to achieve, let alone how to go about this.
Achieving personal fulfilment is important, for fulfilled women make fulfilled wives and mothers.
How do you begin to set goals if you are overwhelmed or have never done it before?
The following steps are designed to help you explore your life balance. Begin with drawing a large circle on a piece of paper.
Divide the circle into 6/8 slices (so it looks like a pie); depending on what you feel is appropriate. Then begin the exercise below. You will be working with the diagram throughout the exercise.
Step 1: Identify the areas of your life
The first step in looking for life balance is to first notice the areas that we focus our attention on. Take a few minutes to write down the important areas of your life, for example: work, family, finances etc. Place each area into one piece of the pie in the circle.
Step 2: Rate fulfilment
Step 2: Rate fulfilment
The next, most vital step is to gauge your fulfilment in each area of your life. Focus on one area at a time while asking yourself this question “on a scale from one to ten, how fulfilled am I in this area of my life?” Take your time in answering this question for each area. It will indicate to you how things are going. Mark this number on the corresponding pie by drawing a line where it is appropriate. Imagine that you are drawing a wheel inside the larger wheel.
Step 3: Notice the balance/lack of balance
Now that you have created your “wheel within a wheel” take a look at your diagram. What do you notice? How balanced is your life overall? What areas are taking up too much of your energy? Are there areas that are not getting enough? Is your life balanced the way you would like it to be? What are some of the changes that you would like to make? List them.
Step 4: Set three goals in each area
Now is the time to focus your energy on what you want. Take a little time to focus on three things that you would like to achieve in each area of your life. Think about goals that have a variety of time frames. The first can be a short term goal to be achieved in a few weeks or months. The second can be a medium term goal with a timeline of one to three years. Finally, there will be your long term goals. This part of the exercise is designed to encourage you to focus on creating a future that inspires you. Write your goals down.You may have a good idea of the area that you would like to begin working on. I invite you to pick the area that will make the biggest difference to your life and begin focusing on this important area.
For Amira, the immediate realisation was that her health was being neglected. Since then, she has cut back her working hours and she is exercising regularly. Her health has improved significantly. This was her short term goal, but it is a significant step towards achieving success in all areas of her life.
In the next issue of SISTERS, Sayeda focuses on SMART goal setting to work towards your goals. Watch this space!
Sayeda Habib is a life coach who has featured in Rapport Magazine, ARY Digital Television, and has been a presenter on the Islam Channel. To get in touch with Sayeda log on to www.makelifehappen.com, call 0845 077 4027 or email her atSayeda@makelifehappen.com