Goal Setting

The ONE THING needed to accomplish any goal

The ONE THING needed to accomplish any goal

This article isn’t a pep talk. It isn’t a fluffy motivational article about willing what you want into existence or the power of positive thinking. This is real talk.

I have spent a lot of time analyzing the lives of successful people (in both religion and worldly affairs) and even wrote a book about such a person recently. In all this research, I noticed a lot of common trends, but ONE THING stood out in ALL of them. This article is about that ONE THING.

The ONE THING is NOT

It is not positive thinking. It is true that every successful person I know is an optimist and thinks positively, but that is just a part of what makes them successful.

I also know a lot of people who think positively and accomplish nothing. Because all they do is think. These people think that they will attract good things into their lives just by thinking, without any action or effort. This is a ridiculous approach to success and it just doesn’t work.

So what then is the ONE THING.

Well the ONE THING is definitely NOT

You may then assume that the ONE THING is taking action. Again, this is a common trait in every successful person I know. They all take action and work until their ideas become realities. They do NOT stop until they accomplish their goals, and never hold back from trying their best.

However, I also know a lot of unsuccessful people who took action. They took action, failed and gave up. Or they may have tried multiple times, multiple different things, yet all failed so they gave up eventually. Their actions led to nothing because positive thinking + action does NOT equal success.

So what is it then?

No, the ONE THING is not

You may then assume it is NOT giving up on your goal. Once again, this is a common trait in successful people. Successful people are unwavering in their desire to succeed and do not give up easily. They will push through every hurdle and overcome every barrier to achieve their goals. This is definitely a common trait in them.

But it isn’t the ONE THING. Because there are many people who never give up, yet never achieve their goals. The terrible singer who dreams of being famous, the poor writer who tries desperately to gain readers, the boring teacher who keeps seeking new students. They never give up, and waste their lives pursuing something they just aren’t good at.

So does that mean the ONE THING is…

Nope! The ONE THING is not that either

Does that mean the ONE THING is working on your strengths and mastering them? Well, this is a common trait in most successful people. They figure out what they are good at, put in the hours, and eventually master it. But mastery alone is not enough for success.

Many great authors go unread, many great actors unrecognized, and many amazing products lost in the dusty aisles at the back of the store. Mastery is needed, but there is ONE THING that every successful person has that combines all of the above and eventually leads to success, and it is not easy at all.

SUCCESS = Positive thinking + Taking Action + Never Giving Up + Mastery +

The ONE THING many people miss

The missing ingredient that most people don’t see and recognize, but is clear in every success story; unreasonable effort. To go above and beyond what others are willing to do to achieve your goal. This is the missing ingredient. The difference between the successful entrepreneur and the average one, the key that opens the iron-locked door, the golden principle.

If you truly want to succeed at a ridiculously high goal, then you the following formula: Positive thinking + Taking Action + Never Giving Up + Mastery + Unreasonable Effort = SUCCESS.

It is this last part that most people overlook. It is this step that scares the average person away. Yet it is this very step that is most crucial for achieving what others think is not even possible.

The author who spends countless hours honing his skill, and the rest of his time marketing his books, establishing networks and growing his reader list. That is the author that is going to eventually breakthrough and succeed. The entrepreneur who works abnormally long hours, tries ideas that nobody thought of before, pushes himself way out of his comfort zone, and works on projects that seem impossible to realize, that is the entrepreneur that rises above all.

Even in religion, it isn’t the average Muslim that we all look up to. It is the people of Ihsan, the ones who put in unbelievable effort into worshipping Allah, doing good deeds that the rest of us don’t even think of or are too lazy to do. Those are the ones who reach the highest levels of faith.

So there you have it, the recipe for success; Positive thinking + Taking Action + Never Giving Up + Mastery + Unreasonable Effort.

So what are you going to do with this knowledge?

Ready to take the next step? My new book breaks down the life of a man who succeeded in religion and worldly affairs and extracts fifteen principles from his life. Grab your copy here or at Amazon.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, 1 comment

5 Mental Blocks in the way of your goals

5 Mental Blocks in the way of your goals

It can be very frustrating. You’ve read every book, watched every video, and tried every tactic. But you still have mental blocks preventing you from taking control of your time.

I understand. You are not alone.

Below are five common mental blocks that get in people’s way of managing their time. Remember: understanding the root cause is the first step to eliminating the problem.

So read on!

1. You are not serious about your goal

Some goals seem nice. They look fun. It may be something you think you want, but you are really not sure. It just sounded nice at the time.

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Well if this is the type of goal you have, then procrastination will become a lifestyle. If you want to achieve goals, take them seriously. Or at least set goals that you can take seriously.

Example of not serious goal: It would be nice to own my own home.
Example of serious goal: I will sell X amount of my product to earn X amount of money, so I can purchase my dream home. And I will try to do get this done within five years.

Think about it, which of the above two goals are more likely to lead to action and achievement?

2. Your goal is too materialistic

As a Muslim, it is hard to focus on goals that are purely materialistic. This is because we are spiritual beings, and we know that we have obligations to our Creator and His Creation. Because of this, purely materialistic goals cause cognitive dissonance which leads to lack of motivation to achieve them.

The fix: edit your goals to contain a spiritual element. This will make it purer, more beneficial in both worlds, and easier to achieve with Allah’s Help.

Example of materialistic goal: I want to be a millionaire.
Example of spiritual, yet worldly, goal: I will work to become financially free, so that I will have the time and resources necessary to complete my Dawah projects.

Both of the above want money, but one wants it for purer reasons, and so will be more motivated to get it the right way.

3. Your goal is too individualistic

Individualism is such a normal part of Western culture that many Muslims are unaware they have become individualistic. And they are unaware of how unislamic this lifestyle can be.

As Muslims, our fellow humans all have rights over us. We are meant to be contributors to the ummah, not focused entirely on our own desires. This is why our goals need to beneficial for the ummah. If your goals are selfish, then this too may lead to cognitive dissonance.

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The fix: Set goals that benefit yourself and others, and you will find deeper motivation to achieve them.

Example of individualistic goal: I want to write a book, so that it can sell millions of copies and I can become a bestselling author.
Example of ummah-centric goal: I want to write books that will benefit the ummah, and I hope that these books will reach and benefit millions of Muslims.

The second goal is purer, and more likely to lead to Allah’s Divine Assistance in achieving it.

4. You lack a strong why

If you have goals that lack a strong reason, then you will never gather enough strength to do what is necessary to achieve them. Goals are by their nature challenging. And only people who have a strong reason to achieve that goal will put in the necessary work to get it done.

If you find yourself not really interested in your goals, ask yourself why? Why is this my goal? And if you can’t find a deep enough reason, then replace it with a better goal. You owe it to yourself to only chase goals that are worth the chase.

Example of goal without a why: I want to write a book.
An Example of goal with a weak why: I want to write a book, so I can become famous.
Example of a goal with a strong why: I want to write a book about X topic, so that I can benefit millions of people with my experience in that field.

Only a strong why will lead to the necessary action needed to get it done!

5. You depend on mood and emotion

If you only work on your goals when you are in the mood, or pumped up, then chances are that you aren’t making progress. Goals should never depend on your emotional state. Goals worth achieving should be fixed parts of your daily life.

They should be at the top of your to-do list. And they should get worked on regardless of how you are feeling. If you want to achieve your goals, you need to stop depending on mood, and need to put your head down and work, whether you are in the mood to or not. Only then will you truly make progress.

Example of goal dependent on mood: I might write an article this week, depending on how I feel.
Example of serious goal: I will write and publish an article by Saturday, regardless of what happens or what my mood is.

You have to separate mood and emotions from your goals if you want to get them done.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, 3 comments

A realistic guide to Ramadan Goal Setting

Ramadan Goal Setting

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.

That’s It!

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!

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, 8 comments

The obstacles in the way of your goal that you were not expecting

obstacles in the way of your goal

The obstacles in the way of your goal that you were not expecting

Life is strange. When you set off to achieve a goal, there are obstacles in the way of your goal that you expect. Enemies, jealous rivals, blunders, learning curves, and budget problems to name a few. These are the obstacles we expect.

But then there are obstacles we did not expect. These are the ones that really sweep us off track and leave us winded. They come from the least likely sources, and as a result the impact is much harder. So what are these obstacles in the way of your goal?

1. Your Family

When we think about obstacles, we don’t think about family. Yet in most true stories, there is almost always an obstacle from the family.

Here is an example: Ahmad has an amazing idea for a new business. He shares his idea with his family and expects their full support. To his surprise, the entire family shoots the idea down as too risky, and discourages him from chasing it.

Feeling dejected, Ahmed gives up and doesn’t bother even trying to chase his idea.

What just happened? (Or understanding their perspective)

Your family’s duty is to protect you. Often they view your ideas only through that perspective. Their protective instincts kick in because they love you. They don’t want you to get hurt. So they feel its better to discourage you from grand ideas that could hurt you, even if it also has the potential to be great for you.

They love you. They want to protect you. That is why they do what they do.

So what should I do? (Or the solution)

Every great business idea/goal/new venture is risky. That’s part of life. We can’t achieve new goals without some level of risk. However, we should not expect family support when taking a risk. The risk is our own. We need to own it, and face it alone.

If you have support from someone, then that is a blessing. If not, you need to go at it alone and be responsible.

One way to keep their hearts at ease is to have a backup plan. A job on the side, some savings, another source of income, a means of recovery. You will need these anyway. But showing your family that you have these is a great way to put their hearts at ease while you take the risks needed to pursue your grand ideas.

2. Your Friends

Depending on the kind of friends you hang out with. Telling your friends about your ideas could go one of two ways: support and sincere advice or full-on jealousy!

When I first started chasing higher goals, I found myself having to shift my friend circle completely. My friends were people without ambitions or goals, they wanted to stay that way. They felt threatened if anybody disturbed that natural order. So they would discourage me from chasing any goals that would move me higher in life.

So what did you do? (or the solution)

I got  a new friend circle. I stopped hanging out too much with people who put down my ideas, tell me I can’t achieve them or that I’m wasting time. Instead, I started hanging out with people who achieve great things themselves, and encourage me to do the same.

If you are facing a similar problem, you may want to consider changing the type of people you hang out with.

3. Yourself

The biggest obstacle any person faces when chasing a scary risky strange new goal is…himself!

Your brain will try to put you off your goal in so many ways. Your mind would flood with thoughts like the following:

“I’m not good enough!”

“Nobody would read anything I write!”

“I have no experience in this area.”

“I should just stick with what I know!”

If any of these thoughts are familiar, then relax. I deal with them myself all the time.

Why, brain, why?

These are natural thoughts as, just like our families, our brains are designed to protect us from harm. Your brain is just acting like an internal family member trying to put you off the scary task, so you don’t get hurt.

Your brain is not your enemy. It simply needs reprogramming. You need to train your brain to think positively. And you need to assure yourself that it will be fine.

You need to tell it: “There isn’t a lion chasing you, its just a deadline. No need to panic, just work hard and we got this, brain!”

Embracing Obstacles

There are many more obstacles in the way of your goal. This is the part of the game-changer. If you want to make a difference in the world. You need to embrace obstacles and use them as a platform for growth. Grow in your relationships. Grow in your thinking. And grow in your planning.

Obstacles are always going to be there. It is only those who push past them that achieve the most amazing goals. Face your obstacles, push through them and embrace the challenge. That is the only way forward!

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, 2 comments

4 Times when you should give up on your goals

Never Give Up

Never Give up…or should you?

The old saying in Self Help “Never give up!” isn’t always true. While it is true that attaining noble goals requires sacrifice, hard work, persistence, and a long period of time. It is also true that there are certain times when you should consider giving up on your goals. Here are four situations when giving up on your goal is the right thing to do:

When the goal is Haram

You may have set the goal when you were ignorant and unaware that it was prohibited in Islam, or harmful to others. If that is the case, as soon as you gain knowledge and realize that it is Haram, you must give up that goal for the sake of Allah, even if your Nafs desires it.

Any goal given up for the sake of Allah will be replaced by that which is better than it, as Allah does not allow any sacrifice to go unrewarded.

When it isn’t worth the sacrifice

We all know that attaining goals require sacrifice. However, we must approach our goals with balance and realism. If attaining a goal requires sacrifice, it needs to be worthy of that sacrifice. Too often, we sacrifice that which is better for goals which are lesser. Take a look at your current goals and the sacrifices needed to attain them. Are they proportionate? Is it worth it?

There are some things you shouldn’t sacrifice for worldly goals. You should never sacrifice your religion/relationship with Allah for a worldly goal. You should never allow your goals to break up your marriage or destroy your relationship with your children, and you should never chase goals that will compromise your integrity.

Life is about balance. We need lofty goals, but we also need to fulfill the rights of those in our lives. If a goal interferes with those rights, it may be time to consider letting go of that goal.

When it takes you away from your vision

Sometimes a goal starts of as a good idea, but ends up taking you down paths very different from what you envisioned. When working on your goals, it is crucial to analyze your goals within the framework of your life vision.

If your goals are moving you towards your vision, then continue pursuing them. But if they are taking you away from your vision, then it is time to let them go.

When something better comes along

Sometimes we set our goals when our resources are low and our opportunities few. As a result, the goals are not ideal or optimal. Some people become so obsessed with such goals that they end up missing better opportunities that present themselves along the way. This is why it is crucial to put your vision before your goal.

While working towards a goal, if something better comes along. If some opportunity that can move you towards your vision faster comes along. If something comes along that would be an even better goal. Then it is time to give up your goal in order to make time for the better one.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, 2 comments