What about us? Have we set a goal or targets for ourselves? If so, was it because it was a New Year? Did you have to wait for the New Year to set it? Is there something about you that you wish to improve? No human is perfect. But Allah Ta'ala gave us human's intelligence to learn and the means for people to better themselves. And we should aim for perfection. The whole essence of Tarbiya is based on improving ourselves, i.e. self development.
While people set goals or targets for the benefit of this world, we as Muslims should ideally be setting goals for not only our material well-being but more importantly for the akhira (Life in Hereafter), to maximise reward so we attain Jannah(Paradise) and to avoid the punishment of the Jahannam (hellfire). That is not to say that we should not set goals for this life either, by all means go ahead. But if you intend to do a good deed for the dunya(worldly life), your reward will be in the dunya. When you intend to do a good deed for the akhira, your rewards will be in both the dunya and the akhira. For example, when you intend to eat so you can have the energy to work so you can maintain your family for Allah Ta'ala sake, you will be rewarded for both on this world and the next. But if you just eat so satisfy your hunger then your reward is just the benefits of eating.
Allah Ta'ala mentions in the Holy Quran; "…And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me.." (Quran 51:56) Therefore, our intentions and targets should ultimately be aimed at pleasing Allah Ta'ala. We set ourselves certain targets that will help us maximise reward, or to even minimise sinning. For many of us we can start with some simple yet effective, ways which we can improve our character such as to stop backbiting, be more trusting, watching our tongue, not lazing about, etc.
Let us look at it another way. Do we ever stop at the end of the day to look back thinking, What have I actually achieved today? It may be a good idea, before the start of each day, to ask yourself, What can I do tomorrow to improve myself? It can even be something small such as learning an ayah of the Quran or giving a loaf of bread in Sadaqah (Charity).
There is also the topic of setting yourself a long term goal, but that in itself is another topic, though the principles are similar.
Often the lack of motivation is what causes people to stop pursuing their targets. However, if you set your targets with the intention of pleasing Allah and make effort, He will make things easier for you. In Hadith Qudsi Allah says, "if he comes to Me walking, I go running unto him" (Bukhari, Muslim).
Allah Ta'ala also mentions that; "…those who strive in Our cause, We will surely guide them in Our paths. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good." (Quran, 29:69).
Knowing that Allah will reward you both in this world and the hereafter should re-stimulate that motivation that you need to accomplish things. Sometimes it is that extra motivation that you need. So if ever, when working towards something you feel a bit bothered about then just ask yourself again why you are doing this. For if it is for Allah Ta'alas cause then He shall make things easier for you. But you need that bit of effort. Have a bit of patience for you will be rewarded for that too.
Setting goals or targets is an excellent practise There are good resolutions a person can make and does not need to wait for a New Year. Here are a few tips to get started…