Transformation Tuesday: My goals for June 2021

Hello and welcome to my blog! It’s the 1st day of June. Can you believe it?

The pandemic has been going on for 15 months, we’re almost halfway through 2021, and the world is so chaotic right now. I don’t know about you, but when I feel like everything is out of my control, I panic. Then I take a deep breath, list the things I’m grateful for, and set down monthly goals, and focus on those because if I want to change the world, I must work on myself first and foremost.

I made 20 goals this month. I know it sounds too much and overwhelming, but in my attempt to create a balance between getting on top of my reading and writing, tending to my family and household, while taking care of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being, there is a lot of ground to cover.

I realized that physical, mental, and emotional well-being is all interconnected. When you’re feeling depressed, you feel physically tired and it affects your diet and sleep. Also, when you stay up late and eat a lot of junk food, you feel groggy and moody. The following goals are for the sake of my whole well being:

  • Shower 3 times a week
  • Control my anger
  • Do optimism challenge
  • Sit on the balcony or take a walk (get sunlight) daily
  • Exercise daily for 7 minutes
  • Brush teeth and hair daily
  • Drink 1 L of water daily
  • Eat 1 portion of fruit daily

As for my reading goals, I have 9 books I have abandoned months ago, and this month I plan on tackling 2 of them (the pdfs on my laptop) before I continue with the 7 paperbacks on my bookshelf. I’m also really behind on reading blogs so that’s one of my goals as well, to catch up on reading blogs.

As for my writing goals, the goal is to write at least 1 blog post a day, except on Wednesday, and to promote my most recent 3 books (I can’t promote all 10 books at once).

For my spiritual wellbeing, my goal is to pray duha 3 times a week and read 10 pages of Quran a day.

Socially, since I’ve become a hermit, I plan on texting at least 2 friends a day, so they know I’m still alive. I also plan on calling my grandmother once a week and visiting her once a month.

This is without housework, taking care of my son, sleeping, eating, cooking, etc.

I hope I’m able to achieve at least half of these goals. Most of them are habits I’m trying to implement so it’s hard to narrow them down.

What are your goals for June 2021?

New month, New challenge: Day 20

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where I do a challenge each day and share it here so you can do it with me.

Today’s challenge is:

Cook a healthy meal today.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

This challenge isn’t really a challenge for me. Basically all the meals I cook for lunch are healthy. I can’t say the same for breakfast and dinner (remember in Arab countries, lunch and dinner are switched so when I say lunch, I mean the main course).

The challenge here is that today is Thursday, but I cook every Monday, and sometimes on Thursday but not today. I was going to explain why but I’m trying not to defend my lifestyle, whether I’m okay with it or not.

Anyway, so I’m considering this challenge done. In case you didn’t know, I’m not very passionate about cooking. I mean, I know how to cook many meals but I only interest myself in cooking the limited meals that my picky husband and son will eat. Even if I like a meal and they don’t, I won’t bother cooking it unless I’m really craving it. I’m not even interested in trying new recipes (unless it’s for cake and cookies because baking I like).

Do you cook daily or weekly or somewhere in between?

Do you love to cook?

New month, New challenge: Day 19

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where I do a challenge each day and share it here so you can do it with me. Now why is it that when you have something to do, and you know you’ll feel better after you do it, you tend to do anything but that thing? Anyone? Just me? Anyway…

Today’s challenge is:

Clean and organize your home and workspace.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

I’m a tidy person in general. I don’t pile up dishes and laundry, I make the beds as soon as I wake up, and I even have a cleaning schedule. However, since today’s challenge was cleaning, I found my to do list very daunting. It suddenly felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, and my heart clenched, and I didn’t feel like doing anything (that could also be because I’ve been feeling a bit exhausted and overwhelmed for the past few days), but nothing a nice walk couldn’t cure.

I did the dishes and laundry and then rewarded myself with a walk to the supermarket where I bought a lot of junk food, then walked back and did more housework after rewarding myself with a chocolate bar. Now I’m rewarding myself with chips.

Now excuse me while I tend to my 6 year old who has a minor blister on his foot but is acting like he’s been shot.

Transformation Tuesday: Did you achieve your goals this Ramadan?

Hello and welcome to my blog! Transformation Tuesday is back! If you noticed, yesterday I wrote a motivational Monday post and I’m trying to ease back into my preramadan schedule. Why don’t I just wait until Ramadan is actually over? 1st, I like to start at the beginning of the week. 2nd, if I were to wait until Eid, which is either Wednesday or Thursday, I’d probably end up writing Eid blogs and they won’t be themed around anything, more like storytime posts of what I did during Eid. 3rd, I really wanted to reflectvon this Ramadan and see how much I achieved of my Ramadan goals.

I’ve been exhausted this ramadan, and the last 5 days have made me appreciate the presick tiredness I was feeling. As Ramadan comes to an end, I’m grateful I was able to fast the whole month. I’m also grateful for whatever I was able to achieve. I don’t feel like my Ramadan went to waste but I feel like I could’ve done better, partky if I had more energy, and partly because I let myself waste time sometimes.

How much of my goals did I achieve this Ramadan?

Housekeeping

Declutter challenge (postponed until after Ramadan)

Cooking challenge (postponed until after Ramadan)

However, according to my calendar, which I use basically to keep up with housework, I took care of my household 80%. I kept my house relatively clean and tidy.

Charity

Kindness challenge (in progress)

Pay for box of food for poor (I payed for part of a box as prices have risen)

Bonus: I taught tajweed weekly throughout Ramadan to a bunch of 8 year olds. I also payed kafala for the orphan I’ve been sponsoring partially (I payed a year in advance). I also payed for 6 meals via share the meal app. I give myself 💯 although I could give more money but I did achieve the goal I set, if not supersede it.

I normally don’t broadcast my acts of charity but because they are few and far in between, I wanted to share to encourage others who may want to do charity but need ideas. There are many ideas to give charity, especially during Ramadan and in Lebanon. You can pay for hot meals or groceries of help someone pay rent or hospital bills or medications. There are so many options. I wish I could do more but as I don’t have a job, my options are limited. My husband gives a lot (he keeps it secret even from me) but I still feel like I want to give from my pocket money.

Ibadat

Read entire quraan at least once (done)

Pray 8 taraweeh (done except for 5 days when I prayed 4, but I prayed 20 and 12 on 2 other nights so it’s balanced).

Pray doha 3 times a week at least (I achieved this goal on weeks 1 and 3 but not on weeks 2 and 4)

I also made a lot of douaa (supplication) on the odd nights of the last 10 days. I read surah al kahf every Friday. I prayed 57% of nafilah during Ramadan (I normally pray 40% of nafilah). I won’t count these as bonus as they should have been included in the goals (they were included in the Ramadan plannar I used). So after calculating, I achieved 84.5% of my ibadah goals.

Parenting

Read quraan with my son daily (epic fail. However, he went to an Islamic camp during Ramadan and they taught him azkar and reviewed the surahs he knows of quraan).

Ramadan worksheet and activities (we made a lantern, a sign that said Ramadan Mubarak, and he even made his grandparents a Eid mubarak card. However, he only finished half of the worksheet I printed out for him).

Bonus: I’m having him pray 1 prayer a day throughout Ramadan (in exchange for a toy I bought him which he will receive on Eid because he has no motivation to pray and this is the last time I bribe him to pray) and so far he is praying everyday. If he skips a day, he prays 2 the next day. I give myself a 50% and A for effort.

Islamic learning

Finish the book Nurturing Eeman in Children (postponed until after Ramadan)

Watch tafseer (explanation of the verses of the quraan) videos on youtube (I watched 15 tafseer videos during Ramadan in addition to other Islamic videos).

Use Ramadan legacy app (the app didn’t work so I had to delete it, but I used the Ramadan plannar I printed out instead). So 💯 score here.

Health

No junk food challenge (did 18 out of 21 and will finish it after Ramadan)

15 minutes in the sun per day (epic fail)

Home workout challenge (done) so all in all 62%

Other

No movies or tv shows (I didn’t watch any tv shows but I watched 8 movies throughout Ramadan)

Post ramadan related content on the blog and Instagram (I posted 17 Ramadan series posts on the blog and 3 Ramadan related videos on instagram). So that’s a solid 58%.

Overall, I think I did fine this Ramadan, considering how tired I was from the fasting and how sick I’ve been for the past 5 days. No excuses, though. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for achieving some of my goals and almost achieving others. I aspire to do better and be better next Ramadan so my focus for the rest of 2021 will be to build up the habits I want to maintain so that they’re not such a struggle come next Ramadan.

Have you achieved your goals this Ramadan (or this month so far)? To what extent? Do you make crazy calculations like me or do you just wing it?

New month, New challenge: Day 6

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where everyday I do a challenge aimed at self improvement and share it on the blog so you can do it with me.

It’s been a day, but I’m really grateful. At sun down, I got to eat to my hearts content (I’m supposed to be on a diabetic diet…cue sugar rush). I’ve eaten 8 chocolate chip cookies in 2 days. Oh boy. I gave the rest to my 6 year old so I don’t eat them. No junk food challenge is still waiting to be completed…

Today’s challenge is:

Write a to-do list for today. And try to make it a new habit in your life.

Piece of cake. I do this every day. I actually started doing it the night before I sleep and add onto it next morning. I did almost everything on the list today.

Do you write to do lists?

How do you plan your days?

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

How to fix your sleep schedule in 21 days

Hello and welcome to my blog! Today I finished a challenge on how to fix your sleep schedule. However, I don’t feel like I fixed it. Maybe because it’s Ramadan and I’m getting tired during the day and napping, then not being able to sleep early at night either because my son gave me trouble sleeping or because I was too awake to sleep having napped during the day.

The bottom line is: my struggle with sleep wasn’t solved in 21 days. They say the chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken. I believe they can be broken, but this habit will need a bit more time and effort. Maybe after Ramadan, I’ll reset the challenge and do it again.

How to fix your sleep schedule challenge:

Day 1

Put your phone away so in the next morning you have to get out of bed to turn the alarm off

This is something I need to do every night. I only did it on the 1st night of the challenge. I spend 1 to 2 hours on my phone in bed at night. I’m currently in bed on my phone.

Day 2

Turn off all of your screens 1 hour before bed to get your brain ready to sleep.

Before Ramadan, I would watch my TV shows at night, from 10pm to 11pm usually, and I would sleep poorly. On the nights I was too tired to watch, I slept earlier and slept better. During Ramadan, I wasn’t watching any movies or TV shows, except for The incredibles 1 and 2 that I watched during the day with my son, and the movie Three weeks, Three kids that I also watched during the day because I was bored and tired but didn’t want to nap. It wasn’t Ramadan yet on this day but I didn’t watch on my laptop at night.

Day 3

Reward yourself with a tasty breakfast so you have more motivation to wake up early.

I’m trying to remember what I ate (the 1st week of this challenge was before Ramadan as today is the 15th day of Ramadan). I think I made crepes.

Day 4

Shower at night, a hot shower or bath will help you to relax before bed.

Day 5

Try to wake up at the same time every day, consistency is the key.

I don’t see how this challenge is for day 5 but since March, I’ve been putting an alarm at 8 am.

Day 6

After dinner put your cozy pajamas on, journal, read a book and prepare to relax and let your mind unwind.

I don’t journal much, except for the Sunday reflections, but I did read.

Day 7

Drink lots of water after you wake up, you’re not going to feel too tired throughout the day.

I drank lots of water at suhour on day 1 of Ramadan.

Day 8

Try to eat dinner early, since you’ll digest your food earlier, your body can focus on getting the restful sleep it needs.

Well, it’s Ramadan, so I ate iftar at 7:30, which is I guess early for dinner? I slept at 9:30 pm.

Day 9

Have a quick morning workout/run, this will help you feel energised during the day and sleepy when you should be going to bed.

I exercised in the morning.

Day 10

Meditate before bed, it’s relaxing and stress reducing.

I did. It was relaxing. I haven’t been meditating often the past month but I definitely need to reincorporate it into my routine.

Day 11

Open the windows when you wake up and let the sun rays touch your skin.

I often open the curtains when I wake up and sometimes open the windows, unless it’s really windy.

Day 12

Pre-plan your activities tonight and also your to-do-list for the next morning.

I do this every night anyway so it wasn’t a problem.

Day 13

Listen to your favourite playlist after you wake up to put you on a good mood.

Day 14

Set a reminder that will alert you 30 minutes before it’s time to go to bed.

I did. I don’t feel it had much of an effect though.

Day 15

Expend energy during the day so you feel tired at night.

That is something important I learned a long time ago, that if you don’t burn energy during the day a.k.a. By being a couch potato, you’ll have trouble sleeping at night.

Day 16

Stop drinking water 1 hour before bed so you don’t have to wake up during the night or get up as you’re trying to fall asleep.

I have trouble drinking water anyway so that wasn’t a problem. I drink about half a liter of water a day. Sometimes 1 liter when I try really hard.

Day 17

Make your bed after waking up so you won’t be tempted to go back there.

Also, something I do everyday but I haven’t been doing it much in Ramadan due to being too tired.

Day 18

Listen to light music before bedtime, this will help you to sleep soon.

I listened to podcasts and a meditation session.

Day 19

After waking up head straight up to the bathroom to wash your face or have a nice shower.

I wash my face and blow my nose and gargle my mouth as soon as I wake up on most days. It’s sunnah.

Day 20

Eat food with magnesium (like almonds, peanuts and pumpkin seeds) and zinc (mushrooms, kale, chickpeas) to improve your quality sleep.

I didn’t because out of these foods, I only have peanuts and I forgot to eat peanuts.

Day 21

Get fresh air when you wake up, refreshes your thoughts and helps your brain clear out in the morning.

Does dropping my son off to camp count?

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

Sleep is a complex issue and doesn’t fix itself overnight. Before I got married, I used to wake up at dawn everyday and stay up. Then I’d nap at noon and at night I’d sleep early. There were a few nights when I couldn’t sleep because I was anxious or because I had a lot of studies but mostly I slept well.

Getting marrued and becoming a mother ruined my sleep. 1st, I started staying up later because my husband stayed up late. Then when I was pregnant, I had to get up and go to the bathroom 7 times at night. Then my son came along and I don’t think I slept well until he started school 4 years later. Waking up early and going to school made him tired he went to sleep early. I started going to bed earlier too, but not always. Then came the corona virus and schools were out and so was our sleep schedule.

Lack of sleep makes me cranky and affects my concentration and memory. That’s whay I wanted to fix my sleep schedule and hopefully, my son’s sleep in the process (he goes to sleep between 10 and 11 pm despite all my efforts to get him to sleep earlier).

I even have a whole board on pinterest dedicated to sleep. I’m yet to read the pins on it or even apply the few pins I’ve read.

Ramadan Series: When you’re young…

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the Ramadan series where I discuss universal concepts like kindness and inner peace from my experience. Today I’m going to talk about taking advantage of your youth.

“When you’re young you have time and energy but no money. When you get older you have money and energy but no time. And later when you finally have time and money, you no longer have energy.” Don’t waste your youth.

If only I could go back to the time when I was young, wild and free. I mean, I’m 29 years old now but I feel old sometimes, bound by responsibility, not able to go hiking or participate in activities like cleaning the beach or planting trees or riding a bike for charity. I know many people still do those things even after having kids, but usually they’d wait till their kids are a bit older. My son is 6 years old, so any volunteering I used to do has to wait. As I said, some people still do those things but my freedom is very limited now and it is the way it is. My situation is better than it was a couple of years ago or even a few years ago, and I’m hoping that in the future it gets even better, but I’m doing what I can with what I have.

When I was 20 years old, I used to volunteer at a charity organization. I’d go to poor people’s homes and give them donations. I’d visit elderly homes and just sit with the old people and see what they need. You’d be surprised how lonely many of them feel. Some of them don’t get any visitors.

When you are young, you have a lot of time and energy. Use that to work on your self development and on volunteering. Don’t waste it on Netflix and video games. Develop skills and find what you’re good at and get better at it. A lot of GenZ people are becoming advocates to things like human rights, the environment, and many young people are becoming entrepreneurs. I think it’s amazing how the next generation are becoming more involved in their communities. This is not to say that older people can’t be active members of the society. They definitely can. A lot of people older than I am have more energy than I do. The place where I’m volunteering is actually run by a 50 year old grandmother! It’s really impressive what she’s done and created.

I spent my childhood doing sports and reading and I didn’t start volunterring until after I graduated from university because studying pharmacy took all my time and energy. So I volunteered for 1 year and it was amazing. I volunteered when I was 19 as well in a summer camp and it was the best summer ever! I learned so much and met some amazing people. So volunteering is also a great way to socialize and network.

After I got married, I was studying my masters degree while being pregnant and then having a baby in the middle of exams, so my hands were full for a few years, until my son went to school at 4 years old. I was 27. I volunteered teaching quraan to children (I used to do that too before I got married, for many years actually, but mostly in summer) when I was 25 and again when I was 26. I recently was offered to volunteer again and so I have been for 2 weeks. It’s just once a week, though, but I wish I could do more. Oh, once I helped package candy for Eid at this organization and my son and in laws were with me. At the time, it wasn’t fun because I didn’t really want to do it. I was hungry and tired (it was during Ramadan) and the way I was convinced to do it was that they were all doing it and if I didn’t do it, I’d look bad. However, the next day when the kids got their goodies for Eid and my son got one, I felt good because I helped do that!

Right now I’m focusing on my blog (reading blogs and writing), my books, housework, and my son. I’m also working on my self development through doing challenges on an app. I don’t think I currently have the time and energy to volunteer more but I’m hoping as my son gets older and starts going back to school regularly, that I’ll have more time to explore volunteering options in my community. I know people usually look for teenage volunteers or at least people in their 20s but I’m sure I would be valuable somehow.

Do you volunteer anywhere?

Do you waste a lot of time or do you use your time wisely and productively?

How to say I love you in 21 different ways

Hello and welcome to my blog! As you know, I’ve been really kern on doing 21 day challenges lately, and it has motivated me a great deal. I’m actually currently doing 4 challenges.

I’m trying to develop healthy positive habits and the 21 days challenge app is really motivating me. I’m currently doing a positive mindset challenge, fix your sleep schedule challenge, home workout challenge, and a no junk food challenge.

The couples challenge I was doing ended (yesterday was the last day). However, sadly, this is the only challenge I didn’t complete. The thing is, you can’t force someone to do a challenge with you, but I wanted to work on my marriage because there’s always room for improvement. The problem is, my husband hates romantic gestures and deep conversations.

The boxes I ticked in this challenge were mostly things I shared with myself on my notes. Some of the things I did with my husband, like telling him “I love you” unexpectedly and thanking him for things he did. But these are things I do anyway, so I don’t feel any different. If anything, I feel disappointed that I couldn’t do all these things.

Nevertheless, I tried, and that’s what matters, and during the 21 days, we weren’t fighting much, mostly because I was trying to make the challenge work, but towards the end, I kind of gave up on trying these things.

I still decided to share them because chances are your spouse or partner is receptive to these gestures of affection.

I did 14 things out of 21

21 ways to say “I love you” without saying it:

These challenges will help you build a solid relationship and be more loving, kind, and thoughtful towards your spouse or partner.

1. Make a list of things you love about your partner

2. Plan a surprise date night.

3. Tell your partner you love them at an unexpected time.

4. Share a fear you have about your relationship.

5. Share a good memory you have about your partner.

6. Send your partner a romantic morning text/audio.

7. Thank your partner for something today.

8. Surprise your partner with something good.

9. Share a goal you have for your relationship.

10. Give your partner a compliment.

11. Plan a weekend getaway.

12. Look at old pictures together.

13. Reminisce about when you first met.

14. Make a bucket list together.

15. Pick a random word and start a deep conversation with your partner.

16. Do a puzzle together.

17. Write a love letter to your partner and hide it for them to find later.

18. Do something your partner enjoys doing together.

19. Make their favourite treat.

20. Tell your partner something you remember they like.

21. Give your partner a hug when they’re not expecting it.

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

Motivational Monday: How to spruce up your mornings

Hello and welcome to my blog! I finished a 21 day challenge for morning routines today. I really enjoyed it. Half the things I did during the day, not necessarily in the morning, and I didn’t do them all in order. Some things, like making my bed and tidying up, were already things I did everyday in the morning.

I don’t exactly have a set in stone morning routine (I should have one) and some days I’m super productive, while others I’m super lazy, or tired. I did this challenge in order to add more structure to my mornings and increase my productivity. I was also hoping it would help my mental health. Some of the activities did.

21 days to a better morning

Day 1

Listen to your favorite music playlist to put you in a good mood in the morning. I listened to an upbeat song.

Day 2

Write a morning gratitude list. I did, in my notes.

Day 3

Do some stretching after you wake up. I did. It helped a lot.

Day 4

Make yourself a healthy, delicious and energetic breakfast. Oh boy was this hard. I really struggle to eat healthy breakfast because I always wake up in a hurry to get things done and I’m too lazy to prepare anything. I wish I had a personal chef.

Day 5

Write a to-do list for today. I do this everyday, except on Saturday and Sunday.

Day 6

Connect with your family and friends or send a simple good morning text to someone you love. I sent a good morning text to a friend, and also spent some time with family.

Day 7

Journal, paint, play an instrument…do something that fuels your creativity. I painted tulips, the sun, and a blue sky.

Day 8

Write 5 things you’re proud of yourself for. I did. It wasn’t easy because I’m my number one critic, but I’m learning to be my number one fan too.

Day 9

Meditate for 15 minutes. I meditated for 5 minutes. Meditation is hard for me, okay! I can’t sit still.

Day 10

Drink a glass of water before breakfast. I take a drink of water before breakfast. I think that day I took 3 drinks. I measured my water intake last month and turns out I drink about 0.5L of water a day, sometimes less (this is pure water, not counting the water in my tea, green tea and coffee).

Day 11

Open your windows for fresh air and let some sunshine in. I do that almost everyday, but sometimes I forget, so this was a good reminder.

Day 12

Take a walk or do a home workout session. I did both.

Day 13

Read a chapter of your favorite book. I don’t have a favorite book, so I read a chapter from the book I’m currently reading.

Day 14

15 minutes of yoga. Honestly, I did 9 minutes.

Day 15

Listen to a podcast or audiobook while you’re getting ready. I’m not going anywhere so I’m not getting ready but I listened to a podcast while doing dishes and making my coffee.

Day 16

Go outside and just breath the fresh morning air. This was harder than I thought it would be. I’ve come so accustomed to staying home that the thought of stepping onto my balcony doesn’t even occur to me.

Day 17

Make a list of 3 things to do for the day. I usually circle my top 3 tasks of the day in the morning.

Day 18

Avoid checking morning news and social media. This was a bit difficult to do but I started listening to podcasts as soon as I wake up so that I don’t open social media.

Day 19

Make your bed and tidy up your space to feel more productive. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I already do this everyday.

Day 20

Choose an affirmation to guide your day (for example: ‘today is a great day’, ‘I feel wonderful and alive’,…). I chose: I give thanks in every moment.

Day 21

Take a shower and get ready even if you’re not going anywhere. I did this in the evening because I had a long busy day and it’s hard to squeeze in shower time as a mom. I either wait for my husband to come home or occupy my son with screentime while I shower so he doesn’t get scared or into mischief alone (one time the tv fell on his leg while I was in the bathroom because he was climbing. Luckily, his leg didn’t break).

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

Motivational Monday: Start your week off right!

Why do we hate Mondays so much?

I know the weekends are fun and weekdays are all work and no fun, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

So how can we start our week off right to beat the Monday blues?

  1. Make a weekly plannar. Planning your week ahead of time decreases the overwhelm of your workload.
  2. Meditate Sunday night so you can go to sleep with a positive feeling.
  3. Exercise Monday morning to boost your energy.
  4. Take breaks throughout the day.
  5. Prioritize your tasks so you do the most 3 important tasks 1st.
  6. Divide your big tasks into smaller parts.
  7. If you still feel the Monday blues, listen to some upbeat music or a motivational podcast as you work.

That’s it for today’s motivational Monday.

What do you do to beat the Monday blues?