Have you ever set a goal for yourself but can’t make it a reality? Things go well for a short time, but your ambitions slowly drift away. If this happens to you, you are not alone. Here are some common root causes and ways to fix them.
Too many ideas
Imagine you’re at a restaurant and you order spaghetti, an ice cream sundae, a Caesar salad, salmon, a large soda and you were asked to consume everything all at once. You can only imagine the results.
Same thing happens with goals. “I’ll workout 5 days a week! And I’ll write 5 pages of my new novel! And I’ll start a business! And I’ll….” You’ll find that the giant to-do list seems daunting and nothing gets accomplished.
Solution: Just try one idea. Once you’ve mastered it, then you can incrementally add other ideas. The Prophet Muhammad (peace by upon him) said “Simplicity is part of faith.” [narrated by Abu Dawud]
Change is difficult
The moment new habits are introduced, it becomes difficult to adjust. How many times have you heard the importance of flossing, but haven’t done it? It’s not a part of the normal routine so it becomes more challenging to do it.
Solution: Pair the new habit with an existing one. If we look at the flossing example, you can pair it with brushing. Every time you brush your teeth, floss. “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.” [2:286]
Everything is okay
Desperate times call for desperate measures. If everything is perceived as “fine,” then there’s no real reason to make a change and you settle.
Solution: Positive change stems from a need. Figure out ways to make the environment conducive to your goals. For instance, if you want to cut down on internet usage, change your data plan. Allah (SWT) says, “Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.” [Hadith Qudsi]
“It didn’t work last time, so why bother?” Learned helplessness kicks in and causes a downward spiral that shuts off future attempts of making a change.
Solution: Your past does not determine your future. No matter how many times things didn’t work before, the doors to meaningful impact are always open. “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [39:53]
It’s never too late to achieve your goals.