A realistic guide to Ramadan Goal Setting
It is Ramadan goal setting season. Blogs everywhere are releasing their annual pre-Ramadan articles. And the pressure is on to set the biggest, best goals for the upcoming Ramadan.
But have you ever noticed how often we fall short of our Ramadan goals? And did you ever wonder why?
The R in S.M.A.R.T.
In goal setting, I tend to follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal system. The R standing for realistic. And I believe that is where many of our Ramadan goals fall short. For a goal to be realistic it needs to be within your current capabilities, and not require some kind of miracle.
Consider the following examples:
Unrealistic Goal: Ahmad has set his goal to pray all 20 Rakah of Taraweh with full khushoo every night of Ramadan. By the 16th Rakah of the first night, his concentration is already waning. He then gives up on Khushoo for the rest of Ramadan as he failed to achieve his goal.
Realistic Goal: This year, Ahmad sets his goal to pray Taraweh with as much Khushoo as possible. He has his most Khushoo-filled Taraweh ever!
Unrealistic Goal: Ayesha doesn’t recite Quran for the other 11 months of the year, but is determined to recite 60 entire Qurans this Ramadan. On the first day, she barely manages to recite 1 Juz. She then gives up as she realizes she isn’t going to meet her goal.
Realistic Goal: This year, Ayesha is going to recite 1 entire Quran in Ramadan, by reciting one Juz a day. She meets her goal and benefits greatly from the recitation.
Unrealistic Goal: Yusuf set his goal to never commit a single sin ever again for the rest of his life! One the first day of trying, he gave up. It just wasn’t possible
Realistic Goal: This year, Yusuf will focus on removing one sinful habit from his life. He will try to never miss Fajr on time ever again. By focusing on that one thing and making Fajr on time a new habit. He meets his goal and remains steadfast on his Fajr for life.
Tips for setting Realistic Goals
I too used to set unrealistic goals for Ramadan. Nowadays my goals are far more practical and achievable. Here are a few things you can do differently to make sure your Ramadan Goal Setting methods are realistic.
1. Think within the realm of what is possible in 29 days
The T in S.M.A.R.T. stands for time-bound. Ramadan goals are already time-bound, you have just 29 days to achieve the goal. Be realistic about what you can achieve in 29 days. Perhaps you can recite the entire Quran twice. Or you can give up a bad habit like smoking. Maybe you could read an entire short book of Tafseer.
Use the 29 day mark as a guideline to help you set a goal that is realistic and possible within that time limit.
2. Limit your goals to five or less
The more goals you are juggling, the less attention you will be able to give to each. Being realistic also means being realistic about how many goals you set. If you are only able to give attention to two goals, then just set two. Anything more than five is unrealistic for most people.
Be realistic, and limit your goals to the five most important things you wish to achieve or change this Ramadan.
3. Divide each monthly goal into daily steps
The best way to make sure your goal is realistic is to divide it into 29 pieces. One for each day of Ramadan. For example, if your goal is to recite the entire Quran twice, then break it down into 2 Juz a day. If your goal is to read a 290 page book of Tafseer, then break it down into 10 pages a day.
By dividing your goal into daily goals, you increase the chance of completing that goal, and give yourself something realistic to focus on each day.
4. Every day just focus on the action steps for that day
If you followed the above guidelines, you should now have a list of five goals. Each being realistic with a practical daily step. Now all you have to do is focus on those five daily steps. Every day just check what are the five things you need to do for the day and get them done.
Do so, and you will achieve your Ramadan goals without even having to focus on anything more than your steps for that day.
Keep it short and realistic. Think about what you can achieve in 29 days. Set five or less goals. Break each one into daily steps. And just follow those steps every day. And that is how you do Ramadan Goal Setting the realistic way!
For more tips on time management and goal setting, check out our exclusive eBook:
Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide To Time Management