News & Islam From the Imam’s desk... How you can be successful in 2022 and accomplish your goals, insha’Allah! By Shaykh Mohammed Mahmoud Assalamu‘alaikum wa rahmatullah As we welcome in the new year, many of us will wonder how to better ourselves for 2022 and find success. We’ve put together a list to help you re-evaluate, focus and give yourself a boost, insha’Allah. What does success look like for you? Success is a concept that is different for every person. Whether that means having a good job, a home, a family, or even becoming stronger in our faith, success is something everyone strives to achieve in their own way. It makes you feel proud, gives you excitement, and lets you know you have made an impact in a competitive world. However, material success is always temporary. We can earn money and lose money too! Success is not something you attain without putting in effort, however. It is a mindset you must adopt to accomplish your goals and grow, and it takes hard work. Often those that find quick success without putting in effort do not appreciate the value of what they have, and thus inevitably, they lose it. How to be truly successful To be clear from the outset, we as humans cannot find success alone in this world without the help of the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. Allah SWT is the giver of life and death. It is Allah SWT, Who has created the heavens and the Earth, and indeed, everything is within His grasp, and nothing can escape it. Allah SWT expounds in the Qur’an (19:65): “He is the Creator of the heavens and the Creator of the Earth and their Owner and Controller. He is also the Creator, Owner and Controller of everything in between them so worship Him alone, for He alone is deserving of worship. Remain firm in worshiping Him, for He has no likeness or partner who shares this worship with Him.” 1. Tawakkul: The foundation of all success Reliance upon Allah SWT (Tawakkul) is a part of our very faith (Iman). The foundation of all goodness and success for us in this life and the Hereafter can be based upon having a strong sense of Tawakkul in Allah SWT and placing the utmost trust in Him. Knowing that all sources of good and evil in this life cannot occur to you without the will of Allah SWT. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an (33:3): “And put your trust in Allah, for Allah is sufficient as a Trustee of Affairs.” A simple Dua (supplication) from the Qur’an (9:129) you can recite seven times every morning and evening to increase your Tawakkul: “Hasbiyallaahu laa ilaaha illaa Huwa ‘alayhi tawakkaltu wa Huwa Rabbul-‘Arshil-‘Adheem." "Sufficient for me is Allah there is nothing worthy of worship except for Him, I place my trust in Him, He is the Lord of the mighty throne.” 2. Be committed Through commitment, you can gain motivation to pursue success. You should make a list that includes your goal, your level of commitment to the goal and what you are willing to do to achieve that goal. Staying focused on your plan is crucial. It helps to put aside at least 10–15 minutes per day to think about your plan and work toward it. This planning will keep your goal fresh in your mind and allow you to continue focusing on it. However, in determining your commitment to your goal, it’s important to ensure you have realistic expectations of yourself and the outcome. If your commitment is not paying off after a certain period of time, you should adjust your goal accordingly and revise any necessary steps. At times it may be helpful to ask a friend or family member for support in helping you stick to your commitments. Having someone to hold you accountable for your shortcomings and praise your success can help you stay committed to your goal. 3. Learn from the journey & have (halal) fun along the way Rather than focusing strictly on the results of your accomplishments, take notice of the small steps needed to achieve success. If you allow yourself to enjoy small victories along your journey, reaching your goal will become a new adventure each day, and you will be more likely to stay on track. By doing this, you will learn new and exciting things along the way, which can help you grow as a person. If the journey to achieve something becomes too tedious, it will be more challenging to succeed. Learning what you are capable of can be fun and exciting, so it is crucial to keep your goals light and fun to have an emotionally-positive experience and keep moving forward without losing perspective. Rather than focusing strictly on the results of your accomplishments, take notice of the small steps needed to achieve success. If you allow yourself to enjoy small victories along your journey, reaching your goal will become a new adventure each day, and you will be more likely to stay on track. By doing this, you will learn new and exciting things along the way, which can help you grow as a person. If the journey to achieve something becomes too tedious, it will be more challenging to succeed. Learning what you are capable of can be fun and exciting, so it is crucial to keep your goals light and fun to have an emotionally-positive experience and keep moving forward without losing perspective. 4. Think positively Developing a positive mindset is all about placing a firm trust in Allah SWT, that He can help you achieve your goals – but obviously – you will also need to do your part. Our age-old enemy, Shaytan, does not want to see us succeed and wants us to turn away from Allah SWT so that he can lead humanity to Hell. Shaytan will constantly whisper (waswas) to make you feel fear, defeat, loss, and delusion and invite you to sin. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an: “And if there comes to you from Satan an evil suggestion, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” It is important to replace negative or sinful thoughts with positive ones to motivate yourself to keep trying no matter what challenges come your way. In your path to becoming successful, you are likely learning new things and thinking differently than before. Your goals will not happen overnight. They will take practice and discipline to achieve, so it is vital to think about the process positively. 5. Change your perspective and regularly make dua Sometimes along the journey, you have to change your perspective to turn a challenging situation into a better one. When you are having a bad day or week, imagine instead that it is a good day or week, and find at least one thing you can feel positive about. Give yourself the opportunity and the time to think about your situation using only positive language and see how much your day or week changes. Doing this for an extended period could change your entire life and circumstances. If you don't ask, you don't get, so the saying goes. Dua is the believer's weapon, and it involves asking Allah SWT for His assistance, guidance and mercy. Allah SWT mentions in the Qur’an (2:201): “[There is a group] of people who have faith in Allah and the Afterlife who ask their Lord for blessing in this world and the ability to do good, just as they ask Him for entry into Paradise and safety from the punishment of the fire of Hell.” 6. Be honest with yourself If you find your goal is at a standstill, you might need to be honest with yourself about why that is. After you have come to an understanding, try to find a solution to push yourself toward success. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. This might mean an extra set of squats in the gym, speaking to a supervisor about a work promotion or even signing up for a difficult class that you hadn't considered before. You may have been making dua for something for a while. However, it has not come to fruition. It may also be that the thing you are asking for will harm you more than benefit you. Again, Allah SWT is the best of planners, and He will grant you something when the time is right according to His plan. 7. Take away distractions Now is the best time to start changing habits to focus on achieving success without distractions. Make a list of things in your life that take up your time or distract you. This could be a phone, a television show, a video game or even a person who causes you stress. Shut off your phone and put it in a different room when it is time to focus on your goal. Turn off the television and put the remote across the room. Take a break from mindless button bashing and switch off from video games. Keep in contact with the people who positively impact your life and encourage you to do good. 8. Stay accountable You cannot count on others to achieve your goals for you. Your best friend cannot take an exam for you. Your parents cannot get you a workplace promotion. Your spouse cannot lose extra weight for you. These are all things you must do on your own. It can be beneficial to rely on others for emotional support, but just as you have your needs, your friends and family have their own as well. It is important to hold yourself accountable to achieve your goals and make yourself content. 9. Keep planning Stick to a schedule when working on your goals. Give yourself challenges according to your calendar, such as “I will run a seven-minute mile by the end of the month,” or “I will save £1000 by the end of the year,” or even “I will try to pray every salah on time.” Even if you do not achieve the goal, you will have your calendar’s starting point and see progress. If you plan your goals and track them in a calendar, you will always have proof of your progress. Having something tangible is a great motivator to keep working toward success. 10. Avoid getting burned out It is important to focus on your goal but not obsess over it. Keeping your journey productive and fun will ensure you are motivated without overworking yourself. Sitting around and thinking about your goal all the time can cause you to burn out and also waste time. Your previously fun goal becomes more like something you have to do than something you want to do. Continue to learn how much you can grow and achieve to avoid getting burned out. Insha’Allah, may we all realise our dreams and true potential.