Motivational Monday: Feeling overwhelmed or insecure?

Hello and welcome to my blog! It’s been such a day today. Monday is starting to become my most dramatic day. It’s like all the drama charged up during the week is let out on Monday. It’s exhausting and very anticlimactic after having a wonderful weekend.

Nevertheless, I’m training myself to look on the bright side of everything. Despite all the pain and drama today, I’m grateful for the 3 hours of me-time (technically I had 2 hours of alone time) and for being productive (I may have overbooked my to-do list).

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, insecure, or you’re just looking for some Monday motivation, you’ve come to the right place:

Cultivate an optimistic mind, use your imagination, always consider alternatives, and dare to believe that you can make possible what others think is impossible.

Focus on the step in front of you, and not the whole staircase.

Stop comparing yourself to other people. If you enjoy what you are doing and it fills you up, that’s all that matters.

Take the risk. Don’t let the unknown stop you from progressing.

Sometimes later becomes never. Do it now.

Don’t worry so much about tomorrow that you miss today.

Enjoy the good moments, stay positive in the bad. Know that everything will be alright.

Dream it. Wish it. Do it.

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?

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?

Ramadan Series: Make Smaller Goals

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the Ramadan series where I discuss universal concepts like kindness and inner peace from my experience and share my insight with you. Today is the last day of April 2021 so I’m going to discuss April/Ramadan goals.

I mentioned at the end of March that I wasn’t going to make April goals. Instead, I made preramadan goals and ramadan goals. I have achieved some of those goals but I may have overwhelmed myself a bit.

The key to making a goal that you can actually achieve is to make it achievable. You need to take measurable steps within certain time frames.

It’s also important to readjust your goals accordingly on a weekly basis. It’s okay to postpone a goal if you feel you aren’t getting much done because you have too much on your plate.

When you make a goal, be sure to cut it up into bite sized parts and make an action plan. For example, if you want to write a book, the 1st step is making an outline. Then when you write, you can choose to write 200 words a day, instead of expecting to write a whole chapter in a day.

How are your Ramadan/April goals going?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I hope you’re having a great month, week, day. If it’s not your day, your month, or even your year, that’s okay. You can always reset and make goals and go after them. For me, Ramadan is all about resetting my soul and reprioritizing my life. It’s about self discipline and spirituality. For my non Muslim readers, have you made goals for this month April?

Fun fact: My mom’s name was April Joy before she converted from being a catholic to being a Muslim at age 20. She was also born in April, so this is a special month for me.

As for my Ramadan goals, let’s see how I did in the 1st week of Ramadan:

I’m filling out a Ramadan plannar for the ibadat part of Ramadan. It’s going well. I love ticking boxes. It’s very motivating. Different prayers (duha, sunnah, tahajjud, witr, taraweeh) and quran (reading, tafseer, and al kahf). I added the planner to my dropbox if you want to check it out. I know we’re a week into ramadan but it’s not too late to make and implement goals if you haven’t already.

However, I never made a checklist for my other Ramadan goals.

As I said, I’m working on my ibadat (worship) goals, but I haven’t started on my household projects (I’m doing housework but not as much as I’d like). I can’t start the declutter challenge until I finish 1 challenge (I’m currently doing 4 other challenges and more would be overwhelming). As for the cooking challenge, I’m still cooking once a week because I’m eating at my in laws 4 days a week and once a week at my mom’s. So I guess the cooking challenge will have to wait until after Ramadan.

The kindness challenge also is waiting for me to finish one of the 4 challenges I’m currently doing. As for the box, I keep forgetting to ask my sister. Last year, my sister told me that supermarkets were selling boxes of food supplies and you could buy one and they’d send it to a poor family. I haven’t heard of such a thing this year. During these tough times, I really want to help, but 50,000 (the cost of a box of groceries last year) won’t cut it this year. Prices are 10 times more than they were last year. Anyway, if you’re reading this and you live in Lebanon and you know of a trusted places selling boxes of groceries for poor people, let me know please.

As for parenting, I’m not having the energy to spend time with my son. I barely do 1 activity a day with him. He is getting so bored. We worked on the Ramadan worksheet a week before ramadan, when he was excited because it was new, and then again yesterday he colored 1 page. I feel my son mirrors my moods and energy levels. As for him reading quraan, he is 6 so he can’t read, but yesterday I told him I’m going to start having him listen to one surah a day as a youtube video (there is a certain channel he likes called Learn with Zakaria). I’m also working on 3 other things with him but I’m keeping them low key, especially since I didn’t write them in the goals.

As for Islamic learning, I deleted the Ramadan legacy app because it wasn’t working. I used it last Ramadan alongside a plannar but this year I can’t. It’s fine though because my plannar is perfect for this year. I didn’t watch any tafseer videos until yesterday because animated tafseer videos came up and I love animated videos. They’re short, to the point, and stick in my head longer because of the animation. As for the book Nurturing Eeman in Children, I read 1 chapter before ramadan then didn’t anymore, basically because I haven’t been going on my laptop at all, except once to convert some blog posts into podcasts.

Last but not least, in the health aspect, I am currently doing the 21 day no junk food challenge and the 21 day home workout challenge, but I haven’t been going in the sun. I’m also doing the 21 day fix your sleep challenge and the 21 day positive mindset challenge, which also contribute to my health. So I guess week 1, my focus has been on ibadat and health.

Oh and I’m not watching any movies or tv shows, except that one time I rewatched The incredibles 2 with my son because I promised him. I’m also posting ramadan related/ ramadan themed content so I’m on track with that goal too.

Which challenge should I do next?

Kindness challenge

Declutter challenge

Let me know in the comments below. Please like and share with your friends and family to encourage them to make and implement goals.

How are your Ramadan/April goals going?

Ramadan Series: What qualities define you?

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the Ramadan series. Yesterday I was at my mom’s so I couldn’t write. It gets pretty hectic over there. I have 7 siblings but only 3 of them live in Lebanon and I have 8 nieces and nephews but only 2 of them live in Lebanon so imagine if the whole gang was there!

Family is nice. I mean, there’s always drama and bickering but it’s nice to be surrounded by loved ones and have people who actually tolerate my chatterbox qualities. That’s what I want to talk about today. Qualities.

What qualities define you?

I don’t like to be defined by certain qualities because I believe in a growth mindset and I’m always working on improving myself and bettering myself, but I do feel there are certain qualities that I define myself by and then there are certain qualities people define me by, and those are usually the qualities I don’t like.

I define myself by my roles, in order of significance. So basically I’m a Muslim, Mother, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Friend, Writer. I wish I had some role in the community like a teacher or if I was working in my field, a pharmacist (I don’t define myself by the years I studied because I didn’t actually apply my knowledge).

Other people define me by my emotional side. To my loved ones I’m sensitive, open, talkative, neurotic, impulsive and moody. These, to me, are my flaws and the things I’m constantly working on eliminating or improving, yet I feel defined by them. Even when I improve, I’m always treated the way I used to be. I feel like, for example, my in laws, are always waiting for my bomb to explode, because I lost my cool in front of them about 4 or 5 times in 7 years, so they define me as emotionally unstable, or so I assume.

How do you want to be defined?

I want to be defined by the qualitues I possess the least but aspire to the most. I want to be known as wise, kind, and forgiving. I want to be defined by the way I handled a difficult situation calmly (it happens sometimes but nobody notices because they only remember my outbursts).

I think the problem is that I have an assumption that certain people have certain assumptions of me and then I deem my assumptions true without fact checking, because honestly, the few times I fact checked, I was right and it hurt. Sometimes I was wrong and was baffled (someone I assumed looked down on me once said I was sweet). Other times their assumptions of me were actually worse than what I thought their assumptions would be (someone once told me their 1st impression of me was that I was a snob because I was unapproachable).

Find out what you want to be defined by and work towards it

The top on my list is wise. Wise people are highly valued in society and they are calm and collected and good at problem solving and critical thinking and making decisions. They don’t act foolish or impulsive. They don’t raise their voice in anger or hurt someone in a rage. People come to them for advice or just to lighten their burdens. They are one with nature and deeply connected in their spirit to a higher power and are not moved by worldly possessions.

I think I don’t give myself enough credit where credit is due. Something about my low self esteem and capacity for self loathing. For example, yesterday, I made 2 social mistakes and it was awkward. I immediately felt depressed and helpless and started telling myself “I don’t know how to act around people” and “I always make these types of mistakes” and “I never learn”. Upon discussion with my sisters, they suggested alternative things I could have done but acknowledged that it wasn’t all my fault. They also suggested a solution to rectify the situation (at least one of the situations) and suddenly I didn’t feel so hopeless anymore (I’m wishy washy like that).

My point is, I think I need to dig deep sometimes to find my good qualities. For example, I am creative and determined and persistent. I am somewhat resilient and patient (the patience is according to my mood and it’s a work in progress) but among all the qualities I have or am flawed by or I wish to possess, the one I want written on my tombstone is she was kind. I don’t want to be remembered as this unapproachable volatile person who was also shy and socially awkward. I hope I become as kind as I aspire to be, and that I’m remembered by this kindness.

What quality do you want to be remembered by?

Transformation Tuesday: Did I achieve my goals from 2016?

Hello and welcome to my blog! As you know by now if you’re reading my blogs, I have been making monthly goals since November 2020. However, before that, I used to make yearly goals.

As much as monthly goals are important, it’s easy to lose sight of long term progress with monthly goals, so I decided to go back to 2016, the 1st time I made yearly goals.

I had just moved to my current house and my son was 1 years old. I had just gotten out of my post partum depression and I began working on cognitive behavioral therapy on my own, reading self help books, and I made goals and an action plan.

Today I’m going to state those goals and tell you if I have achieved them or not.

My goals from 2016

  1. Raise my son to become a good Muslim
  2. Become a better person everyday
  3. Change my husband to the better
  4. Do everything with love
  5. Be a successful pharmacist
  6. Reach 58kg weight

1st off, I feel like my goals were too general. They weren’t SMART goals. They weren’t specific, measurable, attainable, or time based, no matter how relevant they were to my life as a mom and wife.

The 1st goal is a wish, not a goal because I can’t control how my son turns out. I can try my best and hope he turns out okay. The only thing I can control is to try not to traumatize him.

The 2nd goal is very general and is a lifelong journey of ups and downs.

The 3rd goal is very unrealistic. If I’ve been trying to change myself for the past 5 years and I still feel pretty much the same, how can I even think of changing my husband. What I have learned in these past 5 years, specifically this past year, is that when you accept someone as they are, they become more willing to change and improve on their own. It’s a process.

The 4th goal is too unrealistic. As much as I want to do everything with love, I can’t. There are some things that I must do, even when I don’t feel like doing them, because that’s adulting for you. It’s full of responsibility.

The 5th goal has been replaced with another goal, to become a best selling author. I have forgotten everything I learned in pharmacy school, and I stopped trying 2 years ago. I’m just not passionate about pharmacy, and besides, I found my passion in my blogs and my books.

My final goal is specific but not realistic. I’m lucky if I can get to 60kg. I was doing well with increasing my physical activity since November 2020 but the past month, I’ve been eating too much junk food and not exercising enough. I’m hoping this Ramadan helps reset my metabolism. At least I won’t be able to snack during the day.

Do you have the same goals you had 5 years ago?