This is a personal development exercise I put together. I hope it will help you focus on your personal development needs as a Muslim Youth. And help you achieve your ‘self growth’ goals ultimately.
It uses the concept of the Gratitude exercise developed by the Psychologist, Martin Seligman – known as the founding father of Positive Psychology.
It also drives on the fuel of consistency and purpose. Such acts of consistency as prescribed and encouraged by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Here goes your daily exercise.
And yes, you definitely need a pen, paper (or journal) and an attentive mind.
From the 8 categories below, choose only 1 for the 1st week [You can also create your own categories]. Think carefully about your personal development needs right now. You may be at an average state with regards some of the categories or experience an overdose already.
And perhaps you are lagging way behind in 1 or more categories. You know it but you have been ignoring it or procrastinating about things.
For example, you can choose Spiritual Fulfillment. Put in mind you will be focusing on this category for a whole week.
1. Spiritual Fulfillment
2. Physical Well Being
3. Mental Health
4. Islamic Personality
5. Financial Intelligence
6. Authentic knowledge
7. Beneficial Relationships
8. Creative Pursuits
You can stick a post – note on your phone, mirror, fridge or work space with ‘Spiritual Fulfillment’ written clearly. Put it in a place you can’t miss it every morning.
Next, think about your top 3 personal development goals in that category in order of importance. List them out and use that to guide your final choice.
Next, set a minimum time for each of the 1, 2 or 3 (spiritual fulfillment) activities in this category daily. For example:
Recite and reflect on the meanings of half page from the Quran.
Read morning and night supplications (Use phone or tablet app to aid you).
Perform your 5 compulsory prayers on time (Download or set prayer times on your phone).
Whatever you do, don’t start out too ambitious. Make it simple to begin with. You can start with only 1 or 2 of the goals.
Consistency is your secret tool for this exercise.
Each morning, start out by asking yourself two questions:
1. How can I get the best out of these activities as I go through the day?
2. How can I become better Muslim through these activities?
Maintain that ‘betterment’ mode throughout your day.
At the end of each day, after Isha (the night prayers) and before going to sleep, write down three things about how you feel with the completion of each of the ‘spiritual fulfillment’ activities.
Also answer the question after each task and related feeling above:
”How am I a better person today from doing this (Task 1/ 2/ 3)?”
Do this nightly for a week.
After one week, reflect on how you feel spiritually (or in any other way depending on your choice).
Now moving on, are you ready to choose from another category? Or would you like to continue focusing on what you did the first week; or perhaps add some tasks to the same category?
It’s really up to you.
Do you need to challenge yourself or take things slow and steady? Whichever way you decide to go, remember that consistency is the secret weapon.
You can turn your personal development exercise into something pleasing to Allah – an Ibadah (act of worship), and hence strive towards reaping rewards.
Hence, your goal should primarily be for self growth for your own benefit – cleansing the soul, mind and body; And then for the benefit of the Ummah. As nothing in the life of a Muslim should be without a purpose.
It will help you invest wisely in the free gift of youth, leisure and health. And not be counted among those who incur loss with respect to them.
Did you think We created you in mere idle play, and that you would not have to return to us
Do not spend your day randomly or clock-watching till the next juicy update. Allocate time for your overall personal development – Mind, Body and Soul.
Give this personal development exercise a try.
And just as with the ‘Gratitude Exercise’ where 60% of the participants were reported to carry on with the habit and also increase in their happiness and decrease depression up to 6 months after a week; Give this exercise a try and note your own personal development level – especially since your motivation is beyond this temporary world.
Rather, it extends to the joys and bounties of the everlasting life In Sha Allah.
Which of these categories will you get started with today?